Listen to Prettiest Pills
Like the album's cloudy cover, Dog Bite's Carpark debut, Velvet Changes, captivates with its prettiness and welcomes return visits thanks to its alluring mysteriousness. The project of Atlanta’s Phil Jones, Dog Bite’s dreamy jangle and confidently composed melodies were initially worked out with an acoustic guitar on the road, while Jones was touring with Washed Out as a keyboardist.
First making music at the end of his high school days, the 23-year-old began Dog Bite after dropping out of the Savannah College of Art and Design. Influenced by the work of J Dilla, Portishead, Caribou, and The Roots, Jones found more inspiration for Velvet Changes in the New Zealand psych-pop of Connan Mockasin and the chilling 1975 film Picnic at Hanging Rock. Using the first half of the movie as a jumping-off point, Jones imagines his own storylines to explain the film’s key dilemma: a group of schoolgirls and their teacher set out for a picnic, only for a part of the group to disappear without an explanation. Velvet Changes may not come to any clear conclusions, but Dog Bite’s wondering will have you curious as well.
In addition to his time with Washed Out, Jones has appeared on a matthewdavid release and produced for Mood Rings and Bosco. As one half of Acid Flashback, he’s crafted tunes for the voice of Karen Jacobs (of Toronto’s Free Kisses). Dog Bite performs live as a four-piece, featuring Jones’ friend Woody Shortridge of fellow Atlanta band Balkans who also helped write the basslines on Velvet Changes. Preceded by self-released tracks and a 7-inch and CD on Young Turks, Velvet Changes favors a fuller sound without the aid of samples. A lyric from the album’s “Native America” seems to summarize the record’s contemporary take on C86-style pop: “I’m running with the clouds and taking everything.”