One for Friday: That Dog, “Minneapolis”

Through a weird coincidental convergence, I invoked Minneapolis a few times on my various other social media platforms this week, first with a highly dopey, music geek pun and then by sharing this found-online picture of a wonderfully conceived movie theater marquee:

As far as holiday miracles goes, this double-dose of Twin Cities citations admittedly doesn’t amount to much, but it’s as good an inspiration as any to deploy this One for Friday post that’s been floating around in the Drafts section for some time.

That Dog was a band out of Los Angeles that first made the national scene in the mid-nineties. (I’m going to ignore the overly precious styling of their name as “that dog.” because I’ve only got so much patience with the punctuation tangles it causes. They played the exact sort of peppy, nicely-constructed pop rock that was plummeting out of fashion at the time, pushed aside by flannel-clad grunge knock-offs. Despite a gaggle of handy record biz connections (most notably, lead singer Anna Waronker is the daughter of major music industry bigwig Lenny Waronker), the band had a tough time making the sort of headway necessary to keep on as a going concern. They released three albums on DGC Records between 1993 and 1997. Each was good. Each was largely ignored, sticking the band with the dreaded small-but-devoted-cult-following.

“Minneapolis” is off the band’s final album (thus far, since you never know these days), Retreat from the Sun. Peppy and catchy as hell, the song isn’t actually about the city (the Jabberjaw mentioned in the opening lyric is a now-closed L.A. landmark punk club), but it is a worthy successor to the melancholy romanticism practiced by the onetime bard of Minneapolis, Paul Westerberg, echoing the classic song “Skyway” in its depiction of a potential true love that will never come to pass, thwarted by geography. It’s exactly the sort of outlook that suits a place that mandates perseverance during long, gray winters. It’s no surprise that a band from sunny L.A. had to lean on Minneapolis to capture that particular type of heartache. Like the sign says, it’s really cold outside.

Listen or download –> That Dog, “Minneapolis”

(Disclaimer: I would like to submit as evidence my rapid-fire removal of last week’s One for Friday offering as proof that I genuinely mean no financial harm to any artist or entity–well maybe a couple of corporate entities sustaining the same sort of financial harm they regularly inflict on their signed artists would be okay–in sharing these songs in my humble little corner of the digital world. I openly acknowledge that it’s more guesswork than pure certainty when I speculate about the continued availability of hard-copy releases of the sort that can be purchased at your favorite local, independently-owned record store. However, my intention it to always stick with physically out-of-print music, even if my research sometimes, as the writer and performer of last week’s song somewhat unkindly put it, “sucks.” If anything, I take a certain amount of solace from the fact that the number of artists who’ve reached out and been enthusiastic about their songs being shared still outnumbers those who’ve been perturbed, reasonable as the latter reaction may be. Anyway, as I did last week, I will gladly and promptly remove the track from the internet if I’m asked to due so by someone with due authority to make such a request.)

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