Dr. Dog

Artist bio

Philadelphia indie pop act Dr. Dog is part of a long tradition of D.I.Y. pop oddballs who blend unapologetic '60s pop worship with lo-fi recording techniques and a complete disregard of current trends. R. Stevie Moore's quirky eclecticism is one obvious touchstone, as is their love of the straightforward pop hooks and tape hiss of Guided by Voices, Pavement's willfully fractured song structures, and the playful experimentalism of the Olivia Tremor Control and the Apples in Stereo. Dr. Dog began as a part-time offshoot of the more traditional Philadelphia indie rockers Raccoon, whose guitarist Toby Leaman and drummer Scott McMicken recorded the casual, sprawling 35-track set The Psychedelic Swamp as a duo in a basement rehearsal space over the course of several years, finally self-releasing it in 2001. As Raccoon ended, McMicken and Leaman transformed Dr. Dog into a proper band, with McMicken on guitar and Leaman on bass (the two share songwriting and vocals), plus guitarist Doug O'Donnell, keyboard player Zach Miller, and drummer Juston Stens. This lineup recorded 2003's more focused and poppy Toothbrush, which like The Psychedelic Swamp received a low-key, self-distributed release.When My Morning Jacket's Jim James, a friend of Leaman and McMicken from their Raccoon days, hand-picked Dr. Dog to open for his band on an East Coast tour supporting their first major-label album, It Still Moves, the band's almost nonexistent national profile began to rise. With O'Donnell replaced by former Raccoon bassist Andrew Jones and featuring Broken Social Scene-style guest spots from various Philadelphia friends, 2005's Easy Beat was picked up for distribution by the indie label National Parking. Following its release, the band toured again with My Morning Jacket and M. Ward and performed several well-received sets during the 2006 South by Southwest Festival in Austin. The stopgap EP Takers and Leavers was released in September 2006 in advance of We All Belong, which arrived in early 2007. Throughout the rest of that year, Dr. Dog began posting previously unreleased tracks on their website; the songs were later released as Passed Away, Vol. 1 in March of 2008. In the summer of that same year, the group released Fate. - all music guide