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sundogsarah: ‘The Best of sundogsarah 2012-2022’

A dream-like listen with grainy, lo-fi pop songs that offer more each time you hit play

sundogsarah's music from the past decade has been compiled into a "Best of."

J. Hubner

Whatzup Features Writer

Published January 11, 2023

So who is sundogsarah? Well, up until a couple weeks ago, I had no idea. But it seems that sundogsarah is the DIY musical project of Fort Wayne singer-songwriter Sarah Smith. 

It’s also worth mentioning that she just released a best of collection with Beet Fat Records titled The Best of sundogsarah 2012-2022. So sundogsarah has been around for a decade now, and after listening to this best-of set, I’d say she could be around for another decade easily.

The Best Of consists of 12 songs culled from various singles and EPs Sarah Smith has released via her Bandcamp and SoundCloud pages, starting with “Luxury Motel” in 2012 and spanning a decade of lo-fi vibes, folksy tunes, and stacked harmonies that feel both lived-in and emotionally engaging.

Smith seems to pull inspiration and influence from all directions. There are touches of St. Vincent, Sparklehorse, and even early Liz Phair, but nothing on this collection screams out any of those specifically. I can also hear the spirit of Sufjan Stevens and even The Walkmen in these songs (but that’s just me). More so, I can hear the spirit of exploration of those artists come through in these tracks. Lo-fi electronics, guitar, and a sort of bedroom pop aesthetic that comes through on tracks like “nylons” and “like a secret,” with grainy beats and electric piano that accompany Smith’s sublime, dreamy vocals. Early ’90s college rock intermingles with 2000s indie.

“tired of being the good one” is a little off-kilter, keys-driven song that sounds like it could’ve come out of the early ’70s with its Brill Building pop melodies, while at the same time sounding very of it’s own as well. It’s the kind of song you wake up from a dream humming and wonder whether it’s a real song or one that came straight from REM sleep. “SOPHIE, still ascending” is just plain gorgeous. It’s like a prayer, but not to God. Just a whisper to the universe to say, “Hey, I’m still here. Thanks.”

I still don’t know a whole lot about Smith, but she’s shared all she needs to share with me in the songs of sundogsarah. The Best of Sundogsarah 2012-2022 is a dream-like listen with grainy, lo-fi pop songs that offer more each time you hit play. 

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