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Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2001 | SELF | AFM

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | SELF | AFM
Established on Jan, 2001
Band Rock Pop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Energetic Excellence from The Golden Dogs"

The Golden Dogs know how to throw a party. On April 10th, after Huron finished their set at Lee’s Palace, I rushed over to the El Mocambo for the Golden Dogs CD Release party promoting their new album, “Coat of Arms”. This better be worth the effort, I thought, while making my way down Spadina.
It was.
I arrived about ten minutes into their performance, and it was packed. The Golden Dogs were halfway into their third song, “Cheap Umbrellas”, and they were loud and energetic; they seemed to be putting all their energy into it. What’s more, they continued playing this way throughout the entire set: Jessica was jumping up and down while on her keyboard, singing animatedly with her eyes shut tight; Dave was singing emphatically, and dancing as much as he could with his guitar strapped across his body; Taylor’s arms were a blur behind the drums and perhaps the most challenging, yet exciting, to follow visually.
The band’s energy was infectious. The audience was going wild for the new album. But when the band began playing older hits, like “Birdsong” and “Construction Worker”, the energy pumping through the audience seemed even more amped. The Golden Dogs played for over an hour, and people were dancing and tossing their heads fervently the entire time. When it was time for an encore, I heard desperate pleas for “two more songs” instead of just one.
It was evident how much preparation the Golden Dogs must have put into this into this performance. They had accompanying choirs and smoke billowing onstage, all of which contributed to a phenomenal set.
And this was only the CD Release party.
- The Take Media

"The Golden Dogs"

As Canada gradually becomes the world capitol of indie pop, the Great White North might find its home to more worthwhile bands than it knows what to do with. Toronto's the Golden Dogs seemingly got a taste of what it's like to learn your credit score in rock isn't as high as you might hope when, after a long run of touring behind their 2006 album Big Eye Little Eye, they were dropped by their record label, and found themselves without a bass player when Stew Heyduk decided to settle down with his new bride in Hawaii. But a few bouts with adversity have, if anything, made the Golden Dogs a better band; their fourth album, 2011's Coat of Arms, is an eclectic and finely crafted set that finds this group stepping up with a dozen great new songs and playing them with enthusiasm, intelligence, and a welcome sense of aural adventure. The tunes on Coat of Arms, written by guitarist and founder Dave Azzolini, are clever and built around hook-laden melodies, and the band's approach in the studio is perfectly balanced, giving the songs a slight coat of polish that allows their virtues to shine through while sounding scrappy enough to reinforce their rock & roll credentials. The charging minor-key guitars and pummeling drums on "Travel Time" suggest a more tuneful variant on classic-era Sonic Youth (with a lyrical lift from Leonard Cohen for seasoning); there's an undertow of pure '70s swagger in the interplay of keyboards and guitars on "Dark Room" and "As Long as You Like"; the raunchy roar and nervous silences of "Old Hat" make for a spectacular closing number, and the arrangement on "When the Movie's Over" manages to sound grand and orchestral enough that you might not notice there aren't actually any strings on the track. Carlin Nicholson and Mike O'Brien of Zeus produced the album with the group, and they prove to be in excellent hands in the studio, giving the performances a clean, crisp sound that still sounds like a real band playing in real time, and the musicians -- especially Jessica Grassia on keyboards and Azzolini and Mike O'Brien on guitars -- don't miss a step. If the Golden Dogs aren't in the upper ranks of popularity on the Canadian indie pop scene, in terms of making a striking and thoroughly enjoyable album, they're close to the top of the heap, and Coat of Arms finds them coming back from a transitional period with all the strength, talent, and versatility you could ask for. - ALLMUSIC.COM - Review for Coat of Arms

"The Golden Dogs = Rilo Kiley + The New Pornographers"

Canadian rockers The Golden Dogs are back after a while in hibernation, and have changed direction on their third full-length album. Coat of Arms revives ‘70s rock in a very modern and indie way. The album is full of contagious beats, seductive synths and surprise – Jessica Grassia can sing. In fact, some of the album’s more “golden” moments are when Grassia takes the lead. In “Underwater Goldemine”, the combination of her soft voice, Rhodes piano and omnichord lends it a very ethereal quality. Grassia’s vocal styling’s in “As Long As You Like” and “Cheap Umbrellas” are evocative of an earlier Jenny Lewis. However, the songs where Dave Azzolini sings are just as good. “Dear Francis” has a catchy melody and “Old Hat” has a roaring dinosaur of a guitar. From start to finish, the album is unexpectedly fresh, upbeat, energetic and bursting with sunshine. “Coat of Arms” is a perfect listen for any spring adventure – now all they need is a new band name. – Julianna Clay - Slug Magazine

"New Song : The Golden Dogs : Darkroom"

