New Music: Double Dagger -- 'The Lie/The Truth'

doubledaggerBaltimore's Double Dagger: They're No. 1. (Thrill Jockey Records)

Double Dagger is a band I love. L-O-V-E. The Baltimore trio is sort of the antithesis of Glasvegas. The first time I saw Double Dagger was in a cramped basement where two bands (Blackie Knight, represent!) were set up across the room from each other and traded off songs. The space was barely big enough for one band, let alone two. It was sort of like a punk version of "You Got Served."

But no room can contain Double Dagger singer Nolen Strals. It was fitting there was no stage, because he rarely stays on it even when there is one. He'll get you tangled in his mike cord, sing directly into your face (your throat, even) and jump into the audience whether it's ready or not. Meanwhile, Denny Bowen pounds his drums so hard that he usually has to re-position his kit after each song because of the force with which he brutalizes it. Bassist Bruce Willen makes a righteous racket of his own, carrying both melody and some rhythm. The live show is intense enough that it takes a little while to realize that, hey, the band actually writes really memorable, clever, catchy, heavy songs, and does so using only vocals, bass and drums. Call it efficiency, call it economy of sound. -- whatever it is, nobody does it better than Double Dagger.

The band's third album and Thrill Jockey debut, "More," comes out next month. My favorite song is "The Lie/The Truth." It took a while for me to get to that point. It's perhaps the most conventional song the band has written, but I came to realize that's not a bad thing. An unconventional band writing a conventional pop song can be a wonderful thing, and that's what we have here. It's a pretty standard soft-verse, loud-chorus tune, but when that chorus kicks in with Strals bellowing, "And there's a lie! And there's a truth!" it's all kinds of anthemic. Download, listen and fall in love.

Double Dagger - "The Lie/The Truth"

By David Malitz |  April 2, 2009; 3:05 PM ET New (?) Smell
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