DOGJAW / AGATHA: Split: LP

Both bands are part of Olympia’s sprawling punk scene that also includes RVIVR, Sharkpact, and Prank War. Dogjaw shouldn’t be confused with their more pop punk peers, as their songs are sludgy with grunge-esque riffs and delightfully raw production. Dogjaw’s half begins with “Dragon,” which features a brooding guitar melody and an ambling drumbeat. The dual female vocals softly chime in and steadily become more powerful until erupting into a faster beat. The lyrics are open to interpretation with lines like, “With every move the wave reaches out” and “Inside myself I see the tide.” The second track, “Cast Beyond,” is marred by the fact that its vocal melody is almost identical to the first track. That’s the overall issue with Dogjaw’s contribution—the music is varied but the vocals can become gratingly repetitive. The third track, “Tides,” is an overly long instrumental. Agatha’s songs rock. If I skated, I would blast these jams in my earbuds. The vocals are biting and maintain a level of intensity that is a punch to the gut while the pace remains blistering throughout. The lyrics are more overtly political with memorable lines like, “Kissing doesn’t kill and silence equals death. I’ll say it again because us queers forget.” The songs sometimes verge on “fuck the system” lyrical simplicity, but never go off the deep end into becoming cliché. Luckily, Agatha makes up for any setbacks by raging across all four tracks.

 –Sean Arenas (Rumbletowne, [email protected])