By Brittany Rudyck
EDMONTON – Feed Dogs guitarist and vocalist Corby Burnett is fabulous at delightful at holistic conversations that include gardening tips alongside inspiring tidbits for newly minted bands. Her refreshingly relaxed attitude toward her almost four-year-old post punk band born of Not Enough Fest may not have always been so relaxed. A former organizer of NEF, she spoke highly of the experience, but also the toll it took on those who worked feverishly to maintain it for two thriving years.
“The first year was hard. It was incredibly intensive,” Burnett openly admits. “I started the second year and I realized I couldn’t commit the time or the energy at all. A few other organizers dropped out as well. We burned the fuck out. I had heard about burn out before and never experienced it. It’s real.”
In spite of exhaustion, Feed Dogs played their first show at the second NEF in 2014 and are now releasing their first EP Bless This Mess, a darker look into the inner world of Burnett and her sister Stacy, who also plays guitar and sings in the group.
The EP focuses on themes of trauma and abuse through a distorted, gritty lens, something the Burnett sisters created together.
“We share the writing of the vocals as well as the vocal parts,” explains Corby. “The lyrics come from personal trauma in our shared childhood experience and a particular kind of feminine pain. But, there is also resilience. That comes forward in the title of the EP I think. We can talk about these things together and accept what it is.”
While there is still a slight tinge of pop punk in the noisier leaning EP, the band has grown considerably since forming. Their songs are dense and driving, with plenty of high guitar leads and shout-along segments. The layers of distortion and imperfect garage-rock instrumentals not only show a level of comfort with each other as artists, but patience and emotional vulnerability.
The Burnett’s vocals are strained in moments and serve as raw, potent ammunition to express the pain of the feminine in all its glory, wrapped in some mischief for good measure. It’s a delicate balance to approach themes like trauma and relationship violence, but Feed Dogs manage to craft a sound that is both heavy in its emotional content while maintaining a sense of lightness through the instrumentals.
“It’s not a polished thing,” Burnett says with a grin.
“We don’t hold each other to this like it’s our job. I hesitate to even call myself a musician. We know we’re not pros and like to embrace the messiness. So it’s slow going, but it’s fun that way.”
For all Feed Dogs do for inclusivity in Edmonton’s scene, they certainly deserve a little fun along the way.
Bless This Mess is out now at feeddogs.bandcamp.com/. Watch for a small run of tapes sometime this spring.Bless This Mess, Feed Dogs