Hailed as "America's next great band" by Relix Magazine, psychedelic indie-rockers Dr. Dog will charm your fleas off with their shimmering harmonies, crunchy hooks, and affable grooves. Based in Philadelphia, the group's been a fixture on the NYC indie-rock circuit for years now; some music geeks may even remember them playing as part of a buzz band sandwich at Southpaw with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Dirty on Purpose way back in 2005! That was four years ago, and we're old. But Dr. Dog shows now sign of senility, and Saturday night's headlining slot at Celebrate Brooklyn is their biggest New York appearance yet. It's a free concert, with opening support from Brooklyn’s Matthew Houck, a.k.a. Phosphorescent, and electro-folk band These United States. We recently spoke with Dr. Dog's co-founder Scott McMicken about hippies, hipsters, and Baptists.

Where are you now? We're just finishing up our band practice in our studio in Philadelphia. We just practiced and then we're going to pack up and go to a show in Chicago and then a festival in upstate New York and then we're back home again.

Is that festival Camp Bisco? Yes, it is that festival.

Have you played at that before? No, no. I've never even heard of it before, but it seems like it should be fun. It seems pretty laid back.

Yeah, I associate that more with the hippy scene, but I associate you guys more with the hipster crowd, if we can make those broad generalizations. Are you curious about how it's going to go up there? As a band, we've never perceived ourselves as any one thing or another. Like, we've played in front of that kind of NY hippy crowd before, and I feel that sheds an interesting light on the band. It seems like over time, we become more and more embraced by that world of music. It doesn't seem like the obvious thing—we still keep our songs to a pretty strict, tight structure. Maybe we'll give ourselves a few bars here and there to improvise, but it's pretty much mapped out.

But I enjoy playing for this crowd because it gives me the chance to view our band differently. Because I'm a little bit more self-conscious. Like, sometimes you feel just really weird if you're thinking of your audience too much as any one thing; you can be like, "Wow, we're a really weird band." And then you play another crowd and you're like, "Wow, we're the most straightforward rock-and-roll band that ever was." Each crowd provides a different experience for us, honestly.

We recently played at a really religious, really conservative college in Texas—a Baptist college—and they approved us playing because they thought we were a Christian band. We don't use our band to isolate our standing in society or anything like that. I think there are some themes that run through all our music that surely are oftentimes Biblical. It's just more generally spiritual, I guess. It does seem to come up a lot. And I hadn't realized that because I don't go around thinking of us as a Christian band—until we played in front of these kids in Texas at a Baptist college. Then, every song, I'm saying "Good Lord" again and I'm saying "God" again. That's what I like about the jam crowd scene because I feel like it emphasizes a different aspect for us and we run with that.

So you grew up in Philadelphia. I moved to the area when I was about 12 years old. I moved into Chester County, about 45 minutes from the city. It's a lot more rural out there. That's where Toby [Leaman] lives and where I met Toby and we went to middle school and high school and college together. Now, he's been around there forever, but I didn't show up until I was about 12.

Now that you guys have been playing together for so long, is it a challenge coping with touring and more success when you're aging in a band with childhood friends? Is it a challenge? It is a challenge, but the challenges don't seem to come from our relationship, which is a good thing. I wouldn't portray it as constantly getting along; we have our days and everything. But everyone seems to understand well enough what we're doing and how they feel about it that it's pretty unconditional. That definitely makes going through the other things that are more challenging easier when everybody's heart is in the same place, even though we might not be getting along or getting annoyed with each other, living in a van and stuff.

But the challenges definitely come more in the increased amount of touring that's been going on for the past five or six years. The truth is, I get scared when there aren't challenges. I feel like we really need the challenges and, when faced with the challenges, it works best. It's that, "Okay, this tour has bigger rooms and a bigger stage. Let's take that into consideration," and the difference for playing for 300 people and a thousand people. It really is tangible, down to the equipment you're using. You need better equipment and then you need more help. Things just kind of unfold. And then you talk about making records. Every one of those is really a supreme challenge. So I think if it weren't for the challenges, we wouldn't continue to progress in the way I'm thankful we have.

Has anyone in the band been able to quit their day jobs? It's been about two years since we've had to work a job when we come home from tour. But I'd say about halfway through the cycle of We All Belong coming out, then we were able to come home without that. But even to this day, it's just kind of paying the bills. It feels really awesome. It feels great to come home off a long tour and not have to jump right back into something and take time to just relax and write and record. We definitely make enough that there's no excuse for us not to be productive. We've got the time when we're home and nobody really needs to be working.

Almost every time I read about the band, the Beatles and the Beach Boys are cited by comparison. Does that get tiresome? No, you reap what you sow. We wear it on our sleeves, so naturally people are pulling it out. I don't feel it gets tiresome because I don't feel it's taking hold of us. The press is definitely one thing, but usually people are saying that in a favorable way, I feel like. I've seen the ones that use it against us, and that's fine. I find myself being guilty of the same kind of harshly critical judgment on bands. It gets tiresome not in such a negative way, but more like, you kind of want to hear something else about you, you know? There's a lot more to our ideas and feelings and philosophies on music. Obviously it's very much informed by the music we grew up with—the Beatles and Beach Boys for sure—but there's a lot of us in there, too.

You know sometimes it might be kind of fun to hear people cite who we are as musicians rather than who we're influenced by. But it's not really a bad thing. Like I said, it's usually used in a flattering way. I think those two bands in general are tiresome beyond the context of our band. In our culture those two bands are such institutions and taken for granted that, what more can you say about them? Everybody's got them ingrained in their soul at this point. It's everywhere, so right away it makes it seem kind of boring. It's like, "Oh, they sound like the Beatles? Ugh. Boring." I mean I think the Beach Boys and the Beatles get a bad rep at this point.

Are you developing a new album? Yes we are. There's a whole bunch of stuff that's going on right now to help get ready for that. We're all ready to make it. We've been writing a lot of songs and doing a lot of demos as we wait to find out—we're currently in between record labels, so we don't exactly know where the money's going to be coming from to make the next record yet. We're in the process of negotiating with some different labels and I think we've come pretty close to making our choice, but it hasn't quite happened yet. But it's going well, it's very promising and exciting, the changes that seem to be developing. So we've got to figure that out, and once we've figured that out, we'll have a better sense of what kind of budget we'll get, at which point we can really start to make plans about where we want to record and who we want to have help us, the kind of gear we'd like to pick up and add to our studio. Basically, we're kind of filling in that meantime with writing and demos.

What's the album going to be called? I don't know. We've got a list of 40 possible titles on a dry-erase board here in the studio. Between now and the time the album's done, any idea for a title goes on the dry-erase board. The album cover could be that entire list of album names we came up with, all of them scratched out except for one. Then our album cover would be a brainstorm of album titles.

Can you tell what some of them are? No, no, I can't disclose that. To be honest, we're still in a playful process. They're the kind of a jokey album titles a bunch of dudes are likely to come up with, so taken out of context talking to you, I might be embarrassed to tell you what they are. We haven't found one yet, but, you know, it'll come.