Orange Dog Club, the Buffalo-based musical project of UB student Tim Turner, visited The Spectrum’s newsroom last week for an intimate performance of stripped-down, guitar-driven indie rock.
The trio, also featuring bassist Quinn Petkus and drummer Matt Reesor, performed special arrangements of three of the band’s own original songs: “Give Me My Money,” “Feel Inside” and their newest single, “Untitled,” which will be released Friday.
Turner, a junior computing and applied math major, started writing and producing music out of his bedroom in Caledonia, New York as a teenager. The project eventually turned into a full-fledged band with a rotating lineup of musicians, some in Buffalo and some back in his hometown.
The Buffalo iteration of the band played their first gig at a talent show for UB’s Filipino American Student Association last November — before they had even decided on a name for the group.
“We went up without a band name, a song name, or anything,” Turner said. “Then we realized we were probably gonna place somewhere in the talent show, and we were like ‘s—-t.’”
The band had to think on their feet, so they resorted to a random band name generator. Orange Dog Club was officially born.
The group has played other shows here and there, one at SUNY Fredonia and another for Late Night at UB. They’re just getting started with live performances. But given the musical chemistry between the members of the band, it seems like they’ve been performing together forever.
The group opened their performance for The Spectrum with the sardonic track “Give Me My Money,” a single that has racked up over 100,000 streams on Spotify since its release in December.
“Why do you give your peace to some guy who doesn’t wash his sheets?” Turner sang over an upbeat garage rock instrumental.
“I hate talking about it because it sounds so f—king pretentious,” Turner said of the song’s meaning. “But it’s like a critique of money-hungry people.”
These days, Turner counts acts like The Strokes and Car Seat Headrest as his primary influences, but the multi-instrumentalist describes his early songs as “angsty teenager type of stuff” inspired by 90s alternative. Though Turner’s music has matured since then, he still finds ways to revamp some of that early material.
“[The early songs were] very much like Nirvana rip offs,” Turner said. “‘Feel Inside,’ I wrote the chords for that when I was 14, but it was like a grunge song. So it sounded nothing like this. There are some things I’ll reuse… Not everything’s terrible, but a lot of it is pretty terrible.”
The studio version of “Feel Inside” has that classic, distorted indie rock feel, with Turner putting on his best Julian Casablancas-esque rasp. But the arrangement they performed in the office is something else entirely. Turner and his bandmates call it the “Latin version” of the track, but it could pass for reggae with its bouncy rhythm section and clean, bright guitar.
The band slowed it down with an as-yet unreleased (and unnamed) track, “Untitled.” Turner calls the lyrics abstract and impersonal.
“It’s about your soulmate dying at a young age,” Turner explained. “It didn’t happen to me… I could be manifesting something terrible, though.”
The song starts out as a relatively soft ballad, but builds in volume to a dramatic peak. It was a fitting closer for the set, as the track spotlights each member of the band’s musicality: Petkus’ steady six-string bass riffs, Reesor’s intricate drum fills and a bluesy guitar solo from Turner as the song’s grand finale.
The future of Orange Dog Club is relatively uncertain, but Turner looks forward to releasing a possible EP later this year.
“We’re not there yet, but I think we will be,” Turner said.
Turner says the band is not quite ready to tour just yet, and is instead focusing on racking up a steady fanbase. But they have some local shows lined up, including one at Buffalo’s Mohawk Place this summer.
“I’d like to take it as far as it’ll take me,” Turner said. “I believe in us. I believe in the things I write… hopefully we just keep getting better.”
Meret Kelsey is the senior arts editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Meret Kelsey is an assistant arts editor at The Spectrum.