Susan Yee


Combining pop sounds with indie rhythm sensibilities and whimsical lyrics, Sacramento band Merdog’s music is something you wouldn’t be surprised to find in a Wes Anderson film. We got together with Cynthia and Aaron, two of the band’s founding members, in the weird windy Spring atmosphere outside Old Soul at Weatherstone to chat Merdogs, dreams, and music. The band’s logo, a literal “merdog”, the upper half of a dog and the lower half of a fish, is the first visually striking thing about this band and was drawn up by Cynthia for their “Holy Yes” E.P.

We had a really hard time finding a name,” recalls Cynthia. “We didn’t want anything too serious. Merdog is kind of memorable.”

The music itself is memorable as well. It creates an almost dreamy atmosphere; appropriate, Cynthia tells me, as she regularly draws on her dreams for lyrical content.Most of my songs are based on (dreams). I have crazy dreams almost every night. It’s kind of cathartic to me. When I wake up, I’ll make notes on my iPhone. I kind of look at the notes I took from the dream and just try to put myself back in it. Weirdly, they’re like almost all these post-apocalyptic scenarios; it’s kind of like a movie.”

The band’s latest lyrical content, following “Holy Yes”, draws even more heavily on dream imagery. Though nothing is recorded as yet, Merdog has several songs written and hopes to release the follow up to their E.P. later this year. When it comes to the music, Aaron and Cynthia bandy concepts back and forth during the creative process, drawing not only from dreams but from contemporary indie artists.

Aaron tells me, “I like a lot of ambient, sometimes instrumental, music. From Indian Lakes, This Will Destroy You…”

Cynthia adds, “Anything really melodic. Growing up, I was really into the Cranberries and Radiohead.

These influences are apparent along with the singular voice that Merdog has created for themselves. The layers of sound and structure on “Holy Yes” almost make me think of a time-traveling Death Cab For Cutie, having picked up some influences after a stopover in the jazz clubs of the 1940’s, rocketed back up through the late  90’s indie pop scene, grabbed some new sounds from a few years in the future, and then went back to 2015 (yes, much like Marty McFly). The alchemical infusion of influences, along with their unique take on lyrics and the specific sound they bring to Sacramento’s music scene, are what makes this band so interesting. Merdog is definitely a welcome addition to Sacramento’s music scene.

Cynthia says,

“I think Sacramento is one of the best places to be an artist right now. It’s almost like a mini-renaissance is happening here. There are a lot of new venues opening up.”

Aaron agrees, “I feel like there’s more to do now. There’s more opportunity.”

Here’s are some of our favorite tracks, and get more info here:


Photos | Susan Yee