Don't be turned away by the thrash, Baltimore's Double Dagger are loud because there's something to be said and no one's listening. Actually lots of people are listening to the music - they were the most anticipated act at this weekend's Hampden Fest (above). But with new full-length Ragged Rubble released this summer, the band maintains its self-proclaimed designcore sound while becoming astute political voices against Baltimore's overzealous waterfront gentrification.
A classic example of Baltimore's DIY artistic spirit, Double Dagger have built a bubbling underground buzz fueled by stageless basement performances, limited press EPs and miles of amazing screenprinted posters, packaging, and shirts from their own graphic design firm Post Typography. And all that would be worthless if they didn't also put on a ridiculous show.
Singer Nolen Stral told You Work For Them, "When we began the band a few years ago, we planned Double Dagger as a graphic design punk concept band. Design and art references made their way into a lot of the lyrics, as parallels and metaphors for the usual stuff punk bands yell about...Double Dagger has also provided us a chance to design and screenprint a lot of posters, packaging, and shirts, so it's also a chance to express ourselves visually and be our own client. We're also really loud." (fun fact: even their name is a typographic reference)
Somewhere along the way Double Dagger picked up bigger boulders to throw. Beatbots editor Justin Blemly says "Singer Nolen Stral’s vocals sound more urgent and inflammatory than ever, gravitating here towards themes of modern consumer culture and the yuppification of Baltimore city. On 'Luxury Condos for the Poor' he decries, 'you've lived here your whole life / well it's time to get out / we're building waterfront grave sites, 30 stories high / where dreams of fictional people live, while the city around you dies'. A serious document of what’s going on in the 'Greatest City in America' right now."
When he's not popping veins on his forehead and exposing tonsils to an audience member, Stral's scream/speak lyrics provide purpose and a calming sanity to the song; he knows when to sit everyone down for the message.
Be sure to catch them at the newly reopened Lo-Fi Social Club in October.
Double Dagger - Luxury Condos For The Poor
Double Dagger - Camera Chimera
Double Dagger - Army v.Navy (live on WFMU)
Some Les Savy Fav for good art punk measure:
Les Savy Fav - The Equestrian
Les Savy Fav - Meet Me In The Dollar Bin
Les Savy Fav - The Sweat Descends
More Double Dagger
More Les Savy Fav
Buy Double Dagger's Ragged Rubble