When Bruce Willen asked fellow MICA student Nolen Strals to start a band that writes songs about graphic design, it fit into a minor trend of Baltimore concept bands that blossomed at the turn of the century. Amateur local music historian Tim Kabara recalls “a band called Invert that wrote all their songs about skateboarding and played out of the back of a van with a generator outside of shows” forming around the same time.
But Double Dagger — the name refers to the typographical mark — soon found they had a lot more going for them than their gimmick. Their knack for crafting dynamic post-punk barn burners from a minimal vocals-drums-bass format verged on the alchemical. These were quintessential songs, not only more than the sum of their parts, but other than. But maybe that’s just me. Kabara sees their popularity stemming from their being “fun and loud and never boring.”