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Get familiar with Dr. Dog

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Dr. Dog is coming to Turner Hall on February 5. Photo courtesy of ANTI- music label.

Dr. Dog is coming to Turner Hall on February 5.
Photo courtesy of ANTI- music label.

Born out of a makeshift recording studio in a Philadelphia bedroom, Dr. Dog is comprised of six misfits armed with a knack for stripped down, classic rock ‘n roll, with a punch of folk. Dr. Dog strings together lyrics straight out of a confused millennials diary, giving the band massive appeal to anyone that has ever uttered the phrase, “Hell if I know.”

Backed by a loyal Pennsylvania fan base, the band has produced seven albums since its inception in 1999. Given their back-room origins, they cling tight to a glamorized makeshift sound that is sure to appeal to both classic rockers and indie fanatics. This unique sounds has not always pleased critics, but music enthusiasts will attest that some of the best bands come from the most humble of beginnings.

The band entered the mainstream spotlight with their 2012 album “Be The Void.” The album showcases “That Old Black Hole,” a cliché laden anthem for losers everywhere. Dr. Dog is quite literally an underdog, and the band bluntly admits that sometimes you just can’t win, but you’ve got to roll with it anyways. The unknown future is frightening, especially for those cursed with bad luck, but there is comfort in the darkness:

“I put on my finest thread/

And I wrap up my body tight/

With the sun in my eyes/

I step into the night/

Like a mystery in the dark/

Oh its just another kind of light/”

In the “all in it together” shanty “Jackie Wants a Black Eye,” the band espouses age old truths about loneliness and broken heartedness through the eyes of a gal named Jackie and a guy named John. Jackie and John’s trials are told with a light-hearted, rag-timey piano and gypsy tambourine infused tune. Jackie and John must deal with unanswered questions, the unavoidable truth that everything falls apart eventually and the temptation to hide away and remain morose. These are things that everyone has or will experience and Dr. Dog imparts this folky wisdom to its listeners, adding that the best remedy is to keep moving along:

“When yesterday’s love defines you/

And today that love is gone/

Tomorrow keeps you guessing/

The roller coaster is rolling on”

The bands newest album, “B-Room,” greets the listener with the familiar feeling of warmth and guidance that is now a specialty of the band. Unfazed by the recent success of “Be the Void,” they meticulously craft every song with imperfect beats and lyrics that continue to reinvent themselves. Pay special attention to the track “Broken Heart,” which is paired with an addictive gospel choir-esque chant, “Freedom from love/Freedom from the heartache.”

Dr. Dog’s uniqueness can partially be accredited to the way that they phrase their lyrics. They employ clever “been-there-done-that” librettos that speak to the listener in a way that an older cousin might, telling you how to sneak a beer out of your parents’ fridge without getting caught. Each line is a secret that feels personal, as if the band dedicated the lyrics to you.

The personal nature of each lyric is precisely why you should never listen to Dr. Dog with more than three people max. Although the band specializes in crowd-pleasing, vintage beats, they can’t truly be enjoyed unless the listener is honing in on the ultra-specific lyrics. I made a six-hour trek to visit friends in Minneapolis last March, and Dr. Dog kept me company the whole way. DD is the perfect soundtrack to rediscovering yourself.

Dr. Dog encourages the listener to move on from heartache, not to sweat the small stuff, and to learn how to embrace the chaos that comes along with a life well lived. Relish in the unraveling of your college years with the wonderfully nostalgic band Dr. Dog; I swear you don’t be disappointed.

“The rain is falling, it’s after dark/

The streets are swimming with the sharks/

It’s the right night for the wrong company/

And there ain’t nothing ’round here to look at/

Move along, move along”

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