DAG NASTY: Dag with Shawn: CD

Though I was well aware of ‘em when they first started making the rounds, and have heard them innumerable times over the past twenty-five years, I gotta admit I’ve never picked up anything Dag Nasty. My initial reluctance was based on the fact that at the time I wasn’t all that hip on much of the stuff their local contemporaries—Rites Of Spring, Embrace, Gray Matter, et al—were putting out and they pretty much got lumped in with the lot. Once I’d actually heard ‘em and it was clear they were more on the Minor Threat/Second Wind side of the fence, I just never got around to picking up a copy of Can I Say, mostly because so many of my friends had copies that it almost seemed redundant to procure one of my own. According to the liner notes here, these are the recordings of what was to be their initial album, featuring original vocalist Shawn Brown doing the hollering instead of Dave Smalley, who replaced him. When Brown left, the band went back into the studio, redid the whole shebang with Smalley, and released it as the aforementioned Can I Say. Despite maybe some title/lyrical changes, most of the tuneage sounds the same, different singer notwithstanding—the ragers still rage, Baker’s guitar is a punchy as ever, and “Circles” still possesses one helluva wicked hook. Both those new to the band and those who’ve followed ‘em a spell will find much to like here.

 –jimmy (Dischord)