Dog Shredder Brass Tactics
In the words of hologram Tupac, “Picture me rolling.”
It’s a sunny Sunday afternoon in Seattle and I have no responsibilities (All my plans have been cancelled. I guess people don’t like me).What’s a dude supposed to do? I plug my Iphone into my Macbook Pro, scan my Itunes for some “hip” songs to listen to as a cruise around in my affordable compact vehicle. What vicious whip am I pushing? An electric blue Saturn Ion with a plethora of key marks, a white streak on the side where I was hit by a woman driving while talking on her cellphone, one rear-view mirror (I backed into my own house while moving in a few years ago) battery acid stains in the backseat and a stereo that doesn’t work. Feeling good, feeling great. Feeling great, feeling good…how are you?
Anyway, before scanning over The Advantage, Asshole Parade, Baroness, Bear vs. Shark, Bucket Full of Teeth and the Dixie Chicks (Yeah, I’ve got some Dixie Chicks songs, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT!?!), I finally decide on Dog Shredder’s new album Brass Tactics (Out now on Good to Die Records). I slide the three song release to the music section of my phone, disconnect the device from my computer and head out the door. Once I’m in my car and illegally listening to my Iphone turned Ipod while driving, I decide to unleash the following tweet (while driving, of course):
“Holy Christ. This Dog Shredder jam is so good I literally can’t stop laughing/smiling. #brasstactics”
I must confess, it’s all true. I couldn’t hide nor contain my gushiness and excitement for this album. I was riding around for almost 15 minutes with the weirdest grin on my face. Bystanders were probably looking at me like, “I know it’s sunny but why is that guy smiling like that? Does he not know the condition of the car he is driving?” Unknown bystander that I just created for the sole purpose of this blog post, I know my car sucks. However, I also know that this album is that fucking good. Let the hyperbole begin.
The initial (and subsequent) descending main riff of “Battle Snake” reminds me of an old Seattle favorite of mine, Rad Touch. Of course Rad Touch wasn’t prone to throwing a few seconds of blistering guitar lead work after each bar. This is merely an indicator that the gates of hell are about to open and depending on your experience with the underworld, you might not be ready for what you find. Suddenly you are made victim to what sounds like is a legion of foot soldiers with the most ill intentions. Their weapon of choice has six strings and it fires hammer-ons at the rate a hummingbird flaps its wings.
Let it be known that this is only a supergroup (a band consisting of three people for all you rookies out there). How is that they create sounds as pulsating and slightly erratic as Mastodon when they were awesome, as hesitatingly thrashy as Converge (during their current post millennial incarnation) performed with the legerity of Capsule (when the Miami hardcore band isn’t in “molasses Melvins” mode)?
There’s an old riddle, perhaps you’ve heard of it before?
How many indie rock multi-instrumentalists does it take to play Noah Burns Dog Shredder drum parts?
The answer is, “at least four.” I did the math in my mind. Trust me on this one.
“Battle Snake” announces itself as the rapture and serpentines until you have nothing left to give. This all takes place within the quickest five and a half minutes you’ve ever had the pleasure of breathing in and out.
“Battle Toads” pays homage to a legendary Nintendo game (and perhaps the greatest Super Nintendo game of all -time “Battle Toads in Battlemaniacs”) and sounds like a rallying war cry for the first 90 seconds. However, once the listener gets to the minute and a half mark, it turns into a classic rock tune gone hyper-drive, complete with pitch-shifting sirens and a bass drum rhythm pattern that any fan of hardcore is familiar with. It continues in this fashion until guitarist Josh Holland decides its time for gleeful round of feedback, leaving bassist Jeff Johnson masterfully toned, predicating bass lines in the center of the stage.
You know something is coming, you’re just not sure what it is.
Suddenly a primal scream.
And then arguably, my favorite minute long sequence comes to fruition. A menacing all out rockfest. It’s consistency is deceiving but the excitement you feel as a listener is unmistakable. It’s as if you put your Black Elk LP on too many revolutions per minute and are just now thinking, “You know what? Maybe life is better this way.” The joy you feel in your new found discovery is fleeting as what you thought you knew turns into a staccato breakdown that your brain can’t follow. The math is too great. The strings are bent and the guitar squeals. The low end snarls. The snare rings out so loudly you think each single stroke is actually a flam. You keep on thinking it’s over until it actually is. You thank the heavens because you’re not sure you can handle this type of intensity over a prolonged period of time.
“Battle 07″ is a funeral march centered around an organ and blared across the vast space of an empty prison yard using a tinny public announcement system. Indistinguishable words held by the wind and thrust into concrete walls that were built for the purpose of imprisonment. The bell of the ride cymbal and the cleansing wash of the keys tell the soul all they need to know. It’s only fitting that a sullen composition draw the curtains on such a fierce contest.