Philadelphia's Dr. Dog occupy an unlikely middle ground between retro jam band world and indie hipster land. They come across as dudes who don't care much about being hip but have been adopted by cool kids impressed by their legendary live shows and solid chops. A combination of Auto-Tune backlash and laptop-rock fatigue has helped create an environment where musicianship and rich harmonies are once again selling points, which is absolutely fine by us.
Shame, Shame is the first album the band recorded outside their own studio, and while they still ended up finishing the disc at home, they obviously benefited greatly from producer Rob Schnapf's touch. Despite the more professional scenario, they resisted the temptation to pile on unnecessary ornamentation, and instead pared back to the essentials. As a result, they've finally captured their live energy on disc, coming up with the album that might be their big breakthrough.
Top track: Unbearable Why
Dr. Dog hit Lee's Palace Wednesday (April 14).