In Philadelphia, indie rock is nothing to sneeze at. This is the city, after all, that -- in addition to its rich R&B/soul pedigree -- brought us Marah, the indie equivalent of Wilco and the E Street Band rolled into one.
The Philly indie sound has elements of the city's soul music, always, but it also keeps an eye and an ear on the rest of the world, assimilating influences as it sees fit. Which may explain the multi-idiom magic operating at the heart of the city's Dr. Dog, an outfit that, for the past six years, has been whittling away at a sound blending the three-part vocal harmonies of the Beatles and Beach Boys with the rough-and-tumble organicism of My Morning Jacket, Wilco and the Band.
The group's most recent effort, the estimable and ambitious "We All Belong," marks Dr. Dog's second phase. It takes the indie-rock ethic captured on the group's early efforts -- all of which were recorded on primitive 8-track equipment, which is essentially what the term "indie rock" denotes in the first place, as in "no budget" -- and pulls it kicking and screaming into a 24-track recording studio. Don't worry, defenders of the indie faith -- the Dog didn't "sell out" and immediately shift to licking corporate boots once the red light went on.
Instead, Dr. Dog -- guitarist/vocalist Frank McElroy, drummer/vocalist Juston Stens, guitarist/vocalist Scott McMicken, bassist/vocalist Toby Leaman and keyboardist Zach Miller -- treated the studio like a candy-coated playground, an amusement park in which their creative abilities might run wild. That means "We All Belong" is fully developed and just plain sounds good.
Check out Dr. Dog and guests the Teeth and Hoots & Hellmouth, inside Mohawk Place, 47 E. Mohawk St., beginning at 8 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 on the day of the show, and can be found at all Ticketmaster locations or by calling 852-5000.
On Thursday, acoustic guitar virtuoso Leo Kottke comes to the Tralf, 622 Main St., for an 8 p.m. show. Tickets are available now for $22.50, through the Tralf box office or Ticketmaster.
Bling Pig recording artist and blues harp genius John Nemeth comes to the Tudor Lounge, 335 Franklin St., at 9 p.m. Tuesday. Admission at the door will be $5.