Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Eric Slick/Dr. Dog to Play Bonnaroo!

Well, there's a lot of excitement today at Casa Slick.

Because Eric Slick, after three years of playing doumbek for Gypsy Hand Tribal Belly Dance Troupe in a side tent, finally gets to play the big stage with Dr. Dog this year at Bonnaroo.

Here's a partial list of the line-up from Billboard but I anticipate inserting something else much cooler here by the end of the day. In the meantime, I'll just post that awesome Dr. Dog band photo again...(Eric is second from the right)

Man, that band roll out via Bonnaroo's MySpace has been an exercise in torture but kinda fun at the same time. Every five minutes you hear a Monty Python type song with cartoon characters marching across the screen, 9 times out of 10 announcing a band this aging hippie has never heard of. (Though upon googling them, um, sorta glad I didn't know about them and don't wanna hear 'em in the future, either). Getting back to my son, though, I bet if I ask him, I'm willing to bet that as long as their performance times do not overlap, Eric will slip off to that tent on the side and whip out his doumbek for his fourth straight year. He loves those women of Gypsy Hands and who can blame him? Here's Eric and the gals from either last year or 2008:

And if that isn't awesome enough, have a look at this!

"We're sick of waiting! "Shadow People" premiers on Stereogum Tuesday, February 9!
Yesterday at 10:35pm
Hello All,

The number crunchers say that this week is the week. They've observed trends, graphed demos and cross-migrated algorithms and they say that sometime in the next week we will reach our goal of 20,000 Facebook friends and we'll finally be able to let this song out of the bag.

Here's the thing.. screw that! We're done waiting. We've been on the road for two weeks now playing songs from Shame, Shame and it's been an amazing experience. We just want people to hear the new stuff so we're gonna give the first song, "Shadow People," to the fine folks at Stereogum and they'll make it available by stream for all to hear tomorrow. Tuesday. February. 9th. Done and done.

Thanks so much for listening, and thanks to everyone who has helped spread the word about Shame, Shame.

Dr. Dog

So here, for your listening pleasure, let me offer you the link for that! There's a cool accompanying article to the MP3, along with an updated tour schedule which includes, ta-da, Bonnaroo! Ooh, and here's a new press photo that goes with it...

Again, I strongly applaud Dr. Dog's management team and publicist(s). Hello, it's 2010 and the music business has changed...Dr. Dog is not only going with the flow, they seem to be miles ahead. And how cool that in January and February, traditionally the very worst months for touring musicians in the United States, they are selling out or coming close to selling out every freaking show. I read Bob Lefsetz (though I don't always agree with him...more on that later because I'm pissed as hell over his whining over The Who and his love of Kings of Leon), I read Amanda Palmer...let's just say I am a voracious reader and I read about the music business on a daily basis. Man, it's all about doing everything you can and sparing no expense to get the word out there and connect with your fans. So this afternoon Dr. Dog, in the headlines of music magazines and newspapers everywhere today as the Bonnaroo 2010 line-up is released, offered a free stream of the first song from their brand new CD. Beyond brilliant. I fucking love it.

And if all that is not enough, there's yet ANOTHER awesome review in the Syracuse Times:

"Atomic Dog by Tom Kahley

For the arctic-like weather that was permeating the Syracuse atmosphere on Saturday, Jan. 30, Dr. Dog recommended a strong dose of hot music to warm the soul, and the prescription was to be picked up at the Westcott Theater, 524 Westcott St. This criminally unheralded band from Philadelphia took to the stage and made everyone forget about the chill outside, except for the smokers, who risked, to paraphrase the late comedian Bill Hicks, passing out in the “so cold you can see your own breath” weather because they didn’t know when they were done exhaling.

Inside the modish music hall, it was all clean air filled with good vibes. On their studio records, upon first listen, you’d swear Dr. Dog was some sort of undiscovered nugget from the late-1960s psychedelic era, with everything from Beatles and Beach Boys-esque harmonies layered atop multicolored reverb and mescaline modal scales. But as with any band, it’s impossible to recreate studio wizardry in a live setting, and in concert, Dr. Dog punks it up bit more. While they’re not quite blowing things up like The Who on stage, it’s hard not to get caught up in their bag of grooves.

As they walked on the florally decorated stage before they situated themselves at their respective instruments, you could tell these cats march to their own stethoscope beat. Guitarists Scott McMicken and Frank McElroy resembled a kind of a hipster version of the Blues Brothers, with dark shades and beanie hats, while bassist and—unusual for his instrument—lead singer Toby Leaman wasn’t afraid to rile the locals (“What is there to do in this town? You guys got a zoo or something?”) before kicking out the jams in front of a near-capacity crowd.

For more than an hour, the band’s set mostly featured songs from their 2008 album Fate (Park the Van). “The Ark” featured a bass line reminiscent of the funky interlude in Pink Floyd’s 1972 overindulgent “Echoes,” while McMicken’s country-flavored lead guitar gave it a whole other slant—and that’s not even mentioning keyboardist Zach Miller’s droning Hammond B3 vamping beneath the melody. (For a quick mind-bender, check out the band’s video for “The Ark” on Youtube; its visual is strikingly similar to Tim Burton’s upcoming Alice in Wonderland flick, although Dr. Dog possibly reimagined the characters by morphing Alice into literally just a talking, bleeding-from-the-neck head being carried by the White Rabbit in disguise. Somebody had psychoactive scrambled eggs for breakfast that morning.)

Also from Fate, “From” showcased the band’s penchant for the best harmonies this side of the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. After Leaman begins the ballad singing over a lone guitar, “Oh my love, don’t you leave me/ Because I don’t want to learn how to die”, the other members chime in with collective “ahhhhh” harmonies before drummer Eric Slick signals the rest of the band to chime in with a slow hittin’ skin pulse. As Leaman continues the verse, “Wash me away when we’re apart, cause you’re a part of my heart/ And I’m apart from my heart,” the band accentuates the last word of each line by harmoniously repeating it.

The band recently announced the April 6 release of their fifth studio album called Shame, Shame, their first with new record label ANTI- Records, home to Tom Waits, Buju Banton and Neko Case. As there were a few unrecognizable tunes played at the Westcott that were not off Fate, nor Toothbrush (2002), Easy Beat (2005) and We All Belong (2007), they must have been polishing these soon-to-be-new tracks, which were well-received by the audience.

Before Dr. Dog took the stage, two other throwback bands let it loose: The Silent League out of Brooklyn, and The Growlers, a pseudo self-professed “Texan” band from Long Beach, Calif. The Growlers might have been the strangest bunch of cats that have come through this town in some time. Their music can be best described as surf music played during a holy roller revival that was feeling the effects of a snake bite. Lead singer Brooks Nielsen had the physique of former New York Yankees pitcher David Wells and the grace and sway of a cow trying to wiggle his way up after being tipped over in the mud. Yee-haw!

But all in all, Dr. Dog once again proved that corporate America hasn’t completely killed integrity in music, and judging by the amount of people that turned out for it, there is still a glimmer of hope that this unsure day in age in digital music might right itself eventually. And maybe the best way to remedy this musical imperialism would be for bands like Dr. Dog to keep slipping melodious Mickey’s to the masses, and for the people to keep lining up for the counteractants like they did at the Westcott. All in all is all we are."

Okay, I need to take a breather for a few minutes. This is just too much excitement to bear for one day. And to the gang at Phantasy Tour, particularly "sonofelroy"...good job, dude!

And you know the drill - if I find any other reviews, articles, etc. that pop up today, I'll add them in to this post...