Dot Dash’s 2018 LP ‘Proto Retro’ is easily the best of their career. For the prolific band, the album very much presents a turning point: they’ve dispensed with the punkier elements and Mod based experiments. Instead, ‘Proto Retro’ concentrates on the band’s power pop interests.
Washington based power pop combo Dot Dash are very prolific for a DIY band. Not necessarily on a Guided By Voices scale, but they’ve released six albums over a seven year stretch and gained some very positive support across the net in the process. Some of their earlier works can sound a little ragged and mixed stylistic choices could sometimes make the band seem impulsive, but when on form, it’s always been possible to hear their post-punk and power pop influences shining through the budgetary constraints.
2018’s ‘Proto Retro’ absolutely blows previous efforts out of the water. With a budget that would suit many of the power pop bands of the early 80s – Shoes, Automatics, Off Broadway et al – Dot Dash now sound like a band full of confidence. Along with the vastly improved audio comes vastly improved songs and in material like ‘Fast Parade’ – a three minute belter with the kind of ringing guitars a thousand Big Star wannabes would kill for – they’re a band ready to reach out to a bigger audience.
Washington’s Dot Dash have been releasing independent albums since 2011, but their current release ‘Proto Retro’ is far and away their best yet. They’ve embraced a more commercial style which really should appeal to the power pop crowd.
‘Searchlights’ is Dot Dash‘s fifth album in as many years. It’s hardly surprising the Washington-based garage rockers have been so prolific when you consider that this – their contribution to 2016 – was recorded in just two days. These fifteen songs musically hark back to the days of the UK’s burgeoning post-punk scene and the US’s college rock underground – and for fans of The Jam, The Vapors and middle period Replacements, this album should rattle a few memories and get the adrenaline pumping.
Although the name might not necessarily be familiar, Washington DC’s Dot Dash is a band with an impressive musical pedigree. Vocalist Terry Banks was previously a member of St. Christopher and worked with Julie Ocean; with the latter, he also worked alongside future Dot Dash bassist Hunter Bennett. Drummer Danny Ingram was previously a member of hardcore punks Youth Brigade and Sweredriver, while guitarist Steve Hansgren served key roles within Minor Threat and Government Issue.