A few years ago Matt Jenkins realized he could only go so far with his voice and guitar alone. What he really needed was a rhythm section. So he did what anyone these days might do in a similar musical quandary—he posted an ad on Craigslist looking for bandmates. And just like that, Gray Hildreth and Cameron Hering answered the call to round out a little band called Dogheart.
They’ve been ambitious music makers ever since, first releasing the full-length album What Burns the Best in 2015, then an EP called Real Mood in 2016, followed by a second full-length album, Family Hair, which came out earlier this year, with the song “Speed Trap” featured on our vinyl compilation last spring.
On November 17, Dogheart is set to release yet another full-length album, Beach Farm. The 10-track album clocks in at just about 28 minutes, consisting of laid-back, garage rock tunes. The album channels a jangly, almost surf music sound with Jenkins’ notably deep voice riding on a wave of catchy harmonies and guitar hooks.
“Our sound bloomed,” Jenkins says, which actually turned out to be less by choice and more out of necessity. Before recording Beach Farm, their original drummer, Hering, unfortunately had to leave the band to move out of state. “Family Hair was a goodbye album, if you will,” Jenkins says of Hering, who remains a close friend and on good terms with the band.
Although the shrinking lineup of an already small band indeed created some challenges, including the daunting task of figuring out who the hell was going to drum, Jenkins and Hildreth were able to discover some benefits to having one less cook in the kitchen. The crafty and determined duo were forced to stretch their roles, sharing drumming duties for the new album, a gamble which actually paid off. They recorded Beach Farm on a Tascam eight-track in their own practice space and in various parts around Portland. It was this sort of quick and simple process that turned out to be a catalyst for creativity rather than a hindrance.
“On this [album], we took it back a bit and put a lot of emotion into it without thinking about it so much,” Jenkins explains. “We would come up with an idea together, jam on it for a night or two, and then spend the next night recording it. The process was the most fun we've had writing and recording an album.”
Beach Farm not only represents a change in recording process for Dogheart—there’s also a natural, cohesive flow amongst the songs as a result. And that fun they experienced while recording becomes apparent through the carefree and confident tone, akin to the ear candy sound of Stephen Malkmus and Pavement. This is especially highlighted on their song “Fading Lines.”
And how would Jenkins himself describe Dogheart’s latest effort?
“A new development in our brains to continue through—something odd but enlightening,” Jenkins says, which embodies a dichotomy similar to what is intended with the band’s name: Dogheart represents a duality between a selfish creature and a loving being deep within us all.