Sounds like: Listening to a hardcore pop-history geek’s iPod on random after smoking a blunt.
For fans of: My Morning Jacket’s more psychedelic side, Langhorne Slim’s more rockin’ side, Fleet Foxes’ less artsy side, the Kinks’ less British side.
Latest release: This month’s Be the Void, the quintet’s sixth album, which gained buzz with the nasty, bluesy single “Lonesome” and contains some of the band’s best compositions to date.
Why you care: Dr. Dog’s appeal rests in the fact that its members don’t particularly care about being cool. These are music nerds through and through, who take everything from 1960s Brit rock to soul, gospel, roots, folk, blues, classic rock, New Wave, R&B and modern pop and wash it all into a bounding, psychedelic gloss. But unlike similarly inclined music-nerd collectives (see Yo La Tengo), Dr. Dog isn’t simply making music for record-store clerks and download junkies. Since exploding onto the scene from nowhere when guitarist Toby Leaman and drummer Scott McMicken’s homeboy Jim James enlisted the no-namers to open for My Morning Jacket in 2005, the band has gained Mach-speed momentum, hitting the Heatseekers charts and, more importantly, giving freely of its musical savvy at explosive live shows. The band’s music-nerd tunes are always fun and more than a little tripped out, but rarely cluttered. On Be the Void, the band sounds more comfortable in its oblong groove pocket, with vocalists Leaman and McMicken tempering their occasionally grating yowls as the rest of the band nests in the jagged niches of each song’s layers. This Dog is of that rare breed that keeps learning new tricks.