The Golden Dogs are Toronto-based poppers whose ebullience belies the fact that they’ve been mucking in the indie-rock soup for pert near a decade. Their third full-length, Coat Of Arms, was recorded over the course of a year with help from Carlin Nicholson and Mike O’Brien of Zeus, and finds the band simultaneously expanding their sonic arsenal and attacking all human senses. Timeless pop songs meet tasteful arrangements and it all just seems so effortless. Despite recent American tours with the likes of Feist, Sloan and Electric Six, these guys (and gal) are still virtually invisible in these parts, which is a damn shame, ‘caus there’s a lot to like here.
Not satisfied with just doing the music thang, the band also has an ongoing music video project called Home Movie. What is that, you ask? Seems The Golden Dogs are in the habit of regularly turning their living room into a DIY soundstage (complete with multi-camera setups), performing songs from the record and, with the help of digital trickery and stock footage, posting the results for all to enjoy.

- My Old Kentucky Blog

"The Golden Dogs - Album Review"

It took a while (longer than anyone expected, actually) for the trends in rock to start shifting away from the guitar-pop masquerading as “indie rock” which has held the popular imagination of the record-buying public for the last couple of years, but it seems to finally be happening now, as the bands begins to go their separate ways. Both The New Pornographers and Broken Social Scene have already broken stride with their “indie rock” beginnings as both Forgiveness Rock Record and Together found those bands incorporating more divergent sounds into their music which has been eaten up by the public and now The Golden Dogs have returned from a four-year break to follow suit; while they're not following BSS' of the Pornographers' example on Coat Of Arms (no electronics here), the album does represent another sound again and furthers the notion that a change is in the air.

On Coat Of Arms, The Golden Dogs have thrown a tremendous amount of distance between themselves and the “indie rock” fad. From the opening swing of “Dear Francis,” it's clear that Detroit and that city's lustrous history (from Motown to The Slumber Party to The Stooges to Ted Nugent and more) were the things that captured The Golden Dogs' attention and imagination during the writing and recording of the album. On songs like “Dear Francis,” “Dark Room,” “Weapon,” “Lester” and “Permanent Record,” singer Dave Azzolini coerces his rhythm section into producing a fantastic and boisterous swing that hasn't been done as well since 1976 . In those songs, every time Mike O'Brien's lean but powerful guitar, Taylor Knox' drums and Azzolini's bass converge, the effect is a resounding, vintage chime that will cause the hips of listeners to move involuntarily. It's a potent vibe that the band sets up, and listeners will find themselves head over feet for the band's amped up R&B.

In most situations, that would be enough to get a record over with listeners – but The Golden Dogs have a secret weapon still left to play: female counterpart singer and keyboardist Jessica Grassia. With listeners already in the mood courtesy of Azzolini's husky baritone, Grassia is able to steal in and steal the mic for a bit of Slumber Party-esque sweetness on “As Long As You Like,” “Underwater Goldmine” and “When The Movie's Over” that proves to be the silver lining under Azzolini's golden, ominous thunderheads.

With such admissions made, it should go without saying that Coat Of Arms is a rousing success, but it's more than just that; on this album, while everyone else has consciously attempted to focus on the “rock” side of their “indie rock” sound, it's clear in listening to Coat Of Arms that The Golden Dogs haven't concerned themselves with making some big statement of what it wants to do or how it wants to appear, they're they're just doing what comes naturally to them here. Because that effortless vibe is both intoxicating and impossible to miss, it makes Coat Of Arms easy to love; it is a fantastic return.
- Ground Control Magazine

"The Golden Dogs - Coat of Arms - Album Review"

Others get greater plaudits, but no other band in Canada have set themselves as heirs to power-popsters Sloan and The New Pornographers as The Golden Dogs have on this third album. And while their buddies in Zeus are currently seen as the relative heavyweights, I dare say that it’s The Golden Dogs who have upped the stakes in the game of thrill-ride pop/rock. Zeus’ Carlin Nicholson and Mike O’Brien produced Coat Of Arms, while Neil Quin played guitar on the Dogs’ last record, and this connection leads one to join the dots regarding their mutual love of ELO-esque texture, as well as the more prominent use of piano here, which helps drive songwriter Dave Azzolini’s increasingly rock-classicist tendencies. Much in the same way that Supergrass had recently opened themselves to a wider palette, Azzolini covers new ground for the band on Coat by working with a slapback reverbed vocal (“Dear Francis”), quoting Leonard Cohen (“Travel Time”), and channeling Split Enz (“Lester”), all without sacrificing the fervour that characterizes their hyper sound.
The trademark shared vocal duties of Azzolini and not-so-secret weapon Jessica Grassia continue to cause the pair to push their throats into exhilarating wail range, particularly on “Permanent Record”. Grassia’s role as the band’s Neko Case (“Movie’s Over”) is a fairly obvious point of comparison, but make no mistake: in this writer's opinion, The New Pornographers have neither been as good, nor as consistent as this in a few years.

