Song 208: Dr. Dog, “From” (2008)


Much has been made about Dr. Dog’s knack for making new music that sounds like old music, and I can’t deny that it’s an impressive talent. I love the way the band plays and sings, and how their contributions make one big ol’ chunk of old-sounding folk/rock, the kind The Band used to make. It’s as if everything is covered in sawdust.

“From” is my favorite Dr. Dog song, and I can’t quite explain why. I suppose it’s just that I like the melody, which is very pretty and very simple, and complements the song’s lyrics about hopelessness and despair. (Dr. Dog may not have any lyrics that are less hopeful than these: “Oh my God, he listens to me/and I ain’t even talkin’ out loud/Oh, oh my God/And he says ‘My son, now listen to me’/’Listen while the listening’s good’/’You’re not my son.'” Oof.)

That awesome cover up there is a painting (with sewn-on outlines) by Chicago artist Ken Ellis. It’s inspired by a photograph of Bonnie and Clyde. The fact that the cover is new artwork based on an old photo is perfect for a band like Dr. Dog, who make music that sounds both modern and vintage. It’s a unique role in indie rock, and they use it well.


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