[mp3] Dr. Dog: "Shadow People"
There's no use sugarcoating it: I love Dr. Dog, and the Philadelphia group's forthcoming Shame, Shame is my most anticipated album of 2010. We've all been looking forward to it since we first broke the news last July that the band had signed to Anti- Records and would soon record its next full length with uber-producer Rob Schnapf. Right before they trekked up to the Catskills to record, organist Zach Miller (far right) had this to say about the early stages of Shame:
"Well, the initial concept is more of directness, I would say. It’s more song-serving arrangements, and maybe not as much orchestration as
Fate. There are definitely fewer layers. The more direct approach is what we’ve been talking about lately. But anything could happen. It’s going to be a new experience for us, so there’s a lot of ideas going around."
From the sounds of it, I'd say those ideas must have been pretty great. "Shadow People," the first single from Shame, is something special from start to finish. For starters, it's the most outwardly autobiographical song the band has ever written, culled from lead singer Scott McMicken's experiences in his West Philly neighborhood. (Read his description over at Stereogum.) The song itself has an unmistakable feel of significance to it; for the first time, it sounds like McMicken and the rest of the band are aware of their roles as storytellers. There are still the same patented harmonies and warmth in fidelity, but there's something about the linear progression of the song and its anthem-like structure that hasn't really been present in the band's music thus far.
"Shadow People" is love at first listen, and the best appetizer for Shame, Shame (out 4/6 on Anti-) I could have possibly hoped for.