6. Dr Dog – Shame Shame

Or you could be twisted or you could be insane
Pushing the envelope against the grain
Just playing along

– Shadow People

What an album. I quite liked 2007’s We All Belong. I liked 2008’s Fate even more. And that’s three fantastic albums in a row with Shame Shame, their debut for Epitaph.

Maybe the big label changed them because the first three songs just scream “single”. Their country-rock-meets-Teenage-Fanclub has never had catchier bits. Stranger and Shadow People open the album with the best one-two punch this year. Huge choruses, big sing alongs, and a pretty awesome band rumbling around the back. Then comes Station, a great “ballad single”, if such things still existed.

The band still sounds like a 70s band, recorded with 50s equipment. They are stunningly out of time. They maybe could have been alt-country. They should have been lumped in with the harmony folk of Fleet Foxes. Or the retro thoughtfulness of Midlake and John Grant. But I guess they are too straight for those scenes, and too weird as people. They are probably not ambitious enough either.

There is a vintage sound that I just love. And it’s not retro in a White Stripes way. It doesn’t sound like a 70s record. The harmonies are spot on. Like Fanclub, they are blessed with a band of great singers. Enoigh studio trickery to keep it interesting too.

Back to the record. It’s number 6 on the list so you know for me there’s not a dud track on here. Plenty more blissed out country pop gems and fragile ballads. Try Mirror, Mirror or I Only Wear Blue. And it ends well too – the title track is weird, sinister and a perfect goodbye from a record that seems to come from nowhere. I really can’t say enough about the songwriting.

I just kept coming back to this album all year. I liked it a lot on first listen. Repeated listening, it holds up. On shuffle, each individual track also holds up. And I’m still listening to it. You should too.

In some years this would be a top 3, if not the number 1 album of the year for me. Nothing in the record is keeping it at 6, other than, in a miracle of music, there are 5 albums even better!

Best tracks: can’t beat the first three – Stranger, Shadow People and Station.

Official site – http://www.drdogmusic.com/

Great song. Great clip. What more can be said? Fucking love it.