Annette Brown, Lifetime The story of June Carter Cash comes to life in the…
- Posted on Oct 7th 2009 4:00PM by Justin Jacobs
The songs he's speaking of, in particular, are the handful that Dr. Dog is currently mixing into what will become their fifth proper album, 'Shame, Shame.' To the band's fans, that weird flair is the band's biggest draw. With bouncy, skip-along basslines, floating harmonies, frequent sleigh bells and a lyrical obsession with all things old and beautiful, Dr. Dog is unafraid to emanate good vibes in a sea of introspective, often bummed-out indie rock.
"Scott [McMicken, vocals and guitar] and I have been working to structure this record, to give it an arc," says Leaman. "The title track lyrically starts out where you're unsure, you don't even know yourself. You've an inability to make a decision. It starts where you think you're fine completely alone, but by the end you realize -- shame, shame -- you didn't even know what was out there."
The idea of embarking on a journey, mentally or physically, is a theme that's carried through each of Dr. Dog's albums. On 'The Breeze,' from last year's 'Fate,' McMicken sings, "The breeze that blows us here today, will blow us all away." Paired with lightly traveling percussion -- and, no doubt, the inclusion of train sounds -- Dr. Dog has created a musical aesthetic that seems to push for constant movement, a sense that no journey is ever over because no one ever truly stops growing or learning.
Maybe it was life imitating art that pushed Dr. Dog to travel out of their Philly studio for the first time to record 'Shame, Shame' in a studio in the woods near Woodstock, N.Y. "The studio was this gorgeous, old church, and we stayed in the rectory for a month, in the woods, just to record," Leaman says.
While the journey to upstate New York birthed the new record, the journey to a new label will afford Dr. Dog new opportunities. After months of deliberation through conversations with four different labels, the band signed with Anti, home of Leaman's hero Tom Waits. The move, though a big step up, isn't the farthest Dr. Dog could've jumped.
"We were really close to signing with Warner Bros. And they were good to us. I didn't feel like they were bulls----ing us. But you could tell that their trajectory for us was to be a huge band right away," says Leaman. "That's not how we see ourselves, at least not suddenly. I mean, if we get there on our own, sure. But, really, I feel like we're just too weird."