hypersensitive lpHypersensitive – The DoGs (Heavy Medication Records)

Here are two truisms: Life is full of great bands that you’ve heard of but never heard. Hindsight is fantastic because it lets you make up for what you missed the first time around.

This album by the Los Angeles-via-Detroit trio (not to be confused with the French band of the same name) came out on CD in 2002. If you missed it, you’re excused because it didn’t have massive distribution. It re-appearance as a vinyl LP on Heavy Medication is your chance to make amends.

The DoGs grew up in Michigan in the late ‘60s – outside the axis of Detroit and Ann Arbor, it must be said – and were on undercards to bands like the MC5 and the Stooges. They made the move from Lansing to the Motor City as its place in the rock and roll firmament began to decline.

A shift to New York City in ’74 preceded relocation to Los Angeles at the cusp of that city’s awakening to the punk rock thing. Oh, and there was a stint in the UK as well. Talk about being upwardly mobile! 

Equally hard to pigeon-hole as the Dictators, The DoGs seemed to destined to be more famous in retrospect than they when they were a going concern. The re-appearance of their 1978 single, “Slash Your Face”, on a “Killed By Death” compilation put the name in lights while members were busy with other things. 

A resurgence ensued with recruitment of a new drummer, the appearance of a Dionysus compilation “Fed Up!”, and then two long-players in “Hypersensitive” and the equally hard to find “Suburban Nightmare” (2003). And there was a push by uber-fan Detroit Jack to make them a household name in Japan, that spawned a tour of the Land of the Rising Sun. 

The only other thing you need to know is that the trio of founders Loren Molinare (guitar and vocals) and Mary Kay (bass), along with second generation drummer Tony Matteucci, remains active in LA and by all accounts sound as potent as ever. 

Why take the plunge on this re-issue? Because it’s prime-time, high-energy Detroit rock and roll. Eleven originals and a potent Pagans cover (“Her Name Was Jane”) that wipe the floor with tame kiddy punk and cookie cutter garage rock. 

Lauren Molinare’s visceral guitar and urgent vocal grab you by the throat from the get-go. They work especially well on the title track and “What Goes In Quiet Comes Out Loud”. Mary Kay and Tony Matteucci lock in superbly. Dubious? Cock an ear to the groove on the six-minute-plus tribute to their once home “Motor City Fever”. The DoGs borrow a little from here and there and spit out a tribute to Detroit’s finest that would do Scott Morgan proud. 

“In On The Out” nods to the Five’s “High Time” in its smouldering intensity. The re-make of “Slash Your Face” is suitably primal (and is better recorded). If you’re a Ramones worshipper, you’ll be singing “Punk Rock Holiday” almost as often as “Sheena” or “Rockaway Beach”. 

Needless to say, the LP sounds a notch better than the original CD and as it’s in a limited run of a few hundred it won’t be hanging around for long. Fuck the postage and take the plunge here, and if you’re squeamish there’s a download version on the label Bandcamp.