Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Each and every Friday we offer songs by local artists. Today’s selection, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Shadow People” Dr. Dog from the 2010 album Shame, Shame on Anti- Records.
It was 1999 when Scott McMicken and longtime friend, bassist, Toby Leaman formed the band. It was the 2002 LP, Toothbrush, that landed in the hands of Jim James of My Morning Jacket and launched Dr. Dog on their first tour. Now, with keyboardist, Zach Miller, Eric Slick on drums and Frank McElroy on guitar, the band comes to terms with the disconnectedness from real life and demanding life cycle of making albums and going on tour in their sixth release, Shame, Shame.
“Shadow People,” from the 2010 release, is not comprised of pleasant imagery, but McMicken’s portrait of a the community he once lived, grew out of an outlet for the overwhelming concentration of eccentric characters in his West Philly home. Setting the stage in “the right night for the wrong company,” to a melody reminiscent of a primetime sitcom. Excitement builds and grows from bare bones vocals and guitar, to the revelation of classic Dr. Dog three part harmonies and bluesy piano riffs. Two-thirds deep into the song, prepare for the feeling that something epic is happening.
Shame, Shame is a milestone for the band, more than a decade after Dr. Dog’s inception, the band has finally embraced a wider range of production capabilities with producer, Rob Schnapf, and Anti- Records. They still have the Beatles-influenced sound, the harmonics, and even though their music still fills you up with lovely feelings, this album is darker, and deeply personal.
For now, Dr. Dog’s touring looks a little bare with nothing but a few festivals through the summer -- the closest to Seattle being Happy Valley, Oregon. But in case things change, be sure to stop by their MySpace page to track them down. Dr. Dog also held a video contest for the single “Stranger” off the new album. Here it is, as made by Mark Wiitanen: