Quick Picks: Toby Leaman of Dr. Dog, Josephine Network, and the Latest From The Men
Plus, De La Soul's discography is now on all streaming platforms!
February has been an embarrassment of musical riches. Here are a few quick looks at albums I haven’t covered yet, including what may be my favorite record of the month.
dd Toby Leaman - Military Applications EP
Way back in October 2007, I went to see the celebrated Philly indie-psych band Dr. Dog for a small show at the Larimer Lounge in Denver. They are one of my favorite groups of the “new” millennium, but this night, particularly, had me paying attention to other things. I had just seen Dr. Dog play at Bonaroo earlier in the summer, and also, the hometown Rockies were playing for the National League pennant on their way to getting smoked in the World Series. As my friends and I stayed back by the bar and, most importantly, the tv, my now wife (we had started dating just a few weeks before) grew bored with the idea of going to a concert and watching a baseball game instead. So while the opening band was running through their set, she saw Dr. Dog’s bassist Toby Leaman at the bar and bought him a shot of whiskey. That may have been the moment I fell in love.
The current status of Dr. Dog is up in the air, but in the meantime, some members are releasing solo records. I have Scott McMicken’s album on my list for later this month, but I missed this EP from Leaman. When my buddy (who was there that night fifteen years ago) told me about Military Applications, I was stoked because, frankly, I prefer the Toby Songs™ in Dr. Dog’s catalog. Running at almost thirty minutes, Military Applications is extended for an EP, and I couldn’t be anymore thankful for that as every song here is a prime cut. Leaman’s scruffy yet soothing vocals are still front and center, and musically, it’s a retro psych-tinged beast that confronts living in modern times. I kinda miss the rich harmonies that make Dr. Dog so good, but Leaman does a commendable job duplicating that on his own.
Military Applications is self-released and available on Bandcamp.
Josephine Network - No One’s Rose
When Brent Rademaker of Curation Records declares a record “the album of the year” in February, I’m listening. With New York-based singer/songwriter Josephine Network’s No One’s Rose, Rademaker isn’t kidding around. Self-described as a “shapeshifting drag yenta,” Network has written the best cosmic country record from the Lower East Side I’ve heard. Think Gram Parsons crossed with Network’s bubblegum and glam beginnings filtered through an early aughts lo-fi anti-folk lense. “Howdy Girl” is a sub-two-minute slice of slide guitar paradise, but I also can’t stop singing, “I’ve got short shorts with deep pockets shimmying through the August heat” from the brilliant “Short Shorts, Deep Pockets.” My only complaint is a complimentary one in that No One’s Rose goes by far too quickly, and I want more Josephine Network. This snuck into my orbit in the past week, and it may very well be my favorite album of the month. She’s hitting the road with The Lemon Twigs later this year, so I feel the word is out on how excellent this record is.
No One’s Rose is available on After The Fall Records.
The Men - New York City
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