Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Dot Dash-s/t LP (Totally Wired, 2013)

What can I say about an Austrian band that does  a pisstake on one of Johnny Cash's best and manages not only to not insult the Man in Black, but also does the tune justice, in the band's own incredibly idiosyncratic way? Tell you that they're good, that's what. Vienna's Dot Dash sound the way late November feels: playful in a somber sorta way. Like, it's cold now but fuck the Danube's gonna freeze soon and man I don't wanna leave my apartment but shit I REALLY won't wanna go outdoors in January, so I might as well go out while I can still get outta bed before 9 am.
The point is that winter's coming, folks, and this is one of the only good post-punk LPs I've heard in this beshitted year of Our Lord, 2013. There's a fundamental tension between work and play in Dot Dash's sound that they never resolve, intentionally, I think. After all, that was the question at the heart of the original bands' work, right?: Gang of Four, the Au Pairs, et. al., were always demanding that you answer for yourself the question, "revolution or drugs?" "good times or doing something that matters?"

Retrogressive snark aside, Dot Dash does the lilting, Leeds ca. '79 sound full justice on this LP. The winter gloom progressively darkens as the album moves forward: "Freeze" is trite, "No" simply confusing, "Care" fucking discombobulating, but by "Shy" we're in fully disconcerting territory. The singer barks out "I like watching things on TV" over numb, insistent minor-note guitar and Bauhaus-style riddim. The song mourns without stewing in gloom. The bassline of "Voodoo" is sinuous, menacing enough that I could probably listen to it alone without the slow-burn guitarwork. Sure it sounds like  Joy Div outtake, but at this point I'd rather listen to Dot Dash than Peter Hook & the Light. "Escape" could be the best track of the LP: a staccato, stop-start beat, talk-singing vox not unlike the great, majestic Sally Timms..

Anyways, look for this one on my year-end best-of list. Check it out, then buy it, HERE. Brought to ya care of Totally Wired Rex.

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