Dot Dash… The “Lifer” Band Of DC…
Photo credit: – J Scott Watson.
With all the information, history and back catalogues this band have culminated in their individual pasts, I would be sat at this desk (of sorts) for weeks upon end and would likely produce volumes upon volumes with side studies to boot.
Why? Well Dot Dash as plainly stated above are a culmination of such musical experience in the world renowned music melting pot that is Washington DC. That and I’m not entirely sure where to start, so I’ll begin with some name drops as it seems the best course of action.
Household names in DC past and present, national and international icons, this four-piece have collectively played in the likes of Government Issue, Youth Brigade, Swervedriver, Madhouse, Julie Ocean, Weatherhand, Glo-Worm and perhaps the most known of the collection, Minor Threat.
So what has it come to in such a pool of musical diversity and renown? Well, Dot Dash have released one full-length album annually since 2011, with Searchlights standing as this years effort.
With a sound that blends dirty Punk-Rock fuzz and even flutters of the droney plucked bass-work so prominent in early Hardcore, you are also led to bitter-sweet and sometimes just sweet Power-Pop brought forward with 60s Garage Rock sensibility and Post-Punk gloom.
Dot Dash’s Rock n’ Roll sounds something like that.
You find yourself hearing the above stylistics perfectly sat atop each other in unison and teamwork with classic Garage and Punk rhythms and tempo, with guitar solos, licks and riffs that conjure images of a writhing, grinning axe-man.
Earlier this year the band supported Northern Irish veterans Ash and alongside hearing nods from such and their own epoch, you even hear feint resemblance of the likes of The Who, The Clash and The Undertones just to sweeten the deal.
Each release carries subtle differences but remains strongly coherent with Punk’s musical and lyrical content, attitude and feeling are never far from the sonic display.
spark>flame>ember>ash should have been a staple in the 80s where Punk began to feel more openly, while Winter Garden Light is similar in it’s gloom but far less intense musically, feeling on the whole more intentionally subdued.
The album also adds a slight Surf-Rock aesthetic that lessens the Post-Punk drive with tracks such as ‘La-La Land’. ‘The Past Is Another Country’ and ‘Shouting In The Rain’ are both stand-out tracks, constituting some of the most driven and rhythmic on the more progressive release.
The opening track of Half Remembered Dream leaves you hooked on the melodic guitar leads and lyrics that haunt their way into your brain with their chilling toast to reality. The third in the consistent release pattern is the child of the previous and blends in more of the fuzzy Indie Rock sound with the Pop-Rock hooks that have been nurtured thus far.
Of course all this sinfully boring prose I’m spouting really only highlights the subtle differences in the cohesive sound of Dot Dash but they are enough that per album and in the long run, by the third instalment their sound still just as infectious.
‘The Winter Of Discontent’ could easily pass for a British composition in sound with its softer vocals reminiscent of Tim Wheeler of Ash, backing vocals that you wouldn’t put past Feeder and a general (The) Clash-like appeal that especially soars in the guitar leads.
By this point, the band’s sound has morphed from the intricate Post-Punk gloom to an Indie sound that channels the “rockier” parts of classic Punk with all the pop-hooks and melodies you could possible desire.
If Earthquakes & Tidal Waves is an endgame so to speak and showcases what the band have been naturally progressing towards, then the latest, Searchlights, is somewhat of a departure from a departure.
Opener, ‘Dumb Entertainment’ is already more jagged with it’s Rock n’ Roll swing and blatant Punk-fuelled attitude. The album blends melodic-pop hooks and general approachability with its roots without wholly giving out to them and back tracking, rather doing its best to present the band as whole across one album.
You can hear the 80’s DC Punk in the fuzzed-guitar and tin-like bass yet they are driving forth something far from the era but at the same time a favoured distant cousin and thats perfectly acceptable.
Dot Dash are what they are and that is a band that you should immerse in.
Dot Dash have released all their music so far via Ottawa, Canada, based label The Beautiful Music, who along with all things Dot Dash, can be found below:
- For updates on Dot Dash, head to Facebook and Twitter,
- For the bands music so far, head to bandcamp and their Youtube Channel.
- Hardcopies can be found on The Beautiful Music website.
- TBM can be found on Facebook, Twitter and their Official website.