Dog Eat Dog [Rockit Records]
Ten years ago, Gary Tanin of Xpensive Dogs was among one of those who relied purely on the internet to create music. Never meeting Japanese musician Toshiyuki Hiraoka, the two traded music files on the net to create the Dogs' debut release. The years have certainly honed Tanin's craft - the production is exquisite and the performance solid. The album opens promisingly. The instrumental title track, with its glimmering guitar, would do any surf movie proud. Hell, with its "this is the place" and "psycho killer" phrasing, and Flowers Grow, with its Latin rhythm, both recall the Talking Heads. However, it is tracks like Sacrifice, Pinochio and The World Has Gone Insane - with their bouncy beat, crafty wordplay and, not to mention, the album's all-star cast - that put the Dogs down the evolutionary path that included bands such as Was (Not Was). Now that Tanin has exorcised some of those ghosts that might have dogged him, perhaps he would like to consider a full-fledged surf album as his next project - after all, the man has a twang that just won't go away. (7) - Stephen Tan
Sea Of Tranquility
Xpensive Dogs: Dog Eat Dog
By gathering some of the top talent in the Milwaukee area (plus one Japanese guy) and dubbing them the Xpensive Dogs, musician/producer/engineer Gary
Tanin has unleashed 10 challenging songs that defy categorization. is the second album from a collaboration that includes Sam Llanas (BoDeans), Michael Hoffman (E.I.E.I.O.) and Paul Cebar (R&B Cadets). Much like the project's selftitled debut released back in 1996, was recorded in the United States and Japan, with Tanin and Toshiyuki Hiraoka (Virgin Prunes) downloading and uploading music files until the album was complete.
And, oh, what an album! bites down hard with bizarre and off-tempo
beats, distant yet groovy vocals, spacey and bubbling synths and programming, and just an all-around freakishness. Taking inspiration from classic Japanese horror film soundtracks, post-industrial psychedelica and specific eras of King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa and the Rolling Stones, emerges as an amazingly cohesive piece of work. It's not the prettiest album you'll hear this month (or probably even today), but it's a strong testament to not only the power of the Internet - which made the whole thing possible - but also to the musicians involved who abandoned their typical styles to participate in the Xpensive Dogs.
- Michael Popke
Eclectic Vibes - October 2004
Dog Eat Dog â€œXpensive Dogsâ€ (Rockit Records) Funky Eastern electronics fuse with quirky Western rock in this second long distance collaboration from Milwaukee scene veteran Gary Tanin and Japan's Toshiyuki Hiraoka. Lots of great guests.(7)
- Andrew Frey
Volume 2 â€“ No. 11
Xpensive Dogs Dog Eat Dog - â€œâ€¦All beautiful chaos, â€œDog Eat Dogâ€ is the most intriguing track on the record. Itâ€™s followed by the second-most intriguing track, â€œSacrifice,â€ which sounds like a lost Talking Heads cutâ€¦â€ â€œâ€¦Dog Eat Dog sounds like an ice-cold version of Alan Parsons Projectâ€™s I, Robot.â€
- Rick Tvedt
Oct 21, 2004
Xpensive Dogs Dog Eat Dog
What We Have To Say:
"Dog Eat Dog" is a musical collaboration by Gary Tanin and Toshiyuki Hiraoka, as well as several musicians from the Milwaukee area. There are remnants of fifties sci-fi soundtracks, sixties psychedelia, seventies funk, eighties power pop, electronica, and generic blues based rock riffs, as well as bits, pieces, and influential references from the likes of Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, the Rolling Stones, Todd Rundgren, and Steely Dan.
By incorporating such a wide array of influence into the compositional makeup of the music, the genre hopping aspects of the CD provide some exciting and unexpected turns along the way. The high level of musical expertise by the hired guns on the CD, as well as the clever arrangements, encourages multiple listening sessions and provide a cohesiveness throughout.
Provocative and entertaining, Dog Eat Dog will keep you guessing all the way through.
- Michael Casano
Assistant Head of Music, CUR1350
Cambridge University Radio
XPensive Dogs "Dog Eat Dog"
I really enjoyed listening to it, I definitely agree with the old Jimmy Possession review you quote that it is both 'innovative and excellent'. It's amazing that so many styles of music can be covered by one band and all be done so well!
I've catalogued it, so it's in our music library and available to all our presenters, and you're in my document which lists all the unsigned material the station receives, which is on a notice board in the studio.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Dog Eat Dog
4. Take A Ride
5. Flowers Grow
6. The World Has Gone Insane
7. Where The Kids Are
10. Then You Die