- Dogface, Dogface
One of my favorite subgenres of Vermont music is the "I just got to town" record. We take in a lot of artistic vagabonds in the Green Mountains, and their inevitable responses to the new surroundings rarely disappoint.
Matthew Jadin, aka Dogface, moved to Winooski from Florida in 2020. He didn't waste much time embedding in the scene and joined the music incubator Community of Sound, home to experimental artists such as Gahlord Dewald, Lauren Costello (ouzkxqlzn) and Jo Bled. He released his debut, self-titled EP in February, a five-track collection of off-center indie folk-rock that clocks in at just under 15 minutes. But Jadin packs a lot of his musical personality into the bite-size EP, establishing himself as a unique songwriter with an eye for the surreal.
"Long Walk to Winooski" displays Jadin's songwriting charms. It starts as a crunchy rocker full of big hits — Jadin plays all the instruments on Dogface, except for some snazzy guitar solos provided by Luke Awtry, who produced the EP at his A9 Studio. (Awtry is also a freelance photographer and Seven Days contributor, and he plays with Jadin in the Americana outfit Danny & the Parts.)
The song moves from big rock to a verse of acoustic ruminations before transitioning again into a jangly indie-rock arrangement. The piece is reminiscent of David Berman's Silver Jews project; perhaps it's the insouciance of the lyrics. When Jadin sings, "Well, I've been walking round this town for a couple weeks now / I'm starting to notice that everything is exactly the same as my home town / There's drunks on the stoop / I'm thinking of you," he manages to combine something earthy and seemingly pedestrian with a feeling of being emotionally unmoored. In those simple lines, he conveys that a change in scenery rarely stops our obsessions.
As curious as he seems about his new home, Jadin does reflect heavily on where he's been in "Tomahawk." He builds a groove of pulsing bass and a straightforward, four-on-the-floor drumbeat that has a little of the Pixies' "Wave of Mutilation" to it. "There are people all about / Blurring backgrounds look like drapes in a painting I saw once back in Florida / But you never cared much for the arts," Jadin sings in a quavering voice. His penchant for rooting lyrics in the mundane, only to reveal them as façades for something deeper, catches the listener off guard. That's a good thing.
Since Dogface is such a small sample of Jadin's work, it's easy to feel that there's more to this artist than he's sharing. Yet the brevity of the EP doesn't detract from its appeal. When Jadin briefly dips into jazz on "Interlude," it's clear his songwriting can effortlessly move through genres while retaining its own character. That's rare, and something we'll hopefully see more of from Jadin in the future.
Dogface is available at dogfacebtv.bandcamp.com.