There is something primal and unhinged about this music. Of the many new album releases this week, Sodium by Dasher, out Friday on Jagjaguwar, is perhaps the most challenging while being the most rewarding. Brutal and pummeling, the tunes of Dasher on this, the band's debut LP, are dangerously effective.
Opener "We Know So" sees leader Kylee Kimbrough brutalize both the drum-kit and her windpipes. The song positively roars, a deafening echo of both early Stooges and early harDCore, think Iggy strutting around as frontman of Void and you'll get an idea of what's being unleashed here. If "Resume" continues that whole hardcore vibe, the more expansive "Teeth" moves in other directions, part stoner rock and park No New York, loose waves of twangy guitar finding spaces within the still-punishing drum hits. The excellent title cut continues in a similar vein while the bristling-and-brief "Go Rambo" races past with a near-metal-like sense of fury on the instruments. At their best, like on the Big Black-styled "Slugg", or the Live Skull-like "No Guilt", Dasher manage to channel a whole lot of diverse influences in the process of refining their own brand of brutalist rock. Uncompromising and direct, the tunes on Sodium ooze a malevolent rage that feels wholly natural, like the dark undercurrents that ran through early Black Flag recordings, or the rhythmic unease that permeated Fun House. And, to their credit, Dasher manage to make this stuff relatively nuanced throughout (see closer "Get So Low" with its instrumental flourishes underneath Kimbrough's scorching vocals and harsh-but-precise kit-work).
Full of stunning displays of musical force, Sodium by Dasher is a remarkable record that straddles about a half-dozen different sub-genres with deadly ease. Fans of bands with punch, whose music makes you actually feel alive as a human being, should immediately seek this out. An invigorating blast, Sodium is out on Friday via Jagjaguwar. More details on Dasher via the band's official Facebook page.
[Photo: Anna Powell Teeter]