A conversation with local band Dogs in Stereo frontman Joe Cardina

Buffalo indie-rock group vocalist talks new EP, tour and dogs with mono

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Thursday night’s concert at Mohawk Place was an eclectic showing of independent artists.

Pittsburgh’s Flower Crown, Brooklyn’s Stairwell H, Ontario’s Mononegatives and Buffalo’s Alpha Hopper came together to support the show’s headlining act –– Buffalo’s indie rock band Dogs in Stereo, which was celebrating the release of its new EP “Idle” by performing it live in its entirety.

The band sold “Idle” on cassette at the show but independently released the album officially on streaming platforms Friday. 

Led by songwriter, guitarist and vocalist Joe Cardina, Dogs in Stereo expanded upon its gloomy, indie-rock sound since its first release “I Peaked in ‘07”, in 2017. “Idle,” while retaining the lo-fi and nonchalant qualities that defines Dogs in Stereo, features a newfound clear, refined and energetic sound. 

Before Cardina and his band took the stage at Buffalo’s Mohawk Place Thursday, we discussed “Idle,” Cardina’s influences and whether or not dogs can get mono.

The interview, lightly edited for style and length, follows below:

The Spectrum: This show is the first stop on your tour with Pittsburgh’s Flower Crown. How did you two link up and book these shows together?

Joe Cardina: We met in Fredonia [New York] back when Richie [of Flower Crown] was in the Erie [PA] band Frame and Mantle. They would come out to Fredonia from Erie to play shows, and I shot a video for them in 2015. We’ve just been online friends ever since. We played a show together in New York City a few years ago. It’s just been an ongoing thing and we’ve always stayed in touch.

TS: You recently put out a music video for your song “Traffic Circles.” Could you talk about the process of recording the video and where the video’s party theme came from?

C: I’ve had this idea in my head about making a sad birthday party thing and that was sort of the theme we went around. Shauna Presto made it, she does a lot of stuff with bands around here. Me and Shauna met the night before and sort of just came up with a bunch of sketches and a loose storyline. Then we just made it happen. It was filmed in the beginning of summer too, on the first hot day of the year. So it was like 85 degrees in a room with 20 people making up a dance and everything. It was a little weird. 

TS: What is your opinion on dogs in mono as opposed to Dogs in Stereo?

C: I don’t know, stereo is cool, you can do a lot with it. It’s better than mono the disease, too. I don’t even know if dogs can get mono, though. But it wouldn’t be that weird because dogs are always licking people’s faces all the time. It’s kind of just on the dog at that point, you know? 

TS: What are you most proud of with “Idle?”

C: I finally have six songs where I like all of them. Most of the other stuff online is, I don’t want to say it’s up just to be up, but it sort of is. I’m finally happy with these songs. They mean something to me and I’m confident they could mean something to someone else. 

TS: If someone never heard Dogs in Stereo before, what would you want them to know before listening to “Idle”? 

C: Don’t expect the happiest music in the world. 

The arts desk can be reached at arts@ubspectrum.com.