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The Lord Dog Bird: 'The Shedding Path'

The Lord Dog Bird's Colin McCann.
The Lord Dog Bird's Colin McCann.

The Lord Dog Bird is the solo project of Colin McCann, guitarist for the Baltimore-based rock outfit Wilderness. The project's self-titled debut album is disarming in its immediacy, due in large part to its creaky four-track production and minimalist sound. The guitars squeal, the drums clank and the vocals crackle, and the effect is an album that evokes the moods of a cranky, disillusioned living-room recluse.

The album's opening track, "The Shedding Path," sets the tone with its simple arrangement and tinny sound, as well as McCann's engaging voice. The song is built on a few short repeating guitar lines layered with McCann's strained, earnest vocals. The sparse mix, present throughout the album, keeps the music sounding insular and intimate.

But in spite of the thin orchestration, the music proves at times utterly jarring. On "The Shedding Path," "One Mind," and "The Gift of Song in the Lion's Den," McCann's vocals match the mournful croon of Bonnie "Prince" Billy's Will Oldham with the intense fervor of Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum. The result is emotive lo-fi music that sounds gritty and biting.

McCann recorded The Lord God Bird while Wilderness was on hiatus. The ability to record his ideas straight onto his four-track without having to talk things out with bandmates first led to the record's immediacy. "It's a slightly more guttural, animalistic experience," McCann says. While Wilderness "is very much back together," with a new album recently finished and an upcoming tour, McCann says he'll return to solo work. "It might be in two months, it might be in 10 years, but it's gonna happen."

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Conor McKay
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