Dr. Dog

Dr. Dog

Saint Rich

Sat, January 25, 2014

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

Terminal 5

New York, NY

$30

Sold Out

This event is all ages

Dr. Dog
Dr. Dog
Dr. Dog’s third studio album on Anti, B Room, marks the band’s greatest point of clarity in more than a decade of performing and recording. Their arrangements, while still ambitious, are much simpler, moving past the multi-tracked pastiche of earlier efforts into a unique and vibrant band voice. Indeed, it is this discovery of the band-collective as a compositional tool that makes B Room the most cohesive, soulful, loose, and plain fun record of their career.
The making of B Room begins, not with the sound of guitars and drums, but with jackhammers. When Dr. Dog reconvened this winter to record, they didn’t have demos, they even didn’t have a place to make them. What they had was the foresight to know that the recording process needed to be remodeled. After ending their lease at Meth Beach, where they had been headquartered for the past eight years,the band took on the commitment of constructing an entirely new recording space within a now defunct silversmith mill. As bassist-vocalist Toby Leaman put it, “The whole process of recording really started with building the studio.”
Rather than just cosmetically altering the appearance to make it feel like their own as they’d done at Meth Beach, the band built out the new studio, from the studs to the sheet rock to the recording booth. As Leaman now understands, making a record is a lot like doing construction. Both require a similar amount of frustration, intensity, and cohesion. By building the space first and releasing all of that emotion, the band was then free to engage in their creative process without the expectation or preconception that they admittedly had brought into other sessions.
This lack of pretense was a welcome departure for guitarist-vocalist Scott McMicken. His affinity for creating ethereal soundscapes through multi-tracked instrumentals and effects was always rooted in the potential for a piece of music to feel greater than the sum of its parts. But as he came to accept, “I used to think that all I needed was a tape recorder and a bunch of instruments in a room. Now I realize that I’m useless by myself.”
Dr. Dog manifested McMicken’s epiphany by recording many of the album’s tracks as live takes. On songs like “Minding the Usher” and “Love” the spontaneity of the band’s live performances seamlessly fuses with the intricacy of their kaleidoscopic composition. Both Leaman and McMicken credit this evolution to relying less on the pre-produced demos they brought to other sessions, and more on the musicians surrounding them; an intention not so easily accomplished by two people who have been playing music together since 8th grade.
But with the melodic groundwork of bandmates Frank McElroy, Zach Miller, and Dimitri Manos, along with the intuitive rhythm of drummer Eric Slick, everyone was released from the self-conscious inhibition risked when songwriting is flowing from a single source. After being told by more than one listener that many beats on the album had a hip-hop quality, Leaman responded, “What I love about Slick’s drumming is that it doesn’t have to tell you that you should be moving to the music, you just do it, and that’s what I think he has in common with hip-hop or funk or soul.”
Leaman’s last thought touches on a current that travels throughout B Room. This album, in its purest form, is a soul album. It may be obvious as the first track opens with the Gamble and Huff inspired, “The Truth.” But as the album progresses, the music continues to take on a soulfulness that is vibrant in its simplicity. AsMcMicken put it, “The hallmark of soul music for me is that the arrangements are simple rather than virtuosic, and that the sound creates a feeling that is intuitive rather than intellectual.”
McMicken is proved true in the foot stomping revelry of “Nellie,” while the intuitive approach peaks in the almost spiritual “Too Weak to Ramble” where McMicken and Leaman strip everything down to just two guitars and Leaman’s fervent and tender vocals.
Although “The Sound of Philadelphia” influence may fade after the first track, the city that has helped define Dr. Dog’s sound remains a heavy presence on the album. When asked about the city’s role in their music, Leaman pointed out that many of the famous acts coming out of Philly were collaborations, from Eddie Lang and Joe Venuti to Hall and Oates. In his words, “Just a bunch of weirdoes playing music and taking risks together.” Assuming that Leaman is referring to Dr. Dog’s own journey with his deprecating analysis, he reveals a maturity and genuine self-awareness that is the essence of not just the album, but the band’s current place in time. From the construction of the studio to the recording of the album that took place within its walls, the band has found that boundless moment of creativity where their spirit and soul coexist.
Saint Rich
Saint Rich
IN THE SPACE BETWEEN what had become near constant touring for Delicate Steve, practice was scheduled at bandleader Steve Marion's home in rural Sussex County, New Jersey.

Fans of the cult-favorite band would recognize the pastoral setting from band-posted photos on the internet; horses grazing, green hills, mountain lakes. They call it upstate, the part of New Jersey that doesn't have a reality show.

Christian Peslak, the group's guitarist arrived at the house first. The weather that had been threatening all day came. Winter storm, too warm. Rain took the Paulinskill River over its banks and washed the road out period. Practice ain't happening with the full band today.

Two friends in a room now. Marion puts down his guitar and gets behind the drum kit. Peslak starts strumming the opening chords to "Dreams," a new song they'd finish within the hour. By the end of the weekend, neither had left the house. There were 7 new songs. And a new band.

They named it Saint Rich.

CHRISTIAN AND STEVE have been orbiting each other for nearly 10 years in a surprisingly vibrant local scene. Before Peslak was drafted as a guitarist into the Delicate Steve touring band, he was a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who had completed an album's worth of songs by the time he was 15. It was then Peslak was approached cold by Marion (still in high school himself) -- an enterprising local guitarist who had begun producing and arranging records who had heard Peslak's demos through a friend.

The two struck up a friendship, worked together, and jammed when they could. Three years later Steve had recorded 'Wondervisions' as Delicate Steve, an instrumental record released by David Byrne's Luaka Bop label, that entered the world via a glowing New York Times review. With the vocal appreciation from many of the indie rock world's beloved bands, [Dirty Projectors, Yeasayer, tUnE-yArDs, Built to Spill, Akron/Family, Ra Ra Riot, Fang Island, Zach Hill] and constant touring, the band began their own ascent into the indie-pantheon.

Since then, Peslak has provided the rhythmic guitar bedrock to Marion's wandering melody lines in Delicate Steve. On Beyond The Drone, the debut album from Saint Rich, it's fair to say that Marion has created the bedrock for Peslak's wandering.

Peslak sings with a natural ease, a spirit that finds its way into all corners of Saint Rich songs. There's reference here to the Laurel Canyons, old and new, to Bearsville, to any place where assorted love songs were recorded in a space you imagine had vaulted wide beamed ceilings with waters running close outside.

Beyond the Drone is the kind of record you continue to find new songs on after listening for a few months. It's entirely self-possessed and a vital heart pumps through the tape. It's a record built on the foundation of 10 year's playing together, but born in the urgency of a flood. You will hear all of that.
Venue Information:
Terminal 5
610 W 56th St
New York, NY, 10019
http://www.terminal5nyc.com/