"The Golden Dogs - Bands We Like"

Who: Toronto pop-rockers centered around singer-songwriter Dave Azzolini, keyboardist/singer Jessica Grassia and drummer/multi-instrumentalist Taylor Knox. This third album was recorded with help from members of fellow Toronto indie-poppers Zeus and is the band’s first to feature major vocal and songwriting contributions from Grassia.

What they’re saying: “Timeless pop songs meet tasteful arrangements and it all just seems so effortless.”– My Old Kentucky Blog

What we’re saying: Grassia’s expanded role is a welcome new wrinkle in the Dogs’ scrappy sound. With her insouciant vocals leading the way, the band expands its palette into beachy dream-pop (“Underwater Goldmine”) and ‘60s girl-group harmonies (“As Long As You Like”) without missing a step. Azzolini continues to grow as a songwriter, too; songs like “Darkroom” and “Weapon” are both catchy and cutting, splitting the difference between Guided by Voices-style basement power-pop and the majestic retro-rock of New Pornographers. – Andy Hermann
Listen: “The Golden Dogs - As Long As You Like”
- Metromix (New York)

"The Golden Dogs-The Vic Theater (Chicago, IL)-Saturday, April 3rd, 2011"

It’s difficult not to notice the professional musicianship inherent in many bands from Canada these days. Toronto’s four piece, The Golden Dogs, is no exception. Like fellow Canadians rockers Sloan , the band members switch up instruments without ever missing a beat and deliver on rock moves that might seem cheesy if the band didn’t seem to be so obviously having a great time. With that kind of joy projected, the feel good vibes are infectious and made for a perfect Saturday night musical experience.
The Golden Dogs began their 45 minute long adventure into rock with “Darkroom,” a song with slight tinges of the edginess that early Spoon tracks often provided. They concentrated somewhat heavily on their newest third full length release, 2010’s Coat of Arms. “As Long As You Like It” proved another fantastic live track, with the sweetness of Jessica Grassia’s vocals melting the crowd in a sugary rock. “Weapon” was another easy highlight, featuring a keyboard part that was perfectly timed with the drumming and builds with a memorable guitar rift. Perhaps the most exemplary track on their new album, “Cheap Umbrellas” shows Grassia singing in a style that recalls the way Neko Case sings pop songs with a liveliness that fits well with the drive of the instrumentation. The band took the time to create a 60s-esque sign to emphasize the glory of their super catchy “Travel Time” and it was pure bliss watching them relish in their own hit. “Construction Worker” showed the absolute culmination of the fortitude of the band’s talented playing and songwriting. It was easily the most memorable live track of the night.
As previously mentioned, The Golden Dogs played with a sense of ease exhibited by bands who could play comfortably to arena-sized audiences. The only member of the band who didn’t switch instruments is song writer, guitarist, and male lead vocalist Dave Azzolini but he had his share of jumps and other iconic rock moves to make up for it. At one point, he tossed The Golden Dogs sign into the air and into the audience and at another part of the set attempted to play two guitars at once. Meanwhile, Grassia proved just as skilled on drums as she is on keyboards and her vocals made every song more engaging. With this kind of charisma and energy, the band can only continue to gain larger audiences.
- The Big Takeover

"The Golden Dogs @ The Vic Theatre (Chicago)"

The first time to you experience anything is a definitive moment for you and the relationship you will have with that one thing forever. Particularly in music, these first impressions can make or break the connection that follows that initial contact. On occasion even the most negative first impression can be thwarted by a second chance, but more often that not we wrinkle our noses, say, “No, this is not for me.” and that is the end of that. When I first caught wind of Ontario’s The Golden Dogs, they didn’t do a whole lot for me. They were catchy, I liked the rusty rawness of their garage rock inflected pop and they used a keyboard, which I’m generally a sucker for. But apart from being generally pleasant, they didn’t really register on my radar. Sometime after this first encounter, I hear the band is heading my way to play Chicago’s Vic Theater along with State Radio and am offered a chance to check them out so I think, “Hey, why not.” and agree to see the show.
Maybe it was because I walked into the show with very little expectation, but The Golden Dogs did a phenomenal job of impressing me. Despite the mix in The Vic not being very clean, The Golden Dogs managed to produce a sound that was raucous and energetic without letting it get away from them, thankfully saving them from turning into the grinding mess bands with the tendency to jam can become. Featuring drums, keys, guitar and bass, the quartet often flip-flopped throughout their set, moving from one instrument to another and collectively joining in on the vocal harmonies most of their choruses called for. A tinge of the 60’s era surf rock that has begun to resurface in the Indie rock community graces the sound of The Golden Dogs, but the best way I can think to describe these four is to have you imagine what The Shins would have been like if Karen O joined them for jam sessions in their garage.
The band ripped through their set with little hesitation, only stopping a few times to thank the crowd and the sound engineer. The band had what seemed to be large, hand-painted disks bearing their name and a few other phrases that Jessica Grassia would occasionally pull put and lean against an amp, but from where I was couldn’t really telling you what they said or what their purpose was. At one point front man Dave Azzolini tossed one up to the balcony, inviting the crowd to play a quick round of Frisbee before they started their next song, which was charming but didn’t really explain the prop. Nonetheless, high energy and just the right amount of playfulness ruled the foursome on stage, giving their performance the feeling being someplace much smaller than The Vic. I felt more like I was sitting in on a band practice than at a formal show, which normally could be seen as an insult, but in this case just proves that these four clearly practice like they plan to play, exuding professionalism and a real knack for performance. Confidant, bold and downright charming, watching the quartet seamlessly switch instruments without stopping the music, shake their heads and wildly jump around put me in a fabulous mood and honestly, what more can you ask for from a live show? All previous feelings of neutrality toward The Golden Dogs are gone for me- I can now say that I’ve welcomed these Canadians into my inner circle.
- Sock Monkey Sound

