Man&Dog “Don’t Need Your Medicine to Die”

11 Jul

I don’t know what’s in the water (or beer, weed or acid) in Baltimore, but even the local Starbucks’ baristas are playing gorgeous music.

Man&Dog: Buskers destined for greatness

With a bit of editorial discretion and zine-like narration, the music of Man&Dog came to me by ways of Joanna, a great friend and former co-worker who moved back to her hometown via Miami to get away from me (kidding…maybe). Her regular barista (bassist Eric Piccirelli) mentioned his band, which in turn Joanna enthusiastically recommended to me.

The lush, belly-warming strings, impassioned harmonious vocals (Sean Mercer‘s voice is reminiscent of a Devendra/Nathan Willet/Mason Jennings amalgam) and professional popfolk structure were not expected. The influences are heard well, but do not scream of reproduction. Despite their East Coast roots, there is a Southern element that evokes the relationship between nature, land and animals.

Listen to “Brakeman” and you can almost hear Jeff Mangum strumming less tragic NMH chords. The music is frank and natural – odd in today’s infinite electronic world of wizardry, and even harder to pull off – at a time when a folkrock resurgance is occuring (Fleet Foxes, Blitzen Trapper, M. Ward/She & Him, Gillian Welch, Vietnam, etc.).

“Ghosts” is where Mercer summons his inner Devendra, belting a raspy hallow with fright-inducing confidence. “All Day With No Rest” is the catchiest of all and most likely to be heard on “Grey’s Anatomy” (make of that what you will, it’s a well-written song). “A Boat’ll Abide” starts with a Coco Rosie-like sample and proceeds to the smooth serenity of an acoustic Cold War Kids‘ track.

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