Listening Booth: Two Dog Garage, “Pinboy”

Written by Listening Booth, Music

Two Dog Garage – Pinboy
purchase this album (MySpace)

Two Dog Garage is Alex Kimmell, a Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter who’s spent his career to date doing the usual 21st-century singer/songwriter stuff, i.e. hearing his songs in movies and on television rather than the radio. Two Dog Garage, his “band” project, is a labor of love — in his introductory e-mail, Kimmell had me at “I recorded this in my closet while my wife and kid were asleep” — and although I’m sure not even Kimmell is enough of a wishful thinker to envision vast commercial horizons for Pinboy, he should take a small amount of consolation in knowing that, in a better world, this album would spin off at least one medium-sized hit.

The songs themselves don’t break any new ground, even in the rather exhaustively defined context of the genre, but they’re catchy and extremely well-written; fans of mid-’90s alt-pop by acts such as Counting Crows and Gin Blossoms should find a lot to love in these nine songs. Kimmell also did a tremendous job of engineering and producing the album, particularly considering its homebrewed origins; the line between his live and programmed drums isn’t as jagged as you’d expect, and everything has a warm, nicely rounded feel.

Kimmell doesn’t, ahem, bowl a strike with every song, but he comes close often enough to justify a purchase for anyone with a weakness for melody and a fondness for lyrics about real-life concerns. My favorite track is the aching, mandolin-laced “Everything Happens to Me” (download), but there really isn’t a bad song in the bunch. Stop by the Two Dog Garage MySpace page to hear more.