13th January | Louisiana
Though it started off as a way for Modern Baseball’s Jake Ewald to alleviate his writer’s block, Slaughter Beach, Dog has quickly grown into something much more special. Ewald has a knack for crafting songs that are intimate, sad and frequently gorgeous, blending his emo roots with a softer folk-rock aesthetic.
In that sense, the project’s name is a little bit misleading; the word Slaughter in particular conjures up thoughts of crushing, distorted guitars and howling vocals. Though it has blossomed out into a full band with last year’s Safe And Also No Fear, the heart of Slaughter Beach, Dog is still a guy strumming at an acoustic guitar and talking about his life. On songs like ‘The Dogs’, Ewald even adopts a talk-sing approach, as if the listener is simply having a chat with him at a bar. Yet despite this laid-back, colloquial approach, the music is always engaging and uplifting.
The highlights on Safe And Also No Fear are numerous, from the gorgeously finger-picked ‘Black Oak’ to the lonely and bare ‘Petersburg’. Each of the album’s songs sound as though only Ewald could have written them – and that’s what makes them so great. While topics like depression, anxiety and heartbreak are well-traversed, no one else has sung about them in quite the same way.
See the video for ‘Heart Attack’ here: