02 September 2010

I bought this on Amazon for less than a pack of cigarettes

Double Dagger - More (Thrill Jockey 2009)
(This was not purchased via the website Amazon. It was procured from Reckless Records in Chicago.)
Bruce Willen is the bass player for Double Dagger, and Nolen Strals does the vocals. They are also the graphic design firm, Post Typography, but before there was Double Dagger there was League of Death. "With League of Death, I punched people in the face accidentally, and I think that's taking it a bit far," Strals told the Baltimore City Paper a million internet years ago. He says that punching takes it too far, but in the paragraph before that quote he admits that "it's fun to fuck with people." And then in the quote he where he says that punching is too much, he follows through with saying that

his new approach is to make the live show more fun. What any of this has to do with anything is entirely up to debate, but that line about accidentally punching people in the face made me giggle. Also, I once saw Double Dagger live and rest assured, it is fun.

Back in September, when I saw the trio there was lots of beer thrown through the air and the end of the set, the audience got invited to a party in Joppatowne. Besides walking away in a grand mood, I couldn't stop myself from fawning over the fact that Double Dagger is strictly bass, drums, and vocals. In addition to having a soft spot for raucous live shows with beers tossed in the air, I also really dig on bands that use bass to produce guitar riffs.

The Baltimore music scene is always a fun topic to discuss, as it is much bandied about at times. When considering Double Dagger, they seem to exist in their own universe within the landscape. At the risk of sounding long-winded, let's say that Baltimore bands can be divided into two camps. We'll put Beach House, Wye Oak, and bands of that ilk on one side and Dan Deacon, rainbow raider type stuff on the other. As this primitive sorting shows, Double Dagger doesn't really fit. It's my understanding that they were able to get in on a lot of the DIY happenings that occurred in town for awhile. This more than likely has to do with the fact that anyone can get down with this band. There's an energy to it, and as a listener you're encouraged to engage it. Witnessing it live, you have to become involved.

This piece would deserve failing marks if it ended without mentioning the lyrics on this record. Double Dagger hates posers. There is absolutely no tolerance for the crossed arm sullen looks crowd. It's all delivered in this kind of sort of spoken word of way, that late at night reminds me of Black Flag. "When we were 18 we saw our favorite band and on the way there a man with only half a head. I knew that he had just died because his blood still reflected the light and that night, that night, I never felt more alive than I did that night." ("Vivre Sans Temps Mort"). For whatever reason, it never gets dangerous enough. With all the calls for not fitting in, and the encouragement to do your own thing, nothing seems all that bad. This is music for the stereo that plays at the edge of the cliff.

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