Another day, another low-budget, lo-fi extravaganza. It's getting to a point where its hard to pick what's good, and what's been buried under so much fuzz that it's become an indistinguishable mess of tape and reverb. Dag bucks that trend, because his music is more stripped back and bare than the braincells in Tony Abbott's head.
Dag's debut cassette release is the country-tinged tear-weller Dogwood. What does Dogwood mean? Well, it's a kind of tree that looks a lot like Winter. It's got a cold, placid look to it, retired in every sense. That's definitely the fell that Dusty Anastassiou brings to his music. Each song begs the question of "Why bother sticking around? What's left? Why am I here?" Not in a lovesick sense either, but in a self-tortured appreciation instead.
Take the absolute standout miser tune To Be Yours, which recalls the best stuff from Lower Plenty and Kitchen's Floor. It's a song that's laid bare, just skin and bone haughtily tossed in front of us. It's haphazard to its core, and cries with a desperate grapple at self-worth. "You make a man feel like he is no man at all'-It's the kind of lyric that uncovers the real emotions behind the tough, impenetrable ocker stereotype, saying what so many blokes never had the courage to say.
It's all about the delivery as well — Dusty Anastassiou sings his songs the way you'd expect a heartbroken crow who's been dying of thirst in the middle of the Nullarbor to sing their songs. They're unveiled with a slow drawl that is totally unique, and when paired with the precise yet sloppy guitars and paw scratching drums, these songs sink deeper into the consciousness than Leonardo Di Caprio's character from Inception.
There's doubt that Dusty Anastassiou will ever find the answers to the questions he's asking about on Dogwood. But it doesn't matter, because simply asking those questions puts him leagues ahead of everyone else. This dirty, ugly cassette, with its lolling guitars, course vocals and soaring harmonicas, it has more of a riveting nature than any Psych 101 class that Sydney Uni offers. Guess that's what you get when you become disillusioned in the dustbowl of Brisbane.
Guys, we should move to Brisbane.
Originally published at Soundly Sounds. Syndicated with permission.