Boston, Massachusetts is known for more than just their baked beans, Sam Adams lagers, and Bruins hockey. Ditto for the Red Sox, Celtics basketball, and the location of the sitcom “Cheers”. Although this city was a scene of historical importance for the American Revolution, it will be forever known as a scene of musical importance for its vast variety of artists that’s secured it a reputation as a cultural hotbed. Going beyond the “More Than A Feeling” manifesto from that band that wasn’t named Kansas or Chicago, Boston (the city) was the birthplace of other classic rock stalwarts such as Aerosmith, the J. Geils Band, and the Cars. The city’s placement in the punk rock timeline can never be stated enough, especially in the 1980s when such influential figureheads as Gang Green, SS Decontrol, Jerry’s Kids, the FU’s, and many others put Paul Revere’s stomping grounds on skaters’ roadtrip maps. College radio has also seen its share of Boston alumni on their playlists with the likes of Jonathan Richman, Mission Of Burma, the Del Fuegos, the Lemonheads, and the Pixies. And how can you not think of the Dropkick Murphys?
But whatever it is that’s in the “Dirty Water” of this Massachusetts city, it’s been spawning creativity for years now. One of the more recent acts to emerge from this impressive talent pool is the Doug MacDonald Band.
Doug MacDonald started his trajectory in 2005, performing his own songs in Boston clubs, equipped with an acoustic guitar. Making his rounds on the bar circuit for roughly three years, Doug decided to take his act to another level by adding a drummer. Enter Patty Short, who was between bands, and on the lookout for an opportunity to apply her skills behind the kit, as well as someone she could mesh with musically. After seeing Doug perform one evening, the two hit it off and they immediately began fine-tuning their repertoire before hitting the local scene as the Doug MacDonald Band. Playing for several years to increasing audience numbers, their stock rose and it gave Doug and Patty the motivation to put out an album. In 2012, they released their debut, “Give Me My Guitar”, which made a positive splash on East Coast college radio, and gathering favorable reviews from the Boston area music press. In 2013, they released their follow-up, “Mr. Bones”, which earned the distinction of “CD of the Summer” after its review in Boston Noise. Proving that they weren’t about to put the brakes on, the duo released “Duel Speaker” in 2014 to glowing reviews and more college radio airplay. One of the tracks on this album, “Jack Joke Shop”, landed on “Out Of the Garage: Volume 3”, a Bongo Boy Records compilation that was released back in January. It was this amicable experience that led to Doug and Patty joining the roster of recording artists at this label, and to begin working on their next album.
On June 13, Bongo Boy Records released “Lightning Head”, the fourth album from the Doug MacDonald Band, which is now available worldwide, including Asia.
Having tread alternative/indie rock waters with ease on their previous three recordings, Doug and Patty have exemplified a comfortableness in their fourth album with plenty of earnest songwriting and exceptional musicianship. Embodying the “less is more” spirit of other sublime two-person outfits, the twosome showcase a nice array of genres over the nine tracks included on “Lightning Head”. The opener “Atomic Phunk” starts out as a thumping garage punker which veers off into mellow Paisley Underground-style balladry, demonstrating Doug’s versatile vocal range. Some of the other highlights include: “Jason’s Record Store” (another well-played garage rocker) where Doug revisits his past; “Lights On” has a wonderful ’80s post punk feel, revealing Doug’s college radio influences; “Shark Attack” (just in time for Summer) is pure surf/garage rock perfection; “Drawbridge Troll” has a darkness to it, yet it’ll make you want to memorize the lyrics for singing along with repeated listens. The whole album traverses a range of emotions, from upbeat garage numbers to slower, heartfelt territory like “Silent Alert” which is reminiscent of Ben Folds. Doug’s guitar playing easily translates the mood he wants for every tune, and Patty’s ace drumming perfectly compliments each composition, all coming together like a well-oiled machine. Naturally, this is an album that’s poised for not only college radio, but for eclectic rock stations the world over. Here’s to hoping that one day when you listen to Little Steven’s Underground Garage, you’ll hear the Doug MacDonald Band playing “The Coolest Song In the World”.
To order a copy of “Lightning Head”, visit the Bongo Boy Records website.
To stay up-to-date with all happenings with the Doug MacDonald Band, visit them on Facebook.