Dan Rothenberg remembers being utterly baffled the first time he sat down with Dr. Dog to listen to their “lost” debut, The Psychedelic Swamp.
The album is something of a holy grail for superfans of the Philly psych-rock faves, and it’s bizarre – no question about it. Released on cassette in 2001, it features warbly sounds and trippy textures, slap-back echo and tape delay, chopped-up audio collages mostly constructed by founding bandmates Scott McMicken and Toby Leaman in their West Philly halcyon days. Swamp has subsequently made the rounds on various unofficial YouTube playlists, and most recently arrived at the doorstep of renowned Philly troupe Pig Iron Theatre Company, where Rothenberg is artistic director.
“Scott and Toby were playing it for me and saying ‘trust us, there’s amazing songs in here,’ and I really couldn’t hear them,” Rothernberg recalls, laughing. “Then they would tell me it’s not meant to be listened to. And I don’t know what to do with that!”
Ultimately they arrived at an answer: translate the songs. Which is the mission of SWAMP (IS ON), the new collaborative production from Pig Iron and Dr. Dog premiering tonight at Union Transfer as part of this year’s Philly Fringe Festival. Continue reading →