In Philadelphia, the release of a new Dr. Dog album is cause for celebration. The hometown heroes have been working together since the late '90s, but the band's founding members and vocalists — Scott McMicken on guitar and Toby Leaman on bass — met in eighth grade. Dr. Dog is influenced by the sounds of the '60s, with a little bit of The Band here, a little bit of The Beach Boys there, and a sprinkling of Nuggets-style psychedelic pop on top. Experimental eight-track underdogs in the Philadelphia music scene until My Morning Jacket's Jim James took the band out on tour, Dr. Dog's members have found a national audience in recent years.
On Dr. Dog's new album, Shame, Shame, the band continues to evolve. For the first time in its career, its members decided to work with an outside producer, Rob Schnapf, who has sat behind the controls for Elliott Smith, Beck, Richard Thompson and others. While some of the sessions were recorded in a studio in Woodstock, N.Y., the band finished the project locally in its Philly studio.
Highlights of the new album include "Unbearable Why," which combines a swinging Motown backbeat with Girl Group-era arrangements and harmonies; "Where'd All the Time Go," a swirling baroque pop song that rivals the work of The Left Banke; and "Later," which rolls along sweetly on "ob-la-di ob-la-da" piano riffs. Dr. Dog knows how to work the pockets, too: The grooves in "I Only Wear Blue" and "Jackie Wants a Black Eye" are wide and rhythmically dextrous. Shame, Shame's crafty guitar lines, distinct piano sound and Band-like harmonies evoke the past, yet sound new at the same time. It's the sound of tomorrow's classic rock today.
Shame, Shame will be released on April 6, but your can hear it here in its entirety here until on April 13. Please leave your thoughts on the album in the comments section below.
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