By Joey Mueser | Staff Writer
Before going anywhere, yes, the name of this band is, in fact, Slaughter Beach, Dog. Not the most catchy name for a band, but its music strikes inspiration and nostalgia of a familiar voice for its listeners.
Slaughter Beach, Dog was formed in 2014 by Jake Ewald. However, at that time, he was predominantly occupied by the punk-rock band, Modern Baseball. In that group, Ewald played guitar and performed half of the vocals. After the release of its second full-length album, Modern Baseball began to rapidly gain publicity. Subsequently, Slaughter Beach, Dog, Ewald’s side project, was put on the back burner for a while.
After a two-year hiatus from Slaughter Beach, Dog co-writing Modern Baseball’s most recent and third album, Holy Ghost, Ewald went back to writing for his secondary band. Holy Ghost was a very difficult and personal endeavour to write about for Ewald. With that autobiographical approach done with Modern Baseball, Ewald felt it appropriate and much-needed to explore new territories of writing. With Slaughter Beach, Dog, he began to experiment with more fictional styles of writing.
With the help of Modern Baseball fans, Slaughter Beach, Dog became a success quickly. It skipped the arduous period of having a small following and not producing a decent amount of revenue so many bands get caught in. By having the good luck in being associated with an established name, Ewald signed to Lame-O records. Shortly after, the side project for Ewald released its first full-length LP, Welcome, which was quickly praised and garnered publicity for Slaughter Beach, Dog as well.
After the unfortunate (and possibly temporary) falling-out of Modern Baseball, Ewald set out to take strides with Slaughter Beach, Dog and make it a full-time band. In doing so, he turned to bass guitarist Ian Farmer from Modern Baseball to help record and play with Slaughter Beach, Dog. With this new help, the band gained a drummer and another guitarist to add to the mix and began to tour as a full set.
Ewald and Farmer had worked together frequently in the past, so their studio comradery was on-point for Slaughter Beach, Dog’s second full-length album, Birdie. Rather than the punk-rock sound they are known for, the duo took a much more laid-back approach and created a completely different sound.
Slaughter Beach, Dog’s sounds emerged with a more fitting, casual approach. The quasi-fictional writing gave Ewald just the edge he needed to, with the combination more acoustics, turn further away from the borderline edgy songs of Modern Baseball, and the results are clear in their live performance.
The band members danced with one another and, chord by chord, captivated and shocked an audience consisting of mainly Modern Baseball fans who were now seeing a completely different side of two of their favorite artists.
After the short show had ended, there was a positive feeling amidst the audience. Rather than missing Modern Baseball, it seemed as though everyone was excited about this new sound coming from a seemingly completely different version of Jake Ewald and Ian Farmer.
After the show, I had a chance to catch up with Farmer, and talking about the band, he humbly expressed that, “something that started as a side project has grown into how we actually want to express ourselves, but it’s mainly Jake.”
He quietly mentioned after speaking so kindly about his friend and bandmate that he mixed, produced and engineered the newest record.
Ewald and company are on their way to a highly successful career as Slaughter Beach, Dog if they continue to express themselves in the way they have in their past two records. With a good, consistent sound, their band should catch on with a larger audience. Even if they don’t, at least the group is pleased and happy with the music they are producing.