Don't try to pin any musical labels on Dr. Dog.
The band's members like to travel where the songs take them, working their way through psychedelic, indie and rock sounds. The common thread is this act's love of '60s rock 'n' roll.
Dr. Dog delved into fuller, edgier sounds with its 2010 CD, Shame, Shame. The group showed off the new music at this summer's FMQB Triple A Conference in Boulder, and Tuesday the band returns to play the Boulder Theater.
Who: Dr. Dog, with Here We Go Magic
When: 10 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Boulder Theater, 2032 14th St.
"Dr. Dog has a lot of elements, but the premise has always been open to whatever whim songwriting takes us," guitarist/vocalist Scott McMicken said. "The band gets into whatever we're working on any moment.
"The songs reflect the changes in our own lives. We appreciate the band's ability to take on new styles and new things. We really lean towards '60's rock 'n' roll and we add that pop sensibility to more modern values."
In the past, the band gave the music a timeless feel by recording in less than stellar environments. However, Dr. Dog tried a different approach when it came to making Shame, Shame.
"We used to record everything in analog -- in some pretty compromising situations," McMicken said. "We've found it very liberating to work with less technology. It gave the recordings an older sound paired with our modern songs.
"I feel that we accomplished that to our own standards of fulfillment. There was a feeling inside me going into making this new record, that we'd never made an album before."
Dr. Dog stepped outside the confines of its studio for the new CD. The group went into a professional recording environment and sought the production help of Rob Schnapf (Beck, Elliot Smith).
"We wanted to make this record more modern and punk," McMicken said. "The new record really fits with what we've been developing as a live band. We've spent four to five years playing live, and we wanted this recording to explore that excitement and experimentation.
"We wanted this record to show the passion we had for playing, so we ended up with a more modern and dynamic sound. This is really what our live shows are like."
Dr. Dog not only focused on the live aspect of its music, but the band drew on some interesting characters to tell its stories.
The song "Shadow People" tells the tale of quirky apartment tenants, intense relationships are explored in "Jackie Wants a Black Eye" and the complicated life of touring musicians is portrayed in "Station."
"'Shadow People' was written about my neighborhood," McMicken said. "There are a lot of really vibrant, colorful people that are trapped there, and there are some peaceful landscapes in the midst of all that chaos and noise.
"The new record has a full spectrum of characters and dispositions. We created vignettes about all these different experiences that are just the nature of life. We wanted the songs to reflect that no matter what you're feeling, there's always a way to solve your problems."
Dr. Dog was anxious to share its new music, so the band decided to give away four free songs at drdogmusic.com
"These are some new songs we recorded a few months ago," McMicken said. "They're a great batch of songs, and it was an exercise to go into the studio and show off our two new band members.
"We really wanted to turn these songs loose on the world and see what happens with them."
On the road
Dr. Dog is now on tour, but the band posed an interesting question to fans before it hit the road.
The group polled fans as to what cities it should play and booked the tour from there.
"We haven't been an overnight sell-out band, so on every tour we just see what happens," McMicken said. "It's been pretty natural and people find out about us by word of mouth. We don't sell tons of records -- this band just has a life of its own.
"We do have a lot of contact with our fans and now a lot of people want us to come down to South America. We don't even have records released down there. We're all really excited about the band and we believe in what we do."