PLAYLIST: Dogleg’s Formative Punk, Emo, and Post-Hardcore Tracks

Alex Stoitsiadis shares a handful of songs that influenced his band’s hectic punk sounds.

Dogleg have taken it upon themselves to provide the official soundtrack to 2020 with their chaotic, anxiety-laced debut punk record Melee, which officially dropped earlier this month. Early singles “Fox” and “Kawasaki Backflip”—not to mention their wild videos—encapsulated the intense frustration and sadness many of us carried over from a rough 2019, while the remaining eight tracks happened to debut in the midst of a particularly enraging humanitarian crisis plaguing the world (not to mention the U.S. healthcare system and Dogleg’s home state of Michigan’s relationship with our country’s remarkably incompetent elected leader). 

As much as it sucks living in a timeline without a full Melee tour (yet), it’s certainly plenty of consolation to have thirty-six minutes worth of melodic post-hardcore to try not to wreck shit to in our garages. Having had a few days to digest the full track list, we asked vocalist Alex Stoitsiadis to share a few of the formative punk, emo, and post-hardcore tracks that inspired the direction Dogleg wound up taking. From an early Trail of Dead cut and a pre-Death from Above project, to the downcast sounds of Broadcast, to obscure Bandcamp finds, read about Alex’s picks below.

Melee is out now via Triple Crown Records. You can order it here.

1. 125 Rue Montmartre, “Disco Hijack” 

Found this German indie emo punk band on a YouTube searching spree and it blew my mind. The vocal delivery is extremely interesting and the loud-quiet-loud of the song is super impassioned.

2. Gang of Four, “Guns Before Butter” 

If you ever want to know how to play guitar rhythmically, Gang of Four’s first two records should be your first lesson. Andy Gill turned that thing into a weapon.

3. Ceremony, “Living Hell”

Here’s what I like to yell when I’m fucking angry. Fuck.

4. Sunny Day Real Estate, “Pillars” 

And here’s what I like to sing when I’m really sad. The first time I heard this, that chorus hit me like a freight train, and then doubled down on the post-chorus. A lesson in dynamic emotional songwriting for sure.

5. Polvo, “Fast Canoe”

I really loved noise rock in middle/high school when I found Sonic Youth, and honestly Polvo was a huge gateway drug into weird mathy structures and the term “off-kilter” being used for a song.

6. Crash of Rhinos, “Gold on Red” 

This album changed my life entirely. This song changed my entire perception on punk and dynamics and how the two can work in tandem. Masterpiece.

7. Mannequin Pussy, “Drunk I”

Though it’s the shortest song on Patience, I absolutely love when they go off the rails on the delivery of this song. The whole record is so powerful in the same way and I love it.

8. …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, “Mistakes and Regrets”

This album and Source Tags absolutely bridged that gap between noise rock and punk for me when I first heard them. That explosive verse (maybe it’s a chorus?) knocked me straight on my ass.

9. Cloud Nothings, “Wasted Days” 

A lesson in keeping raw anger and self doubt going for 9 minutes. Also my usual drum workout. First time I heard this in high school I never felt so connected to an idea of “not being enough” in an impassioned way.

10. Broadcast, “I Found the F”

I love how this album combines these French sounding synth lines and ethereal vocal delivery with some indie rock guitar. Definitely scratches that chill ’00s indie need.

11. Femme Fatale, “Party Tonight” 

Canadian screamo-adjacent speed rock. Pre-DFA1979 Jesse Keeler. This album is thirteen minutes of intense thrash and I am here for all of it.

12. Big Thief, “Betsy”

Big Thief has a way of making me feel sad over stuff that never happened. I love this quieter cut for the patient, tense sadness—but “Not” also hits me hard every time Adrienne lets out a good howl. 

13. North of America, “Four Pascals” 

Found this band on a good Bandcamp search for weird noise rock, and this first EP they put out blew me away. A lovechild of Polvo’s weird weaving guitar lines, Pavement’s slacker-chic delivery, with a bit more force and yelling. Love it.

14. XTC, “When You’re Near Me I Have Difficulty” 

XTC was definitely one of those bands that I always enjoyed for the way they played with pop music. They definitely pushed the boundaries into weird campy fun that never seemed too forced. Always fun and energetic and catchy as hell.

15. Hop Along, “The Knock”

I love, love, love, love Francis’ voice so much. It adds an entirely new element to every song, and on top of that the song itself is enjoyable as heck. Those weaving guitar lines and little rhythm switch-ups get me every time.

16. Late of the Pier, “Focker”

I feel like I discovered this album way too late because high school Alex would have absolutely eaten this up. British kids making genre-undefinable indie-pop-rock-punk-rave-what-have-you. Love the ravey breakdown at the end and the extremely impassioned vocals throughout.

17. Mock Orange, “We Work” 

One of the most technical ’90s emo records I’ve ever heard. Guitar interplay is exceptional, the drummer who is apparently a speedy octopus also sings at the same time, and the song structures are tightened up to pinpoint precision.

18. Bear Vs. Shark, “Kylie”

I never knew a punk song could make me cry until I heard this for the first time. Absolutely changed my entire outlook on how emotional messages can and should be delivered—with extreme volume, tension, and overwhelming anxiety. Laying out every emotion as it should be. I’ve seen the boat and it seemed to be sinking.

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