That Dog with String Accompaniment
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The lineup of the Los Angeles-based indie pop quartet that dog. represented the flowering of a second generation of musical luminaries: singer/guitarist Anna Waronker was the daughter of famed producer and Warner Bros. head Lenny Waronker, while bassist Rachel Haden and her violinist sister, Petra, were two of the triplet daughters born to jazz titan Charlie Haden. Friends since high school, the trio first began playing music together in Waronker's bedroom in the early '90s. Joined by drummer Tony Maxwell in 1992, that dog. issued their debut double 7" on the tiny Magnatone Records, quickly becoming a staple of the L.A. club circuit; a flurry of label interest followed, and the group signed with DGC in 1993. that dog.'s self-titled debut LP appeared in 1994; an energetic and quirky punk-pop effort highlighted by sunny harmonies and the intriguing use of violin and cello, the record became a college radio hit, and the light-hearted video for the lead single "Old Timer" even garnered some MTV airplay. The follow-up, Totally Crushed Out!, was issued a year later; a concept album wittily exploring the teen angst of unrequited love (packaged to recall a Sweet Valley High romance novel), the record marked a significant maturity in Waronker's songwriting, evidenced by tracks like "Ms. Wrong" and "He's Kissing Christian." A planned Waronker solo project was scheduled to follow, but instead, her more pop-oriented material became the basis for the third that dog. record; co-produced by Brad Wood, the stellar Retreat from the Sun appeared in 1997. The band's breakup was announced that September. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
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