Canine Fashion

May 29, 2002
3 mins read

Polish off that Jaxxy Award!

… Wait one Oxycontin™-pickin’ minute! You mean to tell me that no such award for excellence in Northeast Florida Music exists? Balderdash! If there is any justice in this world, “Early Reiser,” by local rock hounds DigDog, wins Album of the Year in this year’s non-existent Jaxxy Awards!

Allow me elucidate my literary ejaculations with some much-needed specificity.

“Early Reiser” tackles such contemporary concerns as love, pet ownership, God, sandwiches, pachyderms, begging and even Black Magic — swaying along like a wobbly hive of drugged bees, clocking in under a spellbinding 20 minutes. Remember those afternoons when you were a mere child, mesmerized by the dust motes floating languidly in the light cutting through the Venetian blinds? Remember how you used to frantically chase those chickens at your grandma’s house — the one that had originally been a coal station, and had a cellar entrance leading right into that eerily gaping coal mine? You would flap your arms, cawing and bucking like a crazy person trying to distract yourself from the magnetic pull compelling you to run beanie-first into that black chasm, never to return. For that matter, can you recall those sinister visits by Pachinko the Stuffed Frog, hoping it was just a bad dream, even though the mysterious yellow bruises on your neck and body told a different story?

Even later, can you recollect how you suddenly realized in a blinding flash that author-hermit-protean weirdo J.D. Salinger was really hawking Vedanta spirituality by way of f*cked-up WASP kids from New England?

If you nodded your head at any of these things, dumbfounded by Folio Weekly’s terrifying skills at clairvoyance and predestination, then this is the album for you. There’s a sucker reborn every minute — “Early Reiser” is your Sermon on the Mount.

Listening to “Early Reiser” ( is like being awakened by an invisible alarm clock filled with chirping crickets and powered by the tears of defiant angels. It’s the auditory equivalent of saving untold thousands of dollars on unnecessary therapy with so-called “experts” who think they’re better than you because they bathe in “actual water,” have a “job” and can look another human “in the eye.” The healing starts here, ya honyock!

The first cut, “Lagen Horse,” trots along like a stoned pony, with lyrics like “looking for love in all the wrong holes,” leaving no doubt that these pups are cunning wordsmiths in the same syntactical realm as Denton “On Da Pipe” Welch, Thomas “Cool Jerk” Chatterton and, dare I say, Francois “Priest Killer” Villon! The song roars away like a gang of bikers who’ve found the Gnostic Christ and are giving each other fist-bumps as they roar down a hair-covered highway of devotional drool. The song “Why Have a Dog?” is all about eating rainbow-colored cobwebs and wearing licorice-flavored assless chaps, mining the same creepy-crawly, goo-goo-ga-ga-I-hang-out-in-a-giant-crib style of rockery “Love It to Death”-era Alice Cooper navigated.

As with the band’s previous excellent release, 2010’s “Phatty Reiser,” DigDog once again profiles as an essentially prog rock band, though we doubt if Gong, Magma or even Patto ever released a song called “You Owe Me a Dollar.” Admittedly, in these trying economic times, that tune’s title could be misconstrued as both a question and demand. But the music therein is indicative of DigDog’s most menacing kind of math-rock treachery, shifting metronomic gears while defying the laws of gravity, melody and quite possibly hygiene. If DigDog is operating on any mind-altering chemicals like their art rock ancestors, these local blue-collar louts are running on liquid G.E.D.-25 rather than Tibetan Giggle Sticks. Cuts like “Captain Computer,” “Your Mom’s House” and the inevitable British football anthem “It Made Me Happy, When That Elephant Killed All of Those People” carry on where “Phatty Reiser” tunes like “Slaw Dog” and “Brown” saved countless lives (and quite possibly put an end to faith-based cornhole tournaments. Praise them!)

The band on “Early Reiser,” including Stephen Ezell (bass, vocals and beard), Brad Metz (guitar and vocals) and Joe Hassan (drums), plays tighter than Dick’s hatband, but has enough discernment to make the album a one-size-fits-all affair. Hassan has since left the band, to be replaced by local able skinsman Jack Ringca. And since Ezell recently moved to California (“where they sleep out every night,” like the Jimmie Rodgers ditty), DigDog has now gone bicoastal, thus making them the Steely Dan of Springfield. The trio is gearing up for a fall tour and yet another slab of musical finery slated for 2013.

“Early Reiser” is the 29th (!) release on Infintesmal Records, that local purveyor of esoteric pawnshop meditations and dollar-store skullduggery. Label head-honcho-slash-mystic Jimmi Bayer tells Folio Weekly that DigDog and the label have parted ways due to “creative and philosophical differences, as well as an inner overhaul of the label.” Yeah, right! Oooh baby, can you hear the shotguns angrily pumping?

Before the bullets fly and these sickos hold court in the streets, possibly ruining the events surrounding the (at press time) still non-existent Jaxxy Awards, get with the pack and grab a copy of “Early Reiser.”

Dan Brown

Folio is your guide to entertainment and culture around and near Jacksonville, Florida. We cover events, concerts, restaurants, theatre, sports, art, happenings, and all things about living and visiting Jax. Folio serves more than two million readers across Jacksonville and Northeast Florida, including St. Augustine, The Beaches, and Fernandina.

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