From The Desk Of Dr. Dog: “Holy Warbles”

Last summer, rock ‘n’ roll six-piece Dr. Dog made a return to its Philadelphia home studio to record its seventh album, Be The Void (Anti-). In MAGNET #85 (order a copy here), we talked to the group’s founding members, co-songwriters and vocalists Scott McMicken (guitar) and Toby Leaman (bass), about that journey, and what it takes to bring a band with a formidable label deal and a professional touring setup back to its DIY roots. One thing that has remained consistent in Dr. Dog’s music across its evolving career is a juxtaposition of existential, occasionally desperate lyrical concerns with exuberant pop songs. Dr. Dog keyboardist Zach Miller will be guest editing all week. Read our new Q&A with McMicken and Leaman.

Miller: The late great Holy Warbles was an mp3 music blog run by the mysterious “Owl Qaeda” that posted what he considered, in his own playful Peter Tosh-esque Owl-speak, “Intangible Kultural Properties”: mostly long out of print eccentric and ethnographic LPs. He is also a mixed tape maker par excellence, and I was fortunate enough to have obtained the complete “C90” series of mixes before he was cut off by the heavyhanded Megaupload raids. As a musician trying to make a living selling records and playing concerts, I am conflicted about the whole online sharing scene, but I feel what our most benevolent Owl was doing was not in the scope of what the Justice Department and the record industry should be concerned with. I don’t know what percentage of his postings were currently in print but he always genuinely encouraged followers to “perch merch,” especially for new releases, which he lauded without uploading. (Even the new releases were pretty obscure; if you wanted to pirate the new Adele this was not the place to find it.) Anyway, his run is over for now and all we have now are the scattered ashes of his influence. Doug Schulkind of WFMU’s Give The Drummer Some did an all Owl obituary broadcast right after the site went black; his taste in warbles differs a bit from mine, but you’ll still get the idea. My recommendation would be the Billy Goat Latin C90 mixed tape, if that is still floating around out there somewhere.