Fresh Pop Rock from Dot Dash

dotdashdcI’ve written about Dot Dash on several occasions over the last few years, raving about their last LP, Winter Garden Light.  I’m excited to let you all know that the group is back with their new album, Half-Remembered Dream.  The first single from the album is just pure rock n’ roll; I love the band’s style of guitar playing, but I’m really impressed with the vocals this time around.  They have such a soft quality to them, providing a nice little juxtaposition between vocals and instruments; this track reminds me of Nada Surf to a certain degree.  The album was just released by The Beautiful Music, but you can also pick it up from the band.  Here’s to a band you might not know, but definitely need in your musical collection.


Download: Dot Dash – (Here’s to) The Ghosts of The Past [MP3]

Top Albums of 2012: 100-51

It’s really hard to narrow down a list of Top Albums of 2012, especially when you have four contributors with different opinions.  We gave the reins to Nathan.Lankford and Nicole Baumann on this one, since they write the majority of the album reviews, but we all have a little representation within this.  Now, we do realize that our site has specialized tastes, so please realize that these are our OPINIONS.  You’re welcome to disagree, and, in fact, we encourage that process.  Also, we’re doing a Top 100 because so many records came out this year, it wouldn’t be fair to narrow it down.  Not to mention it might lead you to discover some hits you hadn’t heard about yet. Oh, and we don’t really like Frank Ocean or hip-hop…just a personal choice…here’s the first segment.

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Dot Dash – Winter Garden Light

Rating: ★★★★☆

When I first stumbled upon DC’s Dot Dash, I had the impression that the group was aiming follow in the footsteps of their namesake, which might have been true on the first record.  But, with Winter Garden Light, the group has altered their sound, creating a warmer collage of pop tunes infused with melody and excellent guitar sounds.

From the instant that “Faraway” blasts through your stereo you can see that the softer side of Dot Dash is about to break through.  Terry Banks’ vocals have a softer tone on this opener, and the guitars seem to have a brighter quality in comparison to the earlier work of the group.  But, at times you can still hear the jagged edge of the band in their sound, fueled by the buzzsaw guitars near the end of the song.  At first, I had to alter my perception of the group, but after the opener, “Countdown” sold me on the group’s progress. Light backing vocals add some emphasis to Banks’ voice, which soars during the chorus.  I feel as if there’s an Oceanic vibe in the guitars, and once it’s combined with the group’s pop leanings, it comes close to perfection.

One of the songs that really sticks out on Winter Garden Light is “Live to Tell.” Beginning with a sort of spoken word atop minimal percussion and faint guitars, it then jumps into a swirling bit of guitar that captures you emotionally as Terry moves into his singing stance.  But, what I really like is how the band juxtaposed this track in the sequencing with “The Past Is Another Country,” which is one of the heavier hitters on the record.  While there’s a punk rock urgency to this number, it still holds some semblance to great pop writing, especially in the vocal approach. Together, these two tracks are a perfect one-two punch that demonstrates the bands abilities to go back and forth between traditional indie rock and lofty pop.

Personally, when listening to Dot Dash I like the element of restraint they’ve shown in their songwriting.  Amidst today’s musical landscape, they somehow manage to hold back on just filling your ears with walls of controlled feedback on the guitars.  You can see hints of all-things-gaze in tracks like “Lateral/Vertical” or even “Two Octobers,” but they hold it down in the mix, which really allows for the other elements to push through.  Using such techniques shows me that they’re not aiming to be just another band behind Pains of Being Pure at Heart, but rather a group with their own definitive sound, albeit one you can trace back through various lineage.

At the end of the day, I’m happy to have stumbled upon Dot Dash, as they have proved to me that they’re a group with their own distinctive voice.  It’s great to have influences, and even to wear them on your sleeve, but when you make it your own, that’s when you’ve proved your mettle.  In my eyes, Winter Garden Light is just that sort of record, giving you glints at the band’s record collection, but begging you to look at them as their own entity.  Consider that mission accomplished.


Download:Dot Dash – Faraway [MP3]


New Jam from Dot Dash

Over the summer I stumbled upon DC outfit Dot Dash, falling in love with their post-punk stylings.  They had everything I loved about the genre, but that all stemmed from their old record.  Luckily, the band is back with a new album, Winter Garden Light, which has the group forging into new territory.  While they still hold onto some semblance of post-punk, there seems to be a bit of Flying Nun nostalgia in the guitars, giving the group a sunnier sound fueled by sincere melodies and hooks.  I just got a hold of the record, and I’ll have a full review up next week; for now, you need to hear the opening track just to get a taste.


Download:Dot Dash – Faraway [MP3]

New Discovery: Dot Dash

It’s hot outside, finally. I’m hanging inside getting my Olympics on and trying to discover new tunes. My favorite hit today comes from DC’s band Dot Dash, a band who win in their Wire reference alone, but they’ve also got the hits to back it all up. Honestly, I think this tune from their most recent record, Spark>Flame>Ember>Ash, has a bit more of a Jam/Futureheads feel to it, but they’ve got some other tracks on their Soundcloud that give way to the reference point. It’s all like a mod/punk blend of goodness that really deserves a lot of respect (and love); I miss people making music like this.  Check em out.


Download:Dot Dash – The Color and the Sound [MP3]

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