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I reviewed Brooklyn-based band The Dig a couple times back in 2008, and have kept up with their music since, and–to my mind–May 29’s Midnight Flowers is their most sophisticated release yet.

The album opens with “Red Rose in the Cold Winter Ground”, a steady kick drum keeping the momentum going against a crisp backdrop of synths interlaced with expansive guitar melodies. “Black Water” follows, bearing the band’s distinctive mix of gritty blues and post-punk subtlety.

And so it goes with The Dig, whose two main guitarists trade off singing lead vocals: One gets this interesting mix of songs, some all expansive synthy landscape, some more rhythmic get-up-and-move-your-body-ness.

Not that all of their songs divide up so neatly. “Clouds and The White Noise” stands out as having broad, echoing gestures over top an infectious, body-moving rhythm section.

Another stand out tune for me personally is “All Tied Up”, which is just pure, triumphant post-punk goodness.

Be sure to check out The Dig at Brooklyn Bowl this Saturday, September 8, this’ll be their last NYC show for awhile, and, I promise, their live shows do not disappoint.

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Originally posted on November 22, 2008

Last Saturday saw The Dig onstage at The Studio, a new venue (opened in October) located in Webster Hall’s basement.  Both seasoned and new fans alike traveled through bitter cold rain to gather together at the edge of the stage for a high energy, eleven song set, which began with three songs from The Dig’s 2007 EP Good Luck and Games.  New songs from their recent demo followed, whose subtly harder edge invokes shades of gritty blues and minor-key punk.

The rhythmic interplay between bass and drums in “He’s a Woman” compels the body to move; after this song the bassist asked if everybody was “having a good time tonight?”—and given enthusiastic shouts of “yeah!” from the audience.

“Penitentiary” is an entire song of waiting-to-be-released tension.  Its suspense, deriving both from an oscillating one-two rhythmic and melodic pattern in the music as well as from the lyrics of one “done wrong,” is attractive and unrelenting (so much so that even the barback paused to listen).  Keenly quenching the suspense is a descending line in the keys at the end, followed by a gradual dying out in the guitar, with the final resolution arriving simply and quietly.

The set ended with a dark song, whose verses about a mysterious woman in a black dress are punctuated by the woman’s message in the chorus: “Cry, cry, cry if you can, I am what you think I am.”

As with the Pianos show reviewed here in July, the crowd cries for “one more song!” at the end of the set, and is audibly disappointed when denied.

Check out The Dig at Bowery Ballroom on December 20th.

Originally posted on July 12, 2008

The Showroom at Pianos was packed tonight with eager, jumping boys and girls, their faces upturned to the four skinny, and also jumping, boys of indie-rock band The Dig. With their vivid stage presence and just-homogenous-enough look, The Dig inspired nothing less than dance mania in their audience. When the set was finished, the mania was still going strong, and the crowd began to chant “one more song, one more song.” When The Dig didn’t oblige, a couple guys went so far as to loudly curse them; the audience was palpably frustrated at being robbed of an encore.

The band’s set, which was about ten songs long, was loud and beat-heavy—I thought the drummer was going to rip right through his tom heads—and their songs catchy without being trite, much in the vein of Franz Ferdinand or The Killers. The keyboardist in particular added quite a lot of interest to the songs, and both the lead guitarist and the bassist took turns singing lead vox (both sounding a bit like The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas). Unlike their opening band (Washington D.C.’s Junior League, the latest in a burgeoning line of indie-bluegrass groups), The Dig’s post-punk revival-flavored sound felt right at home on the Lower East Side. As yet unsigned, the cleverly creative and charismatic boys of The Dig stand a chance for success, so catch them at the small venues while you can.