Shayna and the Bulldog
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Shayna and the Bulldog

Davis, California, United States | SELF

Davis, California, United States | SELF
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Press for Youth We Knew EP (2011)

"The guitar tones, songwriting and musicianship all take a step forward and along with the new album, these left-over (!) songs demonstrate that SATB are one of the best unsigned bands in California, perhaps even in the whole country." -Pop Heart, Etc.

Press for States (2009)
"Dream-pop melodies becomes bouncy, powerful indie-pop."-FensePost

"California pop rock with a singer/songwriter flair."-Perfect Porridge

"...you can hear influences from their Cali roots, all the way to Motown and the Honky Tonks."-antiMUSIC

"There's nary a misstep from the Davis, California, band-States is as good a debut as you'll hear this year."-The Portland Mercury
- Various


“Expatriate” is a melodically dreamy pop song hushed by what sounds like percussion played with padded mallets and simple keyboard notes backed by a clean and subtle plucked guitar riff. This is my introduction to Shayna & The Bulldog, so it was initially surprising to hear the song break into a full-fledged romp half-way through the song. Dream-pop melodies becomes bouncy, powerful indie-pop. It’s this power pop sound that is the norm for this band, but the dreamy elements are what make “Expatriate” the perfect summer song, … - Fensepost Indie Music Blog


Bulldog are actually a quartet of humans—no animals—and they've just sent their first album, States, out into the world. Like Hootie, every song sounds suspiciously like a hit, but unlike Hootie, this band is actually really good. Fans of Hootie (if there are any of those left) will take comfort in the durability of their classic rock sound, but others will appreciate the inventive, crackling songwriting. Check out the way "Expatriate" transforms from a bittersweet midnight ballad into a bright and boppy sing-along, or how "Again Today" sounds like a jackknife-sharp dialogue between early Tom Petty and current-day Patterson Hood. There's nary a misstep from the Davis, California, band—States is as good a debut as you'll hear this year. NED LANNAMANN - The Portland Mercury


This past Saturday I was trying to play Super Dad in the Denver Airport and wound up missing a connection, thus stranding myself and 2-year-old son for an additional 3 hours. Insult to injury, I wound up having to pay $150 for the privilege of taking the later flight. Inwardly, the devastation I felt when I realized my mistake reminded me of an earlier, lonelier, more desperate time when I lost my return bus ticket (as in it fell out of my pocket or?) and found myself alone and penniless in the L.A. Greyhound Station. After much rejection at the hands of unsympathetic customer service specialists, I wound using the last $32 on my nearly maxed-out credit card and limped into home a defeated shell of my former bravado-infused self. Nothing makes you feel more sad inside than making stupid mistakes and finding yourself far from home, where no one cares.

Which brings me to the excellent new ep from Davis-based Shayna and The Bulldog. SATB have recently released a second full length album, the self-titled Shayna and The Bulldog. Here at PopHeartEtc, we are big fans of the record and will post on it soon. But today I want to dive in to The Youth We Knew, immersed in the sounds of young life coming apart, shattered and bruised, disillusioned and disheartened. Perfect music for being lost and alone. On these four fantastic songs, available for free download from bandcamp, the band swaps upbeat country folk rock for reverb-laden Americana that’s stiffer, heavier, and darker. The guitar tones, songwriting and musicianship all take a step forward and along with the new album, these left-over (!) songs demonstrate that SATB are one of the best unsigned bands in California, perhaps even in the whole country.

MP3: Shayna and The Bulldog — “Red Dress” download

MP3: Shayna and The Bulldog — “23? download

In the brooding “Red Dress,” out of a sense of deep resignation and even deeper conviction, singer/bassist Joel Daniel sings “I probably always should have known that it would come to this.” Y0u can’t help but agree with him, even if you don’t know the young lady in question. Of course, there’s a big difference between 21 and 31, and the story I began with is at least partially relevant. In the title, The Youth We Knew, SATB allude to it. We move on. We grow. Even break ups and f, er foul ups, don’t last forever.
- Pop Heart Etc...