"The Golden Dogs - Coat of Arms [Nevado]"

The Golden Dogs’ forthcoming album, Coat of Arms, is a collection of unique and interestingly textured releases. Each song on the album seems to be a unique emanation of its own as opposed to a bunch of songs that sound alike thrown together onto one disc. “As Long as You Like,” is light-hearted and playful pop, whereas “Darkroom” is moodier and driven, with a strong classic rock feel. “Cheap Umbrellas” is a brilliant collision of psychedelic rock foundation with a modern indie vocals and chorus.
The textural musings of both male and female vocals compliment and contrast each other, like a great conversation from an interesting couple. The band consists of lead songwriter, Dave Azzolini, who is supported by Jessica Grassia (keyboards, vocals, and percussion) and Taylor Knox on drums. About half of the songs are led by Grassia’s sweet and delicate vocals; the tracks featuring both Azzolini and Grassia are a fantastic and almost serene marriage of psychadelic rock and indie pop.
This is the bands sixth release and third full-length album and is set to drop on April 26th. Favorite- “Underwater Goldmine” is a dreamy anthem for a slow spring afternoon with a French pop flare.
- OWL Magazine

"Review - The Golden Dogs - Coat Of Arms - Nevado Records"

When taking Coat of Arms out of its sleeve for the first time don't be discouraged by what ensues. Toronto's The Golden Dogs take pop-rock to entirely new levels of eccentricity with their latest release, but the divergence is worth it if you give it a chance. The unabashed obscurity that belts out on the first track "Dear Francis" brings to your ears piercing, off-key vocals with a minimalist piano/drum backdrop. If you can get it through your head that there's something more to come then your perseverance will be rewarded. After a number of plays you start to see the first track as the band’s signature style and a welcoming overture to this latest release. The remarkably magnetic vocal styling of guitarist Dave Azzolini eventually gives way to the softer, dreamier tones of keyboardist and second lead-vocalist Jessica Grassia. Taking turns on the mike and working together this duo somehow meld their own styles together into something quite enjoyable and very much worth the listen. Taking on an almost Paul & Linda McCartney early-years vibe the two work their creative muscles in a raw and sensitive manner that you can easily take hold of. Coat of Arms will either win you over as a fan (new or old) or put off those who quickly dismiss music that they don't quite understand. Coat of Arms is one of those albums in the vein of Arcade Fire and the like that warrant much more than one listen to clearly identify what it is exactly that is going on within the music. Those willing to come back will begin to embrace what The Golden Dogs are doling out as creative and memorable rock music. - SPILL MAGAZINE

"The Golden Dogs – Coat Of Arms album review"

The Golden Dogs are marking their pop-rock territory with latest release, Coat Of Arms. The team of Dave Azzolini and Jessica Grassia have put together a clever and pitch perfect romp through pop rock history. While fans of Indie will endear themselves to the album’s relentlessly catchy bounce and swagger it will be those tuned in with a fine ear for late 60’s and mid-70’s rock and roll that get the best of this album. The Golden Dogs have a keen ear for tone and a true talent for updating arguably the greatest era of music.

You’ll hear Steely Dan “come back to haunt you”, kicked through the dirty gutters of time and backed by a bass transported straight from LA ’75 on the ominous “Darkroom”. Grassia carries the lead on “As Long As You Like” and plays it slinky over parlor piano struggling to be heard over T-Rex guitar tones played by the lazy hands of Keith Richards – and they don’t forget the Bolland-esque tip of the hat to doo-wop and signature hand claps. “Weapon” plays as a great Dr. Hook/ John Lennon (late Beatles, early solo) team up right down to the slap echo vocals that Lennon was so fond of on Plastic Ono Band and Imagine. Oddly enough, “Travel Time” a late ‘70’s Toronto punk revival suggests the band’s intentions most boldly – they truly are traveling with us as they trip into “Underwater Goldmine”, caught in stasis some where between “Octopus’s Garden” and ‘70’s lounge – think bonus track from Stone Temple Pilots’ Tiny Music… Songs From The Vatican Gift Shop.

