Dot Dash – Winter Garden Light

In a song about Washington D.C. by The Magnetic Fields on their magnum opus, 69 Love Songs (titled “Washington D.C. strangely enough) they recited everything that is great about the city – “Washington, D.C. / It’s paradise to me / It’s not because it is the grand old seat / Of precious freedom and democracy / No, no, no”. The song is actually an ode to the narrator’s true love and not an ode to the great things of DC, but somehow I misinterpreted the songs meanings for years and envisioned it as a tribute to the city itself. The only thing missing from the song? An ode to the great bands that came out of the city. I’m talking about Marvin Gaye, Minor Threat, Fugazi, Thievery Corporation, and countless others from all genres. Go ahead and add Dot Dash to that list.

It doesn’t say so in their biography, but I’d think that Dot Dash got their name from a 1978 song from punk pioneers, Wire. The song was a melodic infusion of pop punk and serves as a perfect template for the “Dot Dash sound”. A bit about the band.  Guitarist / singer Terry Banks and bassist Hunter Bennett were in power pop (with a dose of punk) band Julie Ocean. Terry has also served time in The Saturday People, Tree Fort Angst, Glo-Worm, and St. Christopher. Guitarist Bill Crandall was in the mod band Modest Proposal. Drummer Danny Ingram played with Youth Brigade, Strange Boutique, and Swervedriver. You may recognize some of these bands and Dot Dash have the musical chops to deliver a masterpiece – on their 2nd record, Winter Garden Light that is exactly what they do.

It felt like tomorrow…instead of today (a bit about the record)

The album opener “Faraway” leaps out of the speakers, full of intent and melodic sensibilities. The drums are outstanding on this track. The track would be best described as The Buzzcocks meets The Futureheads – yes, that is a good thing (amazing, actually). “Countdown” dials down the heavy drums a bit but increases the influence of The Beach Boys (or is that The Ramones?) Love these lyrics “Tomorrow or today / whats the difference, anyway”. “The Past Is Another Country” sounds like something straight out of the late 70’s – punk inspired guitars chock full of melody, and sneering vocals that seem disaffected and emotional all at once. The album closes with a noisy jam “The Devil’s Road” which has Terry Banks singing in a lower tone and sounding positively menacing. Features lyrics such as “You’re gonna lose control / You’re gonna lose your soul”. A perfect conclusion to the record.

Every once in a while an album comes along that bears traces of its influences but twists and assimilates them into something wholly original. The new record by Dot Dash is one of those records. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hear the influences of Wire, The Buzzcocks, or The Jam. I would also be lying if I didn’t say this record stands on its own and is one of the finest albums of 2012. You can check out the album via the band’s Bandcamp or head over to their record label, The Beautiful Music. Make sure to support this amazing band by buying a legal download or CD – your heart will love you when you are playing these amazing tunes.

Verdict: Devil’s Road Leads to…Dot Dash

For Fans of: The Buzzcocks, Wire, The Futureheads, The Jam, The Ramones, The Beach Boys


  1. Faraway
  2. Countdown
  3. Two Octobers
  4. Writing On The Wall
  5. La-La Land
  6. Live To Tell
  7. The Past Is Another Country
  8. Shouting In The Rain
  9. Lateral/Vertical
  10. The Devil’s Road

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