Album Review / Contest: Double Dagger – More (Thrill Jockey)

more_coverGiveaway: we have 3 copies (CD) of the new album, paired with posters, to give to 3 lucky winners, courtesy of the fine folks at Thrill Jockey Records.  Just comment, leaving a contact email to join our kind-of monthly email list, and you could be randomly drawn on Friday!





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MP3: Double Dagger – The Lie/The Truth

Double Dagger are undoubtedly one of our fair city’s most brilliant and potent gems.  Combining the best parts of the music and arts scenes from around town, the talented trio bridge the oft-chasmic valleys separating the social circles of indie, hipsterism, art and hardcore punk roots in the town.  Their broad appeal is a testament to their talent and magnetism.  And with this latest album, they assert themselves as a constantly progressing entity that can be so much more than the tongue-in-cheek amalgamated genre they wittingly (and back-handedly) coined “graphic design-core” so many years ago, and have been straddled with ever since by the lazy music writers of the world.

More opens with a traditional DD volley in the form of “No Allies,” a steam-rolling commentary on scene politics that delivers plenty of that trenchant DD goodness we’ve come to savor.  Then we’re thrown a complete curveball as the second track, “Vivre Sans Temps Mort,” opens with a coasting and warm, minimal harmonium melody that smoothly flows under a gently plucked bass line that could easily blend in as a voice in a counterpoint piece for string ensemble.  Said by Bruce to be an experimental track based on building an interesting song around one note, I’d conclude this experiment knocks it out of the park, achieving a beauteous and buoyant crest by its close.  Even more disarming and unexpected are the intensely personal lyrics Nolen Strals weaves throughout the track.  A confession of and reflection on deeply personal thoughts, dwelling on mortality. A sobering and thoughtful contemplation, in many ways more intimate and vulnerable than DD has ever dared to be, but with universal thematic appeal.  ”We Are The Ones” plays like any of the most relentless pieces in DD’s canon, but adds in extra layers of complexity as the hypnotic periodic bass guitar slide mixes with rapid-fire bass freakouts and some extremely textured, unpredictable drumming.

Lead single “The Lie/The Truth” is one of DD’s most anthemic tracks, and probably one of their most balanced, Nolen’s spoken word in perfect dynamic harmony with the strummed bass chord and the sparse, anchoring percussive strikes.  Everything approaches implosion as Strals ups the ante to shouting the cathartic chorus (backed by Willen and Bowenguest vocalist Sam Herring of Future Islands!) as the main bass melody gets amped further and further, a screeching drone building up underneath the whole mix.

“Surrealist Composition With Your Face” is exactly the song you expect from the title, an unorthodox and unstable in-your-face blast.  It takes a surprise turn when Willen pulls a Jekyll and Hyde, hopping from a sludging bass rumble (which for the first half of the track, plays a borderline-arryhthmic foil to Bowen’s drums) into a crisp and soaring, tuneful melodicism that sings as sweetly as your ears were bleeding just seconds before.

“Helicopter Lullaby” features some interesting and disorienting channel effects, fading bass in and out of L-R and really capturing that percussive chop of helicopter blades spinning in front of your face (driven home by Denny’s precise drumming).  It’s a lullaby for the demented set, and I suppose is appropriate, since live Nolen will be playing the role of two-bladed rotor, his frenzied and physical freakouts similarly displacing no trivial amount of air startlingly close to you.  This feeds into a marvelous fade-in transition for “Neon Grey.”

The ratcheting tension,  the perfectly meted swell and recede as each instrument slowly fades in and eventually falls out, makes this instrumental track a highlight of the album that is by turns sublime and blistering.  The lurching stop-and-go of the beginning of “Half-Life” curiously coaxes the track forward, wading through the heady sea of Strals’ screamed vocals, but the true hat-trick is the noise-filled segue into 2 remarkably lucid and melodic closing minutes that shows DD are about much more than abrasion, and comfortable in myriad settings.

What this all culminates in is DD crafting another great album, and a fantastic debut on Thrill Jockey.  They’re more adventurous than ever before, and you’ll wonder why the hell these other bands need more members and instruments to even attempt to approach the intensity, size and diversity of Double Dagger’s sound.  These guys make it sound so easy, so natural, so exhaustingly effortless.  Impressive, to say the least.

Label: Thrill Jockey

Release Date: May 5 2009

Track List:

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

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26 Responses to “Album Review / Contest: Double Dagger – More (Thrill Jockey)”

  1. katie says:

    comment! but no, i really would appreciate the poster :)

  2. David says:

    I really would appreciate the album.

  3. Chris says:

    I’m really looking forward to listening to the whole album. “The Lie/The Truth” is already one of the songs of the year for me.

  4. pasta says:

    truly one of the better albums I’ve heard this year. Nice review!

  5. slueck says:

    love this band

  6. Brian says:

    poster and album would be much appreciated

  7. Farley M. says:

    I am commenting here because I love me some Double Dagger and totally want to score that record.

  8. john bachman says:

    seems like a good summertime album to drive around to!

  9. Geoff says:

    looking forward to seeing them later this month!

  10. curtis says:

    real fun times with double dagger!

  11. James says:

    Sweet lord I want this album.

    So much energy. So loud and good.


    Please, aural states?

  12. Thrill jockey is so kind.

  13. Matt says:

    Would love to get the poster. Album too. “No Allies” is such a great song.

  14. Zach says:

    I am commenting here because I love me some Double Dagger and totally want to score that record.

    seems like a good summertime album to drive around to!

    looking forward to seeing them later this

    real fun times with double dagger!

    Sweet lord I want this album.

    So much energy. So loud and good.


    Please, aural states?

    Thrill jockey is so kind.

    Would love to get the poster. Album too. “No Allies” is such a great song.

  15. thomas says:

    holy smoaks! i want.

  16. adam says:

    is this the multi-platinum breakthrough record?

  17. petrnotail says:

    comment? is that what you want?

    i love not only ddoouubbllee dagger but also aural states!

    gimmee gimmee gimmee

  18. dvnms says:

    potent gems indeed!

  19. Double Dagger sucks

  20. brian says:

    sign me up for monthly emails and the double dagger album!

  21. R says:

    Jeff, are you serious?

  22. >By R at 4:43 pm on Apr 30, 2009:
    >Jeff, are you serious?

    If you have to ask, 1) you don’t know me and 2) you’ve either never been to the DD MySpace page or never noticed the obvious:


    I’ve seen DD eight times and while few (if any) of the shows went off glitch-free, these guys never phone it in. Their shows are always fun!

  23. matt says:

    give me back that filet of fish, Give me that fish!

  24. I wouldn’t have given James the free cd, only because he doubled his chances of winning by submitting a second comment under a different name (Zack)…at least I used the same boring personality to submit my lame comments.

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