I honestly can’t find a track on this disc that isn’t just plain awesome and while I may be picking at any possible influence I can find the band’s disparaging sound is their greatest asset. It means that Azzolini and Grassia deserve credit for impeccable, timeless song writing and a band that is obviously and completely anal about how their album should sound. On any track the band nails down period perfect drum sounds (we’re talking Spector’s paper thin skins), a bass rarely kept on the leash, and guitar work historically schizophrenic – there are some brilliant echoes of Neil Young on “Old Hat”. I’ll admit, I have a little trouble placing the best track on the album (and it’s tough to pick one) “Permanent Record” – it’s on the tip of my tongue… Ragged guitars, traffic jam rhythm section and sparse, sporadic keys. Buy the album for “Permanent Record” and love the rest. - See more at: - Lithium Magazine


It says alot about the strength of the material on Wings' Band On The Run that this tune is so often overlooked. Toronto powerpop troupe The Golden Dogs - whose leader Dave Azzolini counts Paul McCartney and Tom Waits as his ultimate heroes - included this spirited version on their third album, 2006's Big Eye Little, and introduced it into their live set. Crank this loud and lose yourself in the rousing guitar crescendo. - Mojo Magazine - issue #240 November 2013

"The Golden Dogs"

Golden Dogs
Coat of Arms
By Daniel Sylvester

If the current Toronto, ON indie rock scene has a unified sound, the Golden Dogs dutifully represent it. Back when Broken Social Scene were still trying to be a post-rock band, the Golden Dogs were busy crafting their brand of bubbling pop rock later embraced by T.O. homies Jason Collett and Zeus. On songs like "Darkroom" and "Permanent Record," vocalist Dave Azzolini's delivery comes off much more forceful and anxious, as the rhythm section pull off another parlour room backbeat. Keyboardist Jessica Grassia takes on a larger role, as her sugar-encrusted vocals complement the fizzy production sound, courtesy of Carlin Nicholson and Mike O'Brien (of Zeus). As songs like "Weapon," with its locked eyed chorus, and "Lester," with its conservative "oohs" and "ahhs," the Golden Dogs remain unafraid to sound like a regular indie rock band, most likely because they do it so well. (Nevado)
- EXCLAIM! Magazine

"The Golden Dogs - 4 Star Album Review"

BY ADAM STEEL July 28, 2010 21:07
Known primarily for their high-energy performances and colourful videos, the eclectic Toronto outfit take on a new direction (and two new members) for album number three. Without straying too far from their traditional sound, Coat of Arms is certainly a more confident record. Credit is due to harmony vocalist Jessica Grassia who brings her bronzed pipes to the forefront, carrying six of the 12 songs with her on-point caterwauling. The greatest track lands conveniently in the middle; “Travel Time” is a sonic showcase of each member’s respective talents, be it Taylor Knox’s rigorous percussion or Dave Azzolini’s gnarly guitar intro. A boisterous ode to Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne,” and falling in at under three minutes, it is clever pop-punk perfection. - EYE Magazine

"The Golden Dogs - 4 Star Album Review"

It’s been four years since the Golden Dogs released their second album, and if their energetic new one is any indication, the Toronto five-piece spent that time getting focused and inspired. All 12 songs showcase solid hooks, inventive arrangements and killer performances (particularly by drummer Taylor Knox). Add in creative production by Zeus dudes Carlin Nicholson and Mike O’Brien and you’ve got a winner.
This is intelligent, high-energy rock ’n’ roll, especially when main man Dave Azzolini is unleashing his voice through a distorted mic (Dear Francis, Darkroom, Weapon, Travel Time). But equally gung-ho keyboardist Jessica Grassia takes the mic just as often this time around, and these brighter Grassia-led tunes (As Long As You Like, Cheap Umbrellas) veer closer to the colossal power pop of Sloan and the New Pornographers.
Best is when the two join forces, as on the closer, Old Hat, which begins deceptively as falsetto balladry but ends with a thunderous guitar solo just out of tune enough to leave you feeling seasick.
Top track: Dear Francis
- NOW Magazine

"Drowned In Sound, UK Album Review"

Although barely known outside of their native Toronto, the story of The Golden Dogs can actually traced back to the summer of 1998. That was when singer/songwriter and guitarist Dave Azzolini met his future wife, keyboard player Jessica Grassia on their (then) local Ontario high school band circuit. Although parted for three years by further education and low-paid day jobs, the pair eventually re-located to Toronto, hooked up with guitarist Neil Quin, bass player Stew Heyduk and drummer Taylor Knox after countless others came and went and over a period of intense rehearsing and primitive songwriting, The Golden Dogs were born.

