Dot Dash – Proto Retro

Washington D.C.’s Dot Dash have been churning out strong records at a steady clip for close to a decade now. The members of the band have been a part of some pretty well-known bands in the past – Julie Ocean, Youth Brigade, and Swervedriver, for a start – but Dot Dash is its own entity. A strong one, at that. A classic power pop trio that sounds both retro and modern in the present day, they are a gem in the indie music community. Comprised of Terry Banks on guitar & vocals, Hunter Bennet on bass, and Danny Ingram on drums, their latest long player Proto Retro is their 6th album and their finest yet.

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The Kinks – I’m Not Like Everybody Else

TheKinks

Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.

History is littered with obscure tracks and b-sides by artists that far exceed the standards of the artists’ singles & album tracks. The Cure, Joy Division, New Order, Oasis, The Beatles – those are just a few of the major bands that made it a practice to keep up high quality no matter where the song was being released. The summer of ’66 saw The Kinks release the single Sunny Afternoon backed by I’m Not Like Everybody Else. The A side was a a slice of musical hall whimsy that was a hit single. The B side – well, it just might be the best B side in history. A stunning slab of garage rock, it bears traces of the punk movement that would come into focus a decade later. Written by Ray Davies but sung by his brother Dave, it is an anomaly in The Kinks discography. It has that timeless quality – the lyrics might be directed at a woman, but you can sing along and use the chorus to reaffirm everything that makes you unique. Anger, isolation, and sweetness collide in winning fashion. A revamped version was cut in the mid 90’s with Ray Davies singing instead of Dave, and it also added a bit of hard rock muscle – this was the version used in the hit show The Sopranos. I like both versions, but prefer the original. Notably, the song has also been covered by the Television Personalities and Peter Perrett’s post The Only Ones band, The One. “If you all want me to settle down / Slow up and stop all my running ’round / Do everything like you want me to / There’s one thing that I will say to you / I’m not like everybody else / I’m not like everybody else”

The Times – This Is London

This Is London

Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.

1983 saw The Times release their 3rd full length (though 2nd released) LP, This Is London (their 1st LP proper was held back and not released until 1985). Ed Ball fronted The Times through various guises, but the period immediately following his tenure as a founding member of the Television Personalities, O-Level, and Teenage Filmstars is my favorite. Hipsters and those in the know look towards The Jam for their daily fix of mod inspired punk rock – dig a little deeper and you’ll find that Ed Ball was a mod before Paul Weller was a mod. The Kinks as filtered through a punk rock delivery? Something like that. The title track presents a bleak picture of London, England – times changing, hope evaporating. The song has a mod punk vibe but is wrapped up in pop sensibilities making it one of the most memorable songs by The Times. Resignation and anger collide as Ball delivers these words “I’m walking in the streets of Battersea in search of happiness / But all I find is misery in this London borough mess / My very best friend deserted me for someone else today / She met a small time insurance broker / And they’ll be married by next May”. This is amazing stuff and it is fairly easy to find as most of the early records by The Times were reissued in 2007. You can’t go wrong starting out with this song and record.

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.

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