violins, Veruca and a songbird

Totally Crushed Out! (DGC)

That Dog
Gary Savelson

LA's quartet That Dog is attacking alternamania with their second record, Totally Crushed Out! Their strategy: a reel of love songs, composed of youthful harmonies in a backdrop of distorted (self-indulgent) and acoustic guitar, accompanied by fascinating violin arrangements. Listen, and find parallelisms to Veruca Salt and Sonic Youth, both label mates.

Anna Waronker, 23, takes almost an apathetic approach to singing, but her vocals are beautiful, innocent, and unspoiled — far from overproduced. "Ms. Wrong," and "He's Kissing Christian" have a power pop appeal (heavy guitars) suitable for some type of success. Stories of breaking-up and subsequent loneliness haunt us on the unsettling ballad "Anymore," a 39-word acoustic tune.

Totally Crushed Out! will find a home on college radio, if nowhere else; This record does not deliver originality, but it has its emotionally charged moments.