According to Dr. Dog co-founder Scott McMicken, the band's prior albums were all about the experiment of making music, an "anything goes" approach.

According to Dr. Dog co-founder Scott McMicken, the band's prior albums were all about the experiment of making music, an "anything goes" approach. Now, he says, "We sound like a real band. We really hashed out the songs. In a way, this will be the first true Dr. Dog record."

McMicken is referring to "Fate," due July 22 via Park the Van Records. The title is indicative of the album's theme, which entails lyrical patterns, repeating motifs like trains and clocks and the band's perspective on how the songwriting process flowed. It's also sequenced like one long unending track, with the songs bleeding into one another.

"We've always made what we'd call concept records. It's only recently that I haven't been embracing the term 'concept' as much," McMicken, aka Taxi, tells Billboard.com. "When people hear that term, they think 'Dark Side of the Moon' or some far-reaching lofty fantasy. In our case, it's much simpler."

The group -- which also includes guitarist Frank McElroy, drummer Juston Stens, bassist Toby Leaman and organ player Zach Miller -- once again returned to its own analog studio in Philadelphia to record the set, but did dip into ProTools for some effects.

"It took us six weeks to record this one, and two weeks to mix it. It's the fastest we've ever made a record," McMicken says. "It was out of our own self-imposed race against time. We'd like to keep albums coming out a lot faster."

The quintet's 2007 album, "We All Belong," earned it its first Billboard chart ink, entering at No. 30 on the Heatseekers chart.

The band hopes to tour "equally, if not more" than its busy road schedule last year. "There's going to be a lot of changes live that will come out of 'Fate.' We'll probably bring along a piano and more acoustic guitar. We're trying to get away from the two electric guitar sound," McMicken says.

What's more, Dr. Dog may keep the "Fate" theme going with potential performances on moving trains from its base in Philadelphia to New York.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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