Dr. Dog "Psychedelic Swamp"

For fifteen years Dr. Dog has built a reputation as a band that lays down loosey-goosey, lo-fi party tracks.  As the band progressed their lyrics grew a little deeper and their music more complex, but primarily they’ve kept to garage-rock with soul and blues influences interspersed.  Psychedelic Swamp wobbles on the axis of a concept album – just barely. Imagine you create an album that never gets released. Fifteen years on you revisit it, only to find yourself immersed in a swirl of swampy psychedelia – there you have it – the concept.

The material on Psychedelic Swamp was written by Scott McMicken, Toby Leaman, and former member Doug O’Donnell (who returns for this recording), and pre-dates the formation of the band. Over the years bootlegs have slipped out to fans and songs have occasionally made it to stage. The new album is a total rework of the original, although new songs emerged, inspired by and playing off the old material. The result is a wild, whacky, wonderful mix of raw pop-rock and psychedelic mashes infused with hints of Pink Floyd, The Velvet Underground, and The Rolling Stones. The opening track “Golden Hind” features an Eno-esque vocal, creaking organ, and country-westernized guitar. “Dead Record Player” begins with a lick ripped from T Rex’s playbook. Spoken word interludes loop through like detours off the main track.

For all their easy –going, anti-perfectionist attitude, Dr. Dog is made up of really solid musicians who work as a precise unit. There are so many little details to  every song that it takes several listens to catch them all. It’s just part of the fun of taking a trip into the Psychedelic Swamp.

 Rosemary Welsch (Afternoon Mix)

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