"Nothing unique about that" you're probably all thinking, and to a certain degree you'd be right, except that with this quintet, time and space has proved to be the decisive factor for where they are now, because if Big Eye Little Eye, their first internationally released long-player is anything to go by, those initial spurts of disfunctional activity have paid dividends.

Although not the first Canadian husband and wife to lead the crusade against humdrum middle of the road drudgery, The Golden Dogs actually manage to fuse the best bits of their parents' record collections with both pop and experimental sensibilities that recall artists such as The Wannadies in one sense and even Blur in another. Across the twelve pieces here, Big Eye Little Eye doesn't rest on its laurels at any point and even their take on Paul McCartney and Wings' 'Ninety Hundred And Eighty-Five' sounds more Vampire Weekend in its execution than... well, the aforementioned and slightly overrated New Yorkers if we're being honest.

The opening punk-pop of 'DYNAMO' causes hearts to flutter and limbs to flail in a way Johnny Foreigner have been managing to do on these shores recently, while the experimental beat-pop of 'Painting Ape' could easily be the best thing Damon Albarn hasn't written this century. Elsewhere, the awkward piano-led minimalist eroto-pop of 'STRONG' manages to rival The Ruby Suns for eclectic grandeur, throwing surprise after surprise at free will while 'Construction Worker, where Grassia takes the lead vocal, mixes Breeders cool with Nada Surf complexity.

All in all, forget about the influences if you can for one second, as The Golden Dogs clearly know how to utilise all the main ingredients in one smouldering cauldron. Having already wowed South-by-Southwest and Great Escape audiences earlier this year, Big Eye Little Eye will almost certainly endear them to the rest of us not quite fortunate enough to have witnessed them in the flesh thus far.

Canada, you have spoilt us once again.

8/10 - Drowned In Sound

"Eye Magazine, Canadian Live Review"

Finally The Golden Dogs hit the stage, ripping through three tracks off 2006’s Big Eye Little Eye to start the show. These Toronto locals have played a smattering of gigs around town over the past few months to try out new material. But that hasn’t stopped the band — particularly keyboardist Jessica Grassia-Azzolini — from playing like 10-year olds hopped up on pop-rocks and Coke. Her face was hidden under a thick mane of brown hair for most of the show as she bopped along with each new tune, stopping only briefly to throw her formidable background vocals into the mix.

The half a dozen new tunes the Dogs dropped into their set show the band continuing to develop their propulsive power-pop sound. (The songs) are strong enough to stand next to the band’s best work and were enthusiastically greeted by the crowd. After exhausting their catalogue and themselves, the band left the stage having reminded everyone how much you can do with a little heart and some great tunes.

- Eye Magazine

", Australian Album Review"

Canadian pop/rock band The Golden Dogs have produced a cracker of a pop record. The Golden Dogs make no bones about the fact that one of their biggest influences is Brian Wilson and by just one listen, you can tell. The Toronto five-some churn out twelve beautifully crafted and energetic pop songs that could well sit on any Arcade Fire or Paul McCartney album.


"Better Living Through MP3 Blog, U.S. Album Review"

Doggie Style Gone Wild

I wanna be your dog: Great rock 'n' roll is supposed to make you cry and wail, boogie and blast, and generally lose yourself in something approaching religious conversion. When's the last time music gave you that? Toronto's the Golden Dogs may be the next rock 'n' roll saviors to make that significant spiritual/cosmic/heathen mark. Already a fixture on Canada's MuchMusic after smashing through CMJ's top 20 in ‘06, the Golden Dogs combine magnificent melodies and sublime vocal hooks with exuberant, high quality rock 'n' roll riffage. Think the New Pornographers with Lemmy on bass and Animal on drums. The Flaming Lips fixated on the Runaways and Squeeze. 10CC, Graham Parker, Tiny Tim.

The 12 songs on the Golden Dogs' sophomore effort, Big Eye Little Eye, are nearly perfect distillations of rock 'n' roll effervescence. As with most smalltown heroes destined for big world status, Golden Dogs singer/songwriter Dave Azzolini will soon be lunching with Beck and David Geffen, signing autographs and cooking up flexible multi-tiered strategies. But for now, the little people have the band to themselves. And what a secret treat that is. We all love to feel like we are on the ground floor of greatness--here's your chance to lead the local parade.

