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Baltimore’s Double Dagger is playing their last DC show ever (EVER!) tonight (at Black Cat. with Imperial China opening). Some basic facts: if you’ve seen them live before, you know just HOW GOOD live they are (they’re very good). If you’ve listened to their records (out on Thrill Jockey) before, you know just how fun they are (they’re very fun). Their music is smart, exuberant, loud as fuck (with NO GUITARS involved) and representing that elusive combo of a well done mix of punk, post-hardcore and noise rock. Some more basic facts (drawn out from the facts mentioned before); if you HAVEN’T seen them live before, this is your last chance to do so, so GET TO IT. And if you haven’t listened to their records before, fear not, we asked Denny, Bruce and Nolen to pick their “greatest hits” and break them down for you below. ENJOY (and see you all tonight)

No Allies
If people only remember this Double Dagger song, I’m totally okay with that. I feel like this song really summed up our band ethos succinctly and how we did things in our lifetime. We tried to play shows to as many different crowds as possible in Baltimore. Never pandering to a specific “art” or “punk” audience, as if they are mutually exclusive. Double Dagger was always about blending the two and putting ourselves out there as real as possible. “We Are the Ones” was written on our foam index finger that we had sold at shows for a while. This song would definitely be the middle finger equivalent. – Denny

Helicopter Lullaby
A lot of the songs on More and Ragged Rubble were attempts to strip a song down to a very simple set of elements, often constructing a song from only one or two chords. Helicopter Lullaby is probably the culmination of this minimal approach (almost the entire song is just a single chord), while managing to translate itself into a more layered composition. The song is also an ode to our fair city of BaltiMORE, so naturally it’s close to my heart. – Bruce

Vivre Sans Temps Mort
The lyrics to a lot of our songs are personal, in that they’re always about things that mean a lot to me, but it’s usually more critical in nature. This was the first song where I feel like I exposed myself, who I am, the way I think, all that, on a more intimate (for lack of a better word) level, and it was a little scary to do it. The lyrics took forever to write, because I wanted to come up with something that matched the power of the music. It’s kinda weird seeing people yell really specific, personal, lyrics back at you, but it’s incredible knowing that it’s connected with them for their own reasons. – Nolen

We Are The Ones
I think the lyrics for this song are some of the most powerful that Nolen has ever written. Even though the song has a political theme, it’s treated in a way that is at once sensitive, vivid, and passionate and that gives a broader context that many political songs don’t contain. I love the chaos and noisiness of it all, and the final chorus still gets me every time. -Bruce

Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing

I remember working on the main riff of this song when we used to practice in my parent’s basement. Practicing there was hilarious; it was just so bass-heavy that it would rattle the whole house. My father’s CD collection in the basement were rattling out of the shelving, falling to the floor. My mother would have to take any fragile things off the walls and shelves upstairs as well. Anyhow, I love the way Bruce starts it off with very minimal percussive sounds on the bass. It’s a great example of how he is able to achieve such a dense, layered sound out of that old weird bass guitar, but still keeping it smart, direct, and original. He’s able to go from a wall of melodic noise, to the loudest, powerful basslines ever and not many can do that without ending up sounding like a Guitar Center pedal display. Nolen’s lyrics in this song were really like throwing gasoline on the fire. When we first came up with this, we felt its drive, but once he brought his lyrics to practice, it became a serious beast of a song. -Denny

Sleeping With The TV On

I love this song because of the slow build-up and that the tone and mood change throughout the song, musically and lyrically. Like Vivre it’s one of our more complex songs, is intensely personal, but seems to resonate with a lot of people. On this last tour a lot of people have told us how our music meant a lot to them, and the reaction to this song is always one of the most enthusiastic. I’m really going to miss making this kind of music with Bruce and Denny. -Nolen