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Lou Dog, High Speed Secrets (Home Brew Jams)
Philadelphia-based indie rocker Lou Dog's latest, the five-track EP High Speed Secrets, is exactly as shaggy dog-friendly as his stage name would suggest. Intended as an appetizer to the forthcoming LP, 61 Old Depot, and recorded at the same time as the full length, High Speed Secrets isn't just the chaff from that session. Opener "Strangled by the Same" may be the best of the (small) bunch, with its perfect balance of Lou Dog's raspy vocals and his roots-rocky guitar (he played every instrument on the album), but there's no weak link in the chain, either. The titular track is, of course, slower and half-sung, but it lets Dog's beat lyrics shine through: "Most of the time I feel illegally parked" -- and it namechecks Joe Strummer's 1989 Earthquake Weather. "She's Like the Sea" favorably calls to mind Beck and features the watery guitar that is de rigeur in any water-themed song. Along those lines, album closer "Why Don't You Call Me" ends with a telephone busy signal; no one will accuse Lou Dog of excessive subtlety. Five songs aren't enough to get a full indication of Lou Dog's abilities -- though tracking down his 2002 debut Slowly Drifting might help -- but if this Fall's 61 Old Depot fulfills the promise laid down by High Speed Secrets, then indie-rock roots rocks fans will have reason to rejoice.