Far too often the benefits of local music are spoiling, back firing in ways that leave little room for growth outside a 30-mile radius. I’m using this ridiculously hasty generalization to point out that as a New York resident, I came much too late to the Dharma Dogs party. Heavy post-grunge from Madison, WI, it’s all but coincidental that this trio has been compared to early-Sub Pop, heavy ‘90s indie rock.
The opening track, “Laxadaisy,” is every bit intentionally sloppy and sludge-y as it is feedback driven, a frustrated immediacy choked with screaming, forceful vocals. Followed by “Fluke or Flounder,” both tracks fronted by guitarists Chris Jourtras, the second with bigger hookers, characteristically noisey guitars organized by a powerful distortion that doesn’t leave much room for dissonance.
Almost ironic that the B-side, the longest track of the release is entitled “Deep Wound” but rings truer to the later J Mascis/Lou Barlow project Dinosaur Jr—sung by drummer Nate Karls and the only track on “Drown” not to appear on the band’s earlier demos.
I hear the first 107 copies of Drown (the reason for the odd number is beyond me) are on translucent blue vinyl via local Madison imprint Kitschy Manitou. Those familiar with the band can look no further than their spot on Obvious Records comp from last spring, Sample Vol 1, a 7” split 5 ways with The Stockyards, The Phantom Scars, Inflatable Best Friend and the Overheaters. Limited to 300 (A Free download of Dharma Dogs “Hoka Hey,” on the comp but not the 7”, is available there as well.)
Stream Dharma Dogs' Drown” 7 here.