THOUGH music critics tend to lump All Dogs into that vague category called “’90s influenced jangly pop,” a more discerning ear will appreciate the weaving, sludgy guitar lines and the assertive, kinetic rhythm.
Perhaps what throws people off is lead vocalist/guitarist Maryn Jones’ high, almost tender voice, a brilliant juxtaposition with the fat barre chords she cranks out as she sings. Eschewing screams in favor of melody lines, Jones’ songs combine grunge and pop to tell stories of revealed intimacies and realized imperfections.
Jones stays busy: She is also a member of Saintseneca and tours solo as Yowler. This Thursday night, however, she fronts All Dogs at the Wild Wing Café, as part of Savannah Stopover. We talked to her earlier this week.
All the critics say All Dogs is “jangly pop,” but I’m hearing a lot more grunge and punk in there. Musicians hate having their sound pigeonholed – what do you think of that description?
Maryn Jones: There are a lot of different elements that we draw from, we come from lots of different directions. I combine pop with loud guitar (laughs). A lot of Smashing Pumpkins in there. I don’t really even know what ‘jangly’ is supposed to mean (laughs).
It’s funny you mention Smashing Pumpkins. So many young bands cite them as a major influence. Of all the bands of the ‘90s they wouldn’t be among the first I’d think would have that kind of lasting appeal.
They’re just so satisfyingly angsty, and also poppy at the same time. Now that the ‘90s are sort of being re-introduced and are so much in style now, that’s just one of the bands that was really popular then that people respond to now.
All Dogs is known as a “Columbus, Ohio band” but I’m guessing you’ve grown beyond that label.
Yeah, not so much really these days. We’re basically ¾ of a Philly band now you could say, since one of us is from Columbia and three from Philadelphia.
Were you influenced very much by the college scene at Ohio State?
We weren’t necessarily really part of the college scene. We were more on the Undergound and DIY side of things there. Columbus is kind of funny, because it doesn’t really have a good college radio station there.
That is odd, because that university is basically a small country.
It’s so huge! It has its own zip code.
It occurs to me that younger bands like y’all are the first generation to grow up completely in the age of streaming music. Do you even think about recording and selling product or is it just all about touring?
I’m in three touring bands, so there’s not much time for making records, but I do think a lot about it. As much as I might like to say I don’t care about making records, I really do.
Whether it’s vinyl, or a CD, it’s good to have something tangible that people can appreciate. I will say that I’ve sort of come to a moment of acceptance where I’ve realized most everybody gets their music for free now, and there’s really nothing I can do about it!
But I do think we need to hold onto those people who will buy vinyl, even though you do have to tour to sort of make the whole thing sustainable.