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Outdoor show $20 all ages


KCRW presents DR DOG w/ COTTON JONES & PAPERPLANES! $20 outdoor show! 7PM

October 7, 2012


$20 tickets are on sale @ ticketweb

or in person at Pappy&Harriet's or by calling us 760 365 5956

After a one-album sojourn away

from their band-built recording studio Philadelphia’s Dr. Dog returned home to

Meth Beach to self-produce their latest collection of gloriously ramshackle

rock ‘n’ roll reveries. Out February 7, Be

The Void (Dr. Dog’s second release on Anti-Records) showcases the

critically adored band’s renewed commitment to cultivating a stripped-down live

sound. “This record comes from our pushing toward a rawer, more powerful,

somewhat jittery competence,” explains guitarist-vocalist Scott McMicken. “We

drew a lot of inspiration from soul music and the Rolling Stones and the Velvet

Underground—music that’s got its roots in live expression rather than that

studio-perfected sort of vibe.”

While Be The Void bears the same style of scrappy yet hook-packed rock

served up by Dr. Dog for more than a decade, the six-member outfit (McMicken,

bassist-vocalist Toby Leaman, rhythm guitarist Frank McElroy, keyboardist Zach

Miller, drummer Eric Slick and multi-instrumentalist Dimitri Manos) seems newly

emboldened by its deepened devotion to a bare-bones aesthetic. A marked

departure from the soaring pop of 2010’s Shame,

Shame, the album also finds Dr. Dog revitalized by the recent addition of

Slick (who’s previously played with Ween, Adrian Belew, and Project Object) and

Manos (also a member of Arizona-based alt-country band Golden Boots).

Recorded in the summer of 2011, Be The Void seizes that vibrant spirit

and transforms it into a 12-track song selection that’s at turns deadly catchy

and dance-worthy (the shuffling swagger of “Big Girl”), wistful and bittersweet

(the lovely, languid sigh of “Get Away”), and earthy-earnest (the twangy

troubadour folk of “Turning the Century”). Though each track feels richly

textured and intricately layered, the band made a conscious effort to keep the

recording process fast and loose. “We worked quicker and trusted our gut more

than ever before, and at times it was scary and almost panic-inducing,” says

McMicken. “All of a sudden you’d be aware of a feeling like, ‘This is really

working, so don’t mess it up.’ And then the song ends and your heart’s pounding

and you realize you haven’t taken a breath in three minutes. It was like riding

a rollercoaster and wishing you could get right back on again.” As a result of

that newfound abandon and surrender to intuition, “there’s so much on the

record that I could never have imagined us being able to come up with,”

McMicken adds.

Perhaps the album’s most epic

moment, “Warrior Man” makes for one of Be

The Void’s most thrilling surprises. Both sprawling and beautifully

bombastic, the track attacks with lead-heavy beats, pseudo-futuristic sound

effects, and psychedelic back-up harmonies. “‘Warrior Man’ was born out of a

joke—it started as some silly phrase that Toby was singing, then turned into a

jam, and ultimately became this monster of a tune that was recorded live,” says

McMicken. “Everything about its origin reflects that freedom and confidence to

own a weird idea and just let it live.”

Another deviation from Dr. Dog’s

more summery and sleepy material, “Vampire” slaps a snarling guitar riff

against ragged, howling vocals that perfectly capture the song’s pained refrain

about love gone evil (“You’re a vampire, baby/No reflection at all”). “Heavy

Light,” meanwhile, mutates from a percussion-driven dream-pop pastiche to

shimmering piano ballad to freewheeling experiment in blissed-out

psychedelia—all in just three minutes and 41 seconds.

All throughout Be The Void, Dr. Dog delights in a

playfulness that lends a refreshingly oddball feel even to the record’s more

true-to-form tracks. “These Days,” for instance, backs its bouncy bassline with

a dizzying swirl of sunny guitars, while the handclapping and hollering on the

album-opening “Lonesome” help twist a downer of a refrain (“What does it take

to be lonesome? Nothing at all”) into a sweetly anthemic stomper of a song.

At the same time, Dr. Dog’s

rugged, rough-and-tumble disposition and razor-sharp wit preclude Be The Void from ever nearing mindless

whimsy. Possibly the album’s most deceptively breezy offering, “That Old Black

Hole” sets its sly lyrics (“Take this thorn from my side/Fix this chip on my

shoulder/Time is racing with the clock/And I ain’t getting any older”) to a

smoldering groove that turns frenetic and urgent in the song’s final seconds.

By the same token, the disarmingly desperate “Do The Trick” pairs its woozy

disco beat with a barrage of flirty wordplay that’s relentlessly clever (“I’ve

burnt the candle on every side/I’ve long since run out of wick/Will you be my

flame tonight?/Will you do the trick?”).

The first album recorded away

from Meth Beach, Dr. Dog’s 2010 Anti- debut teamed up the band with Rob Schnapf

(a producer who had previously worked with Elliott Smith, Beck, and Guided By

Voices). Although that partnership yielded the much-acclaimed Shame, Shame, the band opted against

bringing in an outside co-producer again for Be The Void. “We did try out a few songs with another producer, but

we then we stepped back and asked ourselves, ‘Do we really need that?’” recalls

McMicken. “Part of our growing aesthetic is to find the simplest approach that

works best, and the decision to produce this one ourselves was sort of the

first gesture toward recognizing our confidence in our experience and ability

and sense of playfulness.” Indeed, that dedication to keeping it playful was

key to shaping the sound on Be The Void,

says Leaman. “Back when Scott and I first started making music together, there

was a period of time when we just recorded and recorded constantly—just for our

own pleasure, not even to try to get shows or anything,” he says. “Making this

album felt like that again. It was like we were just putting a bunch of tunes

together, just to have a good time.”

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