Born from the blaring creativity of a post-varsity gap year across Southeast Asia and Europe, an enlightening week at Afrika Burn, and a fortuitous right swipe on Tinder, Year of Dogs is our latest nu-disco pop obsession, straight outta the indie woodwork of Cape Town.
Two years in the making, Nic van Graan (vocals), Themba Bosch (guitar), and brothers Alex Birns (drums) and Dillon Birns (bass) had only played their first gig on the grassy slopes of Table Mountain to some 100 Stellies students on a DIY jol, before lockdown hit and so began the life of the isolated musician.
Nine months down the line, after dozens of neighbour-vexing home rehearsals, a slew of lockdown videos – and through roping in Josh Berry (HONEYMOAN) to produce their first four tracks – they find themselves here: with their debut “Sweet Red” fresh on the airwaves.
Recorded in Berry’s home studio, the track is an ode to the obscurities of 2020 and the detriment of the social media channels we found solace it. It’s about that diabetic dopamine rush of the sweet red notification sign, wrapped in a slick indie track bred to bring the genre back – not that it really went anywhere.
Funk-infused lo-fi tendencies meet a driving bass-line and rhythm-driven bounce. Your classic indie guitar jangle is there, and so is the rhythmic snick and click drum-work – but Year of Dogs find a fresh angle within a once-oversaturated genre and it’s indie-vibes to eat your heart out to. Pitching vocals set the scene on house-bound humans waist-deep in technological vices – which is as candid as it is unsettling to those of us who oversubscribe to this habit.
While 2021 might have gotten off to a rocky start, Year of Dogs might just be the musical accomplices who soften the blow with their slick debut, setting the stage for a whole lot more goodness to come.