Opener "Dynamo" is a ragefest of ripping guitar and skull-shattering drums, gleeful barroom piano underpinning a shouted Ramones style chorus. "Never Meant Any Harm" brings it down with Caribbean flavored keys and cool two step allure. We get sweet bitch-slapped in "Construction Worker," with vocal contributions by Dave's missus, Jessica Grassia. "Saints At The Gates" is Azzolini's idea of a Paul McCartney tribute, the hirsute Canuck singing the street punk chorus not as himself, but as a gang of Tom Waits impersonators. Hmmm. More transparent is the Golden Dogs' cover of Macca's "Nineteen Hundred And Eighty-Five," B-side of the classic "Band On The Run." Framed with golden electric piano, perfect Wings' style vocal harmonies and a glorious untidiness, the track puts us in mind of Slade, Brownsville Station and Thin Lizzy! Azzolini yelps like a mad puppy in the robo beating "Runouttaluck," the band plays the mood funky cheeky in "Strong," then mashes up mariachi trumpets, Keith Moon drums and A Hard Day's Night harmonies in "Force Of Nature."

The Golden Dogs curry favor with classic style and contemporary cred. Please shake your poodle.

- Ken Micallef

- Yahoo

"Detour Magazine, U.S. Album Review"

Detour Magazine has it's Eye on The Golden Dogs

You might see the Golden Dogs referenced as yet another "Canadian indie rock collective." Don't be fooled! The band hardly sounds like fellow Canuck indie armies Arcade Fire or Broken Social Scene. They're more poppy, less intricate, less epic and therefore a lot more fun.

The husband and wife team of Dave Azzolini (guitar, vocals) and Jessica Grassia (keys, vocals) anchor the bundle of post-punk noisemakers, and Big Eye Little Eye, their second album, is a furious, intense, and raucous romp through indie rock's underbelly. All 12 songs have enough bounce and fun to bring a smile to even the most curmudgeonly and bearded of genre connoisseurs.

"Construction worker, will it ever be done?" Grassia sings sweetly on "Construction Worker," an anthem for anyone who has ever had a staring contest with the road worker wielding the "SLOW-STOP" sign. On "Saints at the Gate," Azzolini presents a march reminiscent of Issac Brock and Modest Mouse, but with only half the snarl. The five-minute "Painting Ape" swells into a bouncy, keyboard-driven riot before quieting into one of the record's sweetest moments, and the Dogs' cover of Paul McCartney and Wings jam "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five" is also worth a listen.

Azzolini and Grassia compose unorthodox pop numbers that are infectious without being obnoxious and poppy without being tedious. "Great. What does it mean to be great?" Azzolini asks on "Painting Ape." For the Golden Dogs, it just means being themselves.

- Natalie B. David
- Detour Magazine

"I Heart Music, Hottest Bands In Canada"

The Golden Dogs uncross arms and remove hands from pockets in mere seconds, and their destructive live show is a marvel of nature: it's the only place I know of where you can see a man completely sweat through a suit jacket on a nightly basis. - I Heart Music

"Pop Matters, U.S. Album Review"

There are bands who sound best on record and bands who sound best live. Listening to the Golden Dogs sophomore effort, Big Eye Little Eye, you can't help but think the Toronto quintet is one of the ones who sound best live. They've made their name in their home and native land thanks to the sweat-fueled pop music rampages they call live shows-and even with the release of this very same record north of the border last year, it seems that it's still those live shows that everyone wants to talk about when they talk about the Golden Dogs.

Now, we all know that plenty of bands have tried to capture that kind of live energy on record before - and failed miserably. Playing a show and recording an album are practically two entirely different art forms, arguably as different as, say, theater and film. Just because you know how to put on a great show is no guarantee that you'll be able to translate those same songs onto disc - and it makes for the greatest challenge Big Eye Little Eye faces. So it's not surprising that the album's best tracks are the ones that most successfully accomplish that feat. Lucky for us, for most of the record's forty-minute running time, the songs come fast and furious.

One song after the other has a tight but gritty feel that has the Golden Dogs sounding as if they could have been recorded right off the stage of one of the dimly lit Toronto bars where they have cut their teeth. The fourth track, "Saints at the Gates", leads the charge. It's a dark, raunchy take on the ubiquitous spiritual "When the Saints Go Marching In", reworked to make it an original tune about the joys of, you guessed it, playing live. The heavy stomp of Taylor Knox's drums mix with salon-style piano and distorted guitars. Horns wail in the distance. A crunchy bass drives things forward and Dave Azzolini's vocal leads a full-out sing-a-long chorus for the catchy refrain. Without ever even having seen the band live, you can tell that it's the kind of song that would tear the roof off any venue in any city on the continent. A few songs later, they're back at it with a rollicking cover of the Wings b-side "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five".

