The Golden Dogs Talk Their New Coat of Arms

The Golden Dogs Talk Their New <i>Coat of Arms</i>
It has been a long wait between albums for fans of Toronto indie retro rockers the Golden Dogs, but they're being rewarded for their patience with a film, as well as a new record. The Coat of Arms LP was released on Nevado Records earlier this week and the band are now gradually uploading live footage of all the songs on Coat of Arms onto their website.

"It's like a video for the whole album but played live," singer/guitarist Dave Azzolini tells Exclaim! in a recent interview. "The only concept is trying to make every song look different. Jess [Grassia, keyboardist/singer] is the de facto editor, as she has a knack for it. It turned from being a one camera and little microphone setup to five pretty decent cameras and a Pro Tools setup with an HD system."

Adds Grassia, "It was fun and it turned out well. We shall release it in instalments, with a new edit of a new song once a week, then we'll put the whole thing together at the end with some extra stuff. I really wanted to make an art film and I never got a chance to do that in high school."

The band's earlier two critically acclaimed albums, 2003's Everything In 3 Parts and 2006's Big Eye Little Eye, came out on the True North label, but group and label parted amicably after True North founder Bernie Finkelstein sold the company.

"We had no real connection to the new owner," says Grassia. "We kind of wanted out anyway, so it worked out well."

Now on Toronto-based independent Nevado, the Golden Dogs call kindred spirits such as Yukon Blonde, Bahamas, and Leif Vollebekk labelmates. According to Azzolini, "It happened really naturally that we fell into a nice situation. Because we were mixing the record with the guy who mixed and manages Bahamas, Nick Bernal of Nevado was one of the first guys to grab one of the first mixes of the album. He was interested right away."

Bahamas (Afie Jurvanen) is one of many guests joining the nucleus of Azzolini, Grassia, and drummer Taylor Knox on the album. Coat of Arms was recorded at Illeagle Studios, a small Toronto garage studio operated by Carlin Nicholson and Mike O'Brien, of Zeus.

In addition to recording and playing on the album, Nicholson and O'Brien are credited as co-producers with the Golden Dogs. "The recording was spread out while Zeus were doing their thing and playing gigs," says Azzolini. "It was just musicians getting together to bounce ideas off each other, and it made for a very comfortable environment to make music."

Since completing Coat of Arms, the Golden Dogs have solidified their lineup with two new members, James Robertson [guitar] and Jay McCarrol [bass]. "The new lineup of the band is the most excited I've been about playing live in a long time," says Azzolini. "They are playing the new songs perfectly. We are writing with them now and they are a big part of the arranging process. We've got a few songs we rehearsed at a demo the other day I am so excited about. I'm looking forward to recording again right now!"

Grassia pledges to have their next record out much more quickly. "We'll record the next album in two days and put it out in a week," she laughs.

The Golden Dogs play a CD release show at Toronto's The Garrison on Saturday (July 31).