To talk about Davis, California’s Shayna and the Bulldog, I have to talk about Christye. Christye is my girlfriend, but I prefer to say she is “My Sweetheart,” mostly because it sounds more romantic and nothing like anything anyone would say about anyone on MTV. Christye is a sweet girl of average height with long brown hair and a nosering. She comes along to almost every show I attend. She is one of the only people I know well who thinks about music like I do and has never used the phrases “cool” or “not that cool, you know,” or “swirling guitar” as modifiers for anything we listen to together. A good reason, among many others, to love her.

The night we went to see Shayna and the Bulldog, Christye got sick with some kind of flu which turned into some kind of laryngitis, which sucks a lot. Her voice was gone. She carries a persistent headache, and as we drove to the Georgetown area of South Seattle (a place I had never driven to, did not get direction to, and could not find very easily; this did help Christye feel better), she seemed ready to ball up and fall asleep. The industrial lights flashed over her face as we drove, and I felt sorry I convinced her to come along with me. She needed good sleep, a strong medicine, and some Nite Time tea. Or, maybe, she just needed some rock and roll.

Shayna and the Bulldog is an American rock group from a small college town. On nights when the band needs to play for hours to make enough money for a tour, they will cover complete albums by Tom Petty – particularly 1989’s Full Moon Fever. Charles Caskey, the lead singer and songwriter for the group, told on a dying cellphone on an Arizona highway, “Seattle is the farthest we have ever been north. We’ve done a couple of Southwest tours and made it as far as Eugene, Oregon. A few years ago, we did a lot of partying on our tour, did the rock band thing. But that got old real quick. We think we did it right this time.”

All four members of the group – Joel Daniel on bass, Nina Doherty on drums, Cozy Gazelle on lead guitar – attended school together at UC Davis. “I don’t know what everyone studied, to be honest with you,” said Caskey. “We all live and work in Davis. For three years before these tours, we were strictly a Davis band. It’s nice to play, have people come out, have a good time. Someone actually remembered us once and requested a song. We’re just doing the bar thing. For now.”

The Mix is the center of 12th Street in Seattle, across the street from La Tribaloni pizza parlor and next door to a coffee shop with old wooden chairs and heavy tables. The Mix is also very hard to find since there are no street lights, advertising lights, or windows with lights. And 12th Street, in this part of Seattle, is about 14 feet long. Inside The Mix, the walls were decorated for Halloween and the concrete floor held plush, but mismatched, couches and chairs. The Mix would feel like a youth room in a church were it not for the local beer being sold by the blond lady out of a blue cooler behind a makeshift bar. Christye and I arrived just in time to shake hands with Charles and the band before they set up their gear and dove into their set with “Patricia,” the first track off of their new self-released record, States.

Christye and I sat on a black couch. We sunk into the middle and drank Diet Coke with sliced lemons. Charles sang, “I miss her, I miss her, I miss her,” with a low growl and Nina Doherty pounded her snare, Cozy Gazelle moved around stage in cowboy boots, dressing a freshly mixed salad of California groove, flatland country and urban pop with thick and light blues notes. “We love country music. We tend to listen to a lot of it,” Charles told me.

This affection was apparent. But, as much as Shayna and the Bulldog appreciate country rock, they aren’t a country band. They play pop music about ocean water and highways and pretty girls – like any good, college-town band should. Old songs lead into short jams, new songs hit stride and bounce like Spring-time sparrows, high notes turn to hollers and almost everything reminds me of a work-day rock style I listened to as a kid in my dad’s car.

I looked over and saw Christye in the grey and red light coming from the stage. She was still sick: a virus still made her cough and she could yearned for Sprite and chicken noodle soup, but her feet moved in beat and her head bobbed in rhythm. It seemed she could deal with being ill for a moment as long the rock-and-roll felt like rock-and-roll. And it did. Free, easy-going but never slow, simple but not simplistic, the music we and Christye knew well before hearing an electronic chord strummed – the rock of the American west. Like hot soup and orange juice on a green Autumn day.

