4

Small Dog Syndrome: Is There A Doggy Hell? Probably.

^
Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

It's a well-known fact that most band names are essentially gobbledygook, but here at Rocks Off we're trying hard to find meaning in the oddest monikers.

It's been a while since your nomenclature specialist had a good name to tackle a juicy band name. We've been up in the Himalayans learning ancient Buddhist secrets of... sorry, we meant to say Batman: Arkham City came out. Suddenly music journalism seemed meaningless next to screaming, "I am the night!" at the TV while punching Joker.

So who is this group that roused us from hibernation?

Experimental ska band Small Dog Syndrome, that's who. We didn't really know how much you could experiment with ska beyond making it all about Jesus and loading your name up with religious puns. Small Dog Syndrome, though, does some rather interesting things with the genre.

They're more on the punk side of ska than swing, and by that we mean that they have no full-time horn section. Singer Nortnii sounds like she's eight years old, and for all we know, she may be.

The songs are fast and vulgar, mostly anti-parent, fuck-filled riots. Yet there really is some fascinating twists in the performances such as the almost Elfman-esque keyboarding in "Las Gaygus" or the acoustic opening of "Small Dog Syndrome" that plays like XTC's "Dear God." It's like Jello Biafra and Eric Cartman collaborated on a music project, and we literally can't tell you if it's a masterpiece or cause for counseling.

That name though... Small Dog Syndrome? What the hell does that mean?

Dogs are dogs, right? It's not like there's some kind of Chihuahua neurosis that sets them horribly apart from Great Danes. Oh wait, there's totally some kind of Chihuahua neurosis that sets them horribly apart from Great Danes, and yes, it's called Small Dog Syndrome.

Surely you've noticed how some people's little dog's can be yippy little dictators, snapping, blocking your path, and otherwise not acting like you couldn't punt them 50 yards if you were the dickheads they were being? Well, there's actually a brilliant, and at the same time stupid, explanation for this.

If you own a German Shepherd and it jumps up on people, you have to get that stuff under control, because a hyperactive German Shepherd can probably hurt someone. However, when a Min Pin does the same thing, we act like it's adorable and don't bother because, again, they're tiny and can't hurt us.

What happens though is that you're reinforcing in the mind of the small dog that they are in charge, and to them it doesn't really matter that you are 10 times their size and that this game of dominance can be won with an overturned laundry basket and a dictionary.

"It started with naming a song that, but before the band name became Small Dog Syndrom, the song is originally about a person who attempts to dominate others, as well as being snippy and stubborn," says Nortnii via email. "We kind of decided to make it our band name because it just fits."

Well, they certainly seem to be scrappy little folk. As we mentioned most of the tracks we've heard from them take the concepts of peace, love, and understanding and draw dicks all over its face when it's sleeping.

Yet in heraldry, dogs are supposed to represent loyalty, courage and vigilance, not viciousness like tigers do. Before pronouncing final judgment, we decided to ask Nortnii the ultimate question to determine the depths of someone's malice... or whether they're Homer Simpson.

"Is there a doggy hell?" we queried.

"Ha ha! Probably," she answered.

FINAL DEFINITION

Small Dog Syndrome: (n) 1. A tendency of small dogs to believe themselves to be dominate to the humans they live with; 2. An experimental ska band; 3. Doggy hell.

Small Dog Syndrome plays Scout Bar Friday, February 17, with From Guts to Glory, Six Gun Sound and Abolition Formula.


Follow Rocks Off on Facebook and on Twitter at @HPRocksOff.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.