Dag Nasty: Cold Heart 7" (new)

Dischord Records

$6.00

Washington, DC's Dag Nasty have recorded a new two-song single, which will be out in May via Dischord. For this session, the band returned to its original lineup: guitarist Brian Baker, singer Shawn Brown, bassist Roger Marbury, and drummer Colin Sears. The songs were recorded in December of 2015 at Inner Ear Studios with Don Zientara and Ian MacKaye. This single marks the first time that this lineup of Dag Nasty has been in the studio together since October 1985.

Our take: So, Dag Nasty has a new 7" out. When I heard this, my first thought was "which version of Dag Nasty are they wheeling out?" I mean, none of them are really the same... there's the blustery Can I Say version, the more introspective sound of the Peter Cortner years, the slick pop-punk of the Dave Smalley comeback albums. Well, after a couple of listens I feel like the answer is that they haven't resurrected any particular version of the band, but have instead fashioned a new one. With Shawn Brown on the mic the vocals definitely aren't going to have the melodicism of the later stuff with Dave Smalley, but Brown's voice has only strengthened with age. The patterns he uses are still quite similar to the ones he relied on in Swiz, but his voice is deeper and even more powerful now. As for the music, there isn't much of that distinctive riffing style that characterized Brian Baker's guitars on Can I Say (an album that, I have to say, I don't revisit much as a 36-year-old man). Instead, Baker's guitars seem more in line with what's been happening in Bad Religion. The guitars are extremely layered, relying more on harmonies generated by intricately layered, multi-tracked parts than the flashier, riff-oriented work he was doing in the mid-80s. The question, though, remains: is it good? Yeah, it's kind of really good. When I first listened to it I thought "this isn't nearly as bad as I expected," but now I think I'm fully onboard with thinking it's legit good. Would definitely listen to a full-length in this vein if one is in the cards.
Tags: 10s melodic punk