Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Teeth For Pearls

Posted By on Wed, Jul 30, 2003 at 12:00 AM

So if Jack were Meg and Meg were Jack, and, as long as we’re at it, if six turned out to be nine, you just might have L.A.-by-way-of-Frisco band the Dagons. That’s honeysuckle-throated Karie Jacobson (early Siouxsie meets the Cardigan’s Nina Persson) on vocals and guitar and Mo Tucker acolyte Drew Kowalski on skins. With a bassist but a dim memory of Dagons past, the stripped ‘n’ streamlined duo, on album No. 3, chart a determinedly eclectic course.

Much of the record is high-nrg stuff easily embraceable by the contemporary hipster scene: The psychedelic punkabilly of “You Kill The Dream” and the big-beat, distorto-fuzz garage rawk of the title track, for example — both of which, judging from Jacobson’s murderous, romantic-obsession lyrics, provide an intriguing twist on the concept “the death of the sweetheart.” But the Dagons never risk one-dimensionality, as surreal tunes like “Drill” (P.J. Harveyesque vocals grafted onto the Cramps’ jungle twang) and “On This Bed Forever” (a noir, Nick Cave-like waltz) clearly evidence. One leftfield track, “Urdoguzes,” with its harmonium drone, backward vocal and minimalist shards of percussion, only tangentially relates to rock ‘n’ roll proper. And the album closer, a vocal/acoustic guitar version of the Peggy Lee chestnut, “I Don’t Want To Play In Your Yard,” isn’t even performed by the Dagons themselves, but by an older couple one presumes are Jacobson’s grandparents.

Bottom line: If the Dagons were from Detroit they’d be wined and dined by all the labels eager to grab their slice of Motor Citydom before the bubble bursts. As it stands, though, they’re slogging it out in the quagmire of the seedy LA club scene. If you’re a good citizen and want to make a difference you’ll consult pronto.

E-mail Fred Mills at


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