“In Davis, there are about two ways bands go. Guys either form alt-country bands or get real experimental – you know, because they’re in college in California. I think we land right in the middle,” Caskey, a former engineering student at UCD, - Dryvetyme Online


"There's nary a misstep from the Davis, California, band-States is as good a debut as you'll hear this year."-The Portland Mercury

"Dream-pop melodies becomes bouncy, powerful indie-pop." -FensePost

"California pop rock with a singer/songwriter flair."-Perfect Porridge

"...you can hear influences from their Cali roots, all the way to Motown and the Honky Tonks."-antiMUSIC
- Various


"Dream-pop melodies becomes bouncy, powerful indie-pop." - FensePost

"California pop rock with a singer/songwriter flair." - Perfect Porridge

"...you can hear influences from their Cali roots, all the way to Motown and the Honky Tonks." - antiMUSIC

"Very pleasant alt-country on [States]...There's not a bad song on the record." - WLUR radio 91.5 FM

"If a band could personify a season, Shayna and the Bulldog would be summer. This four-member Davis band is bluegrass meets rock n' roll, bringing the kind of energy and catchy lyrics to their songs that make you want to get out and enjoy the sunny weather." - The California Aggie

“'States' is the best local album I've heard in some time: just what this band needs to hit it big."- Davis Enterprise - Various


Discography

Self-titled (S/T) - 2011
States (LP) - 2009
Basement Love Explosion (EP) - 2008
Firecracker in Winter (EP) - 2007

Promotional period for Self-titled disc have not begun, but tracks from States are in rotation and receiving airplay on the following stations:

WRNC Ashland, WI - (Record peaked at # 1)
KRFP Moscow, ID
NVWR Reno, NV
WXLV Schnecksville, PA
WSFX Nanticoke, PA
WWHR Bowling Green, KY
WMXM Lake Forest, IL
WNSU Fort Lauderdale, FL
WSJU Jamaica, NY
WWUH West Hartford, CT
WIDR Kalamazoo, MI
KAMP Tucson, AZ
KDVS Davis, CA
KSCL Shreveport, LA
WBNY Buffalo, NY
WMBR Cambridge, MA
Bearcast Radio Cincinnati, OH
KGAR Lemoore, CA
CFRU Guelph, ON
WRUR Rochester, NY
WSBU St. Bonaventure, NY
WTCC Springfield, MA
WTJU Charlottesville, VA
WXAC Reading, PA
OHIO.FM Columbus, OH
KHNS Haines, AK
KCSS Turlock, CA
WNCW Spindale, NC
KOPN Columbia, MO

Photos

Bio

Shayna and the Bulldog ("SatB") are a quartet of humans--not a girl and her pet dog as the name implies. Specifically, they are four musicians from the small college town of Davis, CA who have crafted a heartfelt take on indie pop that combines crackling songwriting rooted in rock'n'roll with chamber pop sensibility. The foursome who came about through Craig's List ads and coffee shop encounters is Charles Castle (vocals, keys), Joel Daniel (vocals, bass), Cozy Gazelle (guitar, vocals), and Nina Doherty (drums, percussion). Shayna and the Bulldog (self-titled, S/T) is their second LP, and SatB will tour the West coast in support of the record in coming months.

SatB set out to record their S/T record in the spring of 2010 at The Hangar (Devendra Banhart, Vetiver, Jason Lytle) in Sacramento, CA with Doombird frontman Kris Anaya as producer. Full of lightly distorted organs and guitars, unconventional drumbeats, reverb-soaked harmonies, and occasional orchestral ramblings, S/T recalls Cherry Tree-era National, Death Cab for Cutie, and late-era Beach Boys. Thematically, it's a record about loss and the emotional alchemy necessary to transform challenging experiences into something beautiful, such as a song. SatB's offerings on S/T achieve this transformation. The songs, like lipstick on an empty glass, hint at those moments that inspired their writings, yet stand apart as a reminder that there is always hope in change, and in the unexpected consequence of a moment in time. SatB is certainly hopeful for the future and anxious to bring this album and the songs it contains to new audiences and new towns around the country.