Double Dagger – Masks EP

My Rating: 9/10
Genre/ Tags: Post-Punk, Noise Rock, Drum & Bass

Last we heard from Baltimore’s own Double Dagger, it was their latest full length record “MORE” that was put out by Thrill Jockey back in 2009. Now, in 2010, Double Dagger have a new EP for us, and it’s best described as a continuation of songs from their “MORE” LP. The EP features 5 new and unheard Double Dagger tracks that’s just shy of 19 minutes long, and its sound is just as ragged, angry, raw, and discontented as the songs from their “MORE” LP.

The EP kicks off with a bang on the first track “Imitation Is the Most Boring Form of Flattery”, which sounds like the Double Dagger sound you’re already quite comfortable with. Vocalist Nolen Strals warns us immediately that “We’re all in danger! Our history has no future, don’t be just another repeater”, referring to the state that our nation is in, claiming that it’s in an “unhealthy” state and everywhere he looks, “everyone is just spewing”. Somebody is definitely upset with that current status of our nation, and that is quite clear when reading the lyrics to this one. Strals goes on to say that “You don’t see the past as a source of inspiration, you just have it set as your final destination” which calls out anybody who tends to live in the past. We all know living in the past is fun, but it can also be unhealthy. The other song on the A-side of the record is “Pillow Talk”, which comes with a nice bass solo about 1 minute and 25 seconds in, while the rest of the track includes Strals singing about gross/weird encounters of his friends sexual mishaps that don’t quite leave you with the idea of a pretty sight. Next up is the strangely titled “Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing”, which might generate a funny picture or two in your head. This song makes me wonder how on Earth this band gets by with just a drummer and a bassist. Some of the sounds that come out on this track sound like everything but a bass guitar, but that minimalistic property is all part of the deal when it comes to Double Dagger. This goes on to make me wonder how these guys perform live. I guess I’ll just have to wait until May 3rd.

Flipping over to the B-side starts with the longest track included on the EP, “Sleeping With the TV On”. It’s just under 7 minutes long, and it starts out way too slow to be a Double Dagger song. Strals comes in with “When you live two lives, which is your own? When you live two lives, where do you call home…” while the song begins to speed up and take form. Before you know it, you’re again in familiar Double Dagger territory during the 2nd minute, and this time Strals is giving us insight into his dreams at night… “All my dreams look like TV shows, they’re full of stars that everyone knows, my life is like a secret episode, it’s full of plots that never unfold.” It sounds like somebody is looking for a bit of a change. Not only is a major change in order, but something must be done about all the “past-due bills”, “jacked-up rent”, and the fact that the taxman is coming because he wants “us to pay for what we’ve spent”. These are certainly all pressing issues that should be dealt with as soon as possible. This would bring us to our last track, the instrumental and most relaxed song found on the EP, “Song for S”, which is just an easy flowing bass line on top of some crazy industrial-sounding sound effects. All in all, this is definitely a solid effort from a solid band who I hope to hear more from very soon. May 3rd won’t come soon enough! Thanks for reading friends, and be sure to check back tomorrow. I’ll hopefully be making it to the JAPANDROIDS show at the Barbary tonight…

Tracklist: Masks EP
1.) Imitation Is the Most Boring Form of Flattery
2.) Pillow Talk
3.) Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing
4.) Sleeping With the TV On
5.) Song for S

BUY the new Masks EP directly from Thrill Jockey
MORE Review previously posted on the Styrofoam Drone
Double Dagger on Myspace

Double Dagger – More

Double Dagger is a post-punk band from Baltimore, Maryland. Currently they are a 3-piece band, consisting of Nolen Strals on vocals, Bruce Willen on bass guitar, and Denny Bowen on drums. You might be wondering who plays guitar in this band, and believe it or not, there is no guitarist. Instead, the bass player plays exceptionally loud all the time, making up for the absence of the guitar. Before hearing the music, the fact that the band doesn’t have a guitarist may turn you off, but I assure you, these are some tracks certainly worth hearing.

Double Dagger have been active since late 2002, and since their beginnings, they have had several releases on various labels. There first “full length” (it’s only about 23 minutes long) album is simply titled “Double Dagger”, and it was released back in 2003 on Hit-Dat Records. There sophomore effort came out 4 years later in 2007, and this time they called the album “Ragged Rubble”, releasing it on Stationary (Heart) Records. You can still buy Ragged Rubble in LP format, which is in a limited edition of 300 on clear vinyl, which I know I am going to buy before today is over. If that’s not your cup of tea, you can still buy it in CD format…but really? Who wants that? Just buy the LP for $12 and be happy. Double Daggers next and most recent release is entitled “More”, which could easily be named after their hometown of BaltiMORE. This release was put out by Thrill Jockey Records, and it brought in a bunch of positive reviews for Double Dagger. The city of Baltimore named it there favorite album of 2009, which is certainly an accomplishment for Double Dagger. This album was also one of my personal favorites from 2009.

More: Tracklist
1.) No Allies
2.) Vivre Sans Temps Mort
3.) We Are The Ones
4.) Camouflage
5.) The Lie_The Truth
6.) Surrealist Composition With Your Face
7.) Helicopter Lullaby
8.) Neon Gray
9.) Half-Life
10.) Two-Way Mirror

Double Daggers Official Website
Double Dagger on Myspace
MORE: BUY – the LP format is limited to 1,000 – get it while you still can.