If you're a fan of raucous, raunchy indie rock records, then Big Eye Little Eye is the album for you. If not, keep your eye on your local club listings; if this album is any indication, their live show is something that no one would want to miss.
- Pop Matters

"Exclaim Magazine, Canadian Album Review"

Deservedly well known for their celebratory live shows, Toronto's The Golden Dogs somehow manage to capture the energy of those sweat-soaked performances on their second full-length effort, Big Eye Little Eye. Much like it's predecessor, 2004's Everything in 3 Parts, it's an infectiously eclectic pop gem bursting at the seams with catchy tunes to spare. Expect to experience frustration by attempting to sit still during the bouncy electro pop of "Never Meant Any Harm", the Sloan-esque cover of Wings' "1985" or the high-energy stomp of an album opener "Dynamo". Elsewhere, the band's lively pop favourably recalls the New Pornographers, particularly on "Runouttaluck" and the horn-inflected album highlight, "Force of Nature", both of which showcase the band's inherent songwriting smarts and soaring boy/girl harmonies to generally thrilling effect."

- Neil McDonald - Exclaim Magazine

"Chart Magazine, Canadian Album Review"

Every major Canadian act seems to have a slightly narrow niche these days. Broken Social Scene are the passionate indie rockers, The New Pornographers are peppy yet oddly winsome, and Arcade Fire are doing the lush, emotive orchestral pop thing. That's why it's nice to have The Golden Dogs, who are really just fucking fun. Their sophomore record features 12 tracks that are positively bursting at the seams with energy, feeling and catchy melodies. Frontman Dave Azzolini and wife/keyboardist Jessica Grassia's infectious enthusiasm is so positively phenomenal, you can't help but smile every time their songs explode through your stereo. With all of the country's indie heavyweights taking the year off, Big Eye Little Eye is poised to stand up as the best Canadian record of 2006.

- Noah Love - Chart Magazine

"Ottawa Xpress, Canadian Album Review"

The Golden Dogs don't simply beat the sophomore jinx on album number two - they leave it a bloodied heap in the corner of the ring after delivering 12 solid rounds of unyielding pop-injected rock. The Dogs come out swinging like an obsessed superhero on Dynamo, and they don't slow down as they soar through tunes that drill themselves into your consciousness. It's the combination of catchy melodies, grinding guitars and edgy vocal harmonies that make songs like Run Outta Luck and Strong such standouts. It's obvious that the Dogs had more time to work on this album, as little touches like the Casio on Never Meant Any Harm and the horns on the marching tune Saints at the Gates add to the fun. And Jessica Grassia's lead vocals on Construction Worker clearly indicate she's ready to take the singing helm from Dave Azzollini a little more on album number three. But that's getting ahead of ourselves.

- Joe Reilly - Ottawa Xpress


2004 - Everything In 3 Parts - True North Records (CAN))
2006 - Big Eye Little Eye - True North Records (CAN)
2007 - Big Eye Little Eye - Yep Roc Records (US)
2008 - Big Eye Little Eye - Kurofune Records (Japan)
2008 - Construction Worker/ Lester 7" Single True North Records (US)
2010 - Coat Of Arms - Nevado Records (CAN)
2011 - Coat Of Arms - Dine Alone Records (US)



After the release of their third critically acclaimed album Coat of Arms, The Golden Dogs were at the tail end of an exhaustive touring schedule and facing the departure of their long-standing drummer. They were ready to give up.

“Not long after the last show, we sold the van and started contemplating our musical existence. Classic story,” says Dave Azzolini (vocals, guitar).

Along with his wife and fellow Golden Dogs leader, Jessica Grassia (vocals, drums), the prolific duo who maintained the core of the group’s striking brand of high-energy, smart power pop suddenly found themselves in a sort of musical limbo.

In 2012, the couple moved into an apartment on top of their Toronto-based studio, Ill Eagle, and slowly began to work away at new material – experimenting, demoing, and even tossing around new bands names. Trusting in the magnetic and infectious chemistry they share, both on stage and off, Azzolini and Grassia spent years working towards something new. That process also saw Grassia move away from the keys to the kit and the eventual addition of two new members: Stefanie McCarrol (keys, guitar) and Alejandro Cairncross (bass).

The lineup change injected new life into the Golden Dogs.

“Music became fun again and we were proud to be back on the scene playing songs with the same fierce love that we had done for years before,” says Azzolini.

In the whirlwind of this renewed enthusiasm the band is set to release their new album 3 ½ - an unrelentingly catchy, raw and radically diverse set of tracks. Largely mixed at Sloan’s studio byZeus’ Carlin Nicholson, and featuring a track recorded live off the floor with Joao Carvalho atRevolution Recording (“Decided”), the album is super-charged and invigorating, new, yet refreshingly familiar. Arguably at their most mature and inventive, the Golden Dogs continue to deliver their token high-energy sweaty fist-pumps, hypnotic kick drums and guttural yells – the kind of triumphant power pop that has helped the band cement their cult-like status within the ranks of the Canadian music scene.

Band Members