Most days these albums are chosen completely at random. Sometimes though I go out of my way to choose an album and it could be something as simple as someone mentioning them in conversation. Today that album is Fate by Dr. Dog.
It's funny, the first time I saw Dr. Dog listed on Last.FM this is what it said, "...Dr. Dog is a psychedelic rock group from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania..." I can remember thinking to myself, 'huh, the only thing right in that sentence is that they are from Pennsylvania.' I've lightened on that stance though, because I guess if I was asked to describe them in one short sentence I probably couldn't think of anything better. They certainly hearken back to a lot of great early to mid '60's psych and pop. They studied at the altar of the Beatles, Beach Boys and Kinks for long enough to learn a thing or two. But this isn't just some throw back band. They also do a fantastic job of utilizing more modern indie rock influences, as well as the occasional Americana twist. They really are one of the more unique bands floating around out there these days.
Fate, as an album, is where I think they put it all together. The early releases were less produced, a little grittier and overall are pretty amazing albums. The previous album, We All Belong, was the first album to see the band really explore the studio they were recording in and all it's potential bells and whistles. But it was this album that they actually started utilizing them, not to mention the occasional horn or string section. There are still songs that take listeners back to the "old days" for Dr. Dog purists - "Hang On" with it's uber-catchy hook and introspective lyrics, "The Ark" with it's country-like guitar riff, anguished vocals and dirty rhythm section accentuated by some deliciously nasty organ. Whenever someone finding a band for the first time asks me where in their discography they should start I always answer with "at the beginning" but in the case of Dr. Dog I'd also add "but hurry up and get to this album.."
Dr. Dog released a brand new album entitled Be The Void in February. Don't be surprised if that album doesn't make its way up here at some point in the near future. You've been warned.