Macula Dog return from the intergalactic kennel with Why Do You Look Like Your Dog?, an album that sees the New York City outfit get wilder with their experimental music and sound. Live, the four-person electronic duo—who perform with puppets strapped to their shoulders—are part theatrical troupe and part public access programming from 1983. Things get both mental and amazing.
The new album, released August 12 on Wharf Cat Records, and a follow up to their cassette on HAORD tapes, ticks all the boxes for when it comes to non-boring and non-conforming music. Track include “Droppings and Grapefruit”, “Looking for a Body on the Weekend” and “Grayed Out” that we are premiering below. Take a listen and read a chat we had with the band's Mark Matthews.
Noisey: Is there any particular meaning behind “Grayed Out”?
Mark Matthews: It’s the most odorous-related track on the album, which has been a theme throughout our work for years. It's about the fate of family, the family tree and the fruit that falls out.
Parts of the album seems slightly more accessible than the tape while other parts seem more experimental. What was your approach?
It encompasses a wider range of what we want to do with Macula Dog. We like the Haord release but wanted to expand on those previous themes. The new polarity comes from our original, maybe unspoken, intention of creating two starkly separate sides of an album; one being narrative with overt lyrical references to the album's theme. The other being obtuse and instrumental. But as it is with so many ideas of ours, the theory got fed through butterfingers and fumbling humanity and well, because of, and in spite of that, doubles down on one of the albums mantras- 'almost but not quite'
The New Yorker recommended one of your shows. Did you see an increase in the number of curious out of towners at the gig?
We played with Cabo Boing and Bernard Herman as well as our tour mate Tender Cruncher. It was a very unique bill, very familial. I don't think the write-up brought anyone to the show who wasn't considering, but it was a very well attended show and that little blurb hyped it up enough to get people through the doors. But we did talk with people who came from upstate. Kind of surprising and really nice to hear. They had seen us on a previous tour. In 2016, touring is still relevant. So we'll keep doing it.
You recently went on tour in the South. How did your show go on places like Savannah, Georgia and Nashville?
It was great. Atlanta and Savannah were some of our best shows. People were moving in Georgia. We played with our friends Jeff Zagers and Sloan Hilton (formerly Wild of Night). Nashville was beautiful. Betty's Bar is a very nice atmosphere. Turnout was low but it was nice to have a mellow night. The Bud Light tasted very good that night. Was probably the only alcohol we had on tour.
How do the songs translate from the studio to the live setting?
As of now, we stay pretty live when we perform, so our set includes a lot of samples of the equipment we used for recording and everything is triggered by flesh. Some of the newer songs have a bit more layers and compositional elements that might be tough to replicate so we may approximate. It'll be a while before we lose the keyboard and drum pads. Laptops will probably come around 2018.
'Why Do You Look Like Your Dog?' is available August 12 on Wharf Cat Records.