I had the absolute privilege of finally being able to experience a Dr Dog live show this past Friday after years of building up such an affection for their music. Ever since a friend recommended I check out this psychedelic Beatles/Beach Boys inspired indie rock group 3 years ago, I’ve been hooked. Being able to see them live at one of my favorite LA venues, The Wiltern, was the icing on the cake. Although this was my first time seeing them, I can tell they’ve come a long way since their modest beginnings in the early 2000’s. The intricate lighting design of the stage complimented the music so well throughout the evening and keep the crowd roaring with each new song played, as well as every beloved classic belted. The sound and musicianship of the show was tight and I cannot rave enough about how incredibly gorgeous the vocals of both Toby Leaman and Scott McMickens were. Particularly Leaman, who often times carries the soul and grit of Dr Dog with his on stage presence and singing, blew me away. I’ve been going to live shows for as long as I can remember, and from what I’ve noted over the years, so many things have to come into effect in order for a live show to be successful. The venue has to be conducive for the band, the audience response has to be interchangeable with the bands energy, and most importantly, the band should sound good if not better than the record. All of these expectations were exceeded and then some. If they are EVER in your area, please do yourself a favor and check them out. Not only will you hear amazing music, you will be thoroughly entertained.
- New song, “Bring My Baby Back to Me” is destined to be a new classic. Crowd was loving it, and it sounds just as dreamy and beautiful live.
- They are so wise to close out each show with, “Lonesome”. It feels like you’re in the middle of their jam session. Everybody loves a song that features the audience singing back to them and getting into. If you weren’t already dancing by this time, you definitely were now.
- I love that one of their most widely recognized and popular songs is a COVER. Audience went insane and danced away (as did I 🙂 when they played “Heart it Races”.
Field Music: Commontime
I’ve never met a Field Music album I didn’t like. The English rock duo has released their 6th full length studio album today entitled Commontime, and this may be my favorite of theirs. Listening to this album is like going out to a restaurant with wide range of options on the menu. Upon sampling the dishes, you’re thoroughly delighted because not only do they vary in flavor but they’re absolutely delicious! Both the music and writing for Field Music brothers Peter and Davis Brewis has matured since their emergence as a band back in the early 2000’s. Commontime veers into 60’s psychedelic and makes a hard left turn into R&B/funk territory. No change ever feels abrupt or rushed though. Field Music is known for their finely tuned overlapping harmonies and that’s highlighted on such tracks as, “Disappointed”. The baseline in this song has a distinct flow reminiscent of Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust”. The bass also gets in some good work for one of the best songs on the album, “Don’t You Wanna Know What’s Wrong”. This song is funky and so tight musically, especially the keyboard that chimes in and out as the song fades. Prince praised the albums opening track, “The Noisy Days Are Over” and it seems they’ve paid homage to him by incorporating some Prince-like elements including conga drums, a female background vocalist, and a funky guitar riff into “It’s a Good Thing”. If you’re looking for something different that plays with a variety of genres, give this album a listen. It’s available to stream on Spotify and Soundcloud below and for purchase on iTunes.
Download Now: Disappointed/Don’t You Wanna Know What’s Wrong/It’s A Good Thing/The Morning is Waiting
Dr Dog: Psychedelic Swamp
I have always liked weird music. Strange music with a purpose though, not just random distorted sounds. Dr Dog is weird and so is Psychedelic Swamp, their ninth album released today. The album opens with “Golden Hind” a soft track backed with gentle plucks of a guitar and bass as well as backing vocal whispers. On paper Dr Dog can read like a mix of Beatles, The Zombies or some other 60’s before its time alternative indie rock band. Psychedelic Swamp doesn’t move into a ton of new directions and that’s not really a bad thing. Particularly on a song like, “Bring My Baby Back”. Toby Leaman, one of Dr Dog’s lead singers, has real grit to his voice coupled with sincere earnestness. He can croon without sounding deperate. The song is a bit similar to “Army of Ancients” from their 2008 album Fate. Scott McMicken takes the lead on “Fire on My Back” and his almost- falsetto is on point all throughout this song. One of my favorite from Psychedelic Swamp, is “Swamp Descent”, because of the way the beautiful harmonies move about and float over the albums murky proverbial swamp. What Dr Dog does well on Psychedelic Swamp is give you more of what you already love about them and add a few new favorites to an already comprehensive list of classics. You can stream it on Spotify and purchase on iTunes.
Download Now: In Love/Bring My Baby Back/Golden hind/Swamp Descent