Saturday, April 01, 2006

Tone Dogs - Ankety Low Day plus bonus

Someone on another site wanted to know if a reader had this album and, if so, what did they think. It gave me an opportunity to revisit the disc which has become something of a rarity to find. Here's what I posted:

Were they jazz? Rock? Prog Pop? There have been many descriptions of Seattle's Tone Dogs and that's because they pursued a muse that crossed genres and defied categorization. The band featured Amy Denio (sax, guitars, basses, drums, vocals, and hubcaps), Fred Chalenor (basses, guitars, keyboards, percussion, vocals, violin), and Matt Cameron (drums, vocals). Each brought an independent and unique voice to the experiment. Ankety Low Day was their first album, released on C/Z Records. "Early Middle Years" was later released on Soleilmoon, but by then the band had called it quits.

For my money, the band was jazz with a rock edge. They were hard driving and experimental. They were also melodic and challenging. This was one of the best albums of the late 80s before Seattle became known for grunge. It's a classic album and one that every collector should own.

Cameron went on to find fame as the drummer for Soundgarden. Chalenor has had a varied career playing in his own groups as well as with Wayne Horvitz in Pigpen and Zony Mash and he backed David Sylvian on a recent tour. Denio has released several albums of her own and been guest vocalist for Curlew and Fred Frith's Science Group. Denio is currently playing with a revived Billy Tipton Memorial Saxophone Quartet (renamed The Tiptons) which she founded with Jessica Lurie in the 90s. Personal bias: Denio, like myself, is a transplanted Michigander, a former employee at Muzak (?!!), and one of the sweetest musicians on the planet.

Guests on Ankety Low Day: Hans Reichel (handmade guitars), Fred Frith (guitars, rhythm violin), Courtney von Drehle (Saxophones on "The Wandering Guru"), and Bob Bain (Monster battle guitars on "The Wandering Guru").

Bonus: I threw in 2 tracks from the "Early Middle Years" album at the end that I cribbed from Denio's "Greatest Hits" CD: the sublime "(When George Bush Was The Head Of The) C.I.A." and "Traffic Island Psycho" .


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey, Amy is selling this over at CD Baby, so why not just link to it there? Support the artist...