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Standout Track: For D.C. power-pop quartet Dot Dash, “The Infinite” provides a piece of connective tissue between its recently released album Searchlights and the rest of its oeuvre. A swoon-y pop song with catchy guitar leads, “The Infinite” is what longtime listeners have come to expect from the band. “We ended up doing a broader array of things [on this record],” says guitarist/vocalist Terry Banks, referring to the harsher songs that make up most of Searchlights. “I like that ‘The Infinite’ kind of connects back to the earlier stuff.”
Musical Motivation: Banks says that he likes to take a minimalist, almost impressionist approach to writing the lyrics of his songs, preferring to let the music drive the words. “I try to go with a fairly ‘haiku’ approach,” he says, “I like fewer words.” That’s because, for Banks, music isn’t about what the musicians think. Rather, music is there for the listener to experience. A Dot Dash song is like an impressionist painting, he says. “That painting is supposed to be hopeful or foreboding or joyous or depressed, and then I just try to put lyrics against it that are kind of abstract. I don’t have a message, but I think maybe the message is in the music, and it either hits you or it doesn’t.”
Fast Tracking: One of the most impressive things about Searchlights is the fact that all fifteen tracks were recorded over the course of a weekend. “Doing it really short and fast and kind of in one or two takes is not part of the aesthetic, which is the case with a lot of bands,” Banks notes. “With us it’s just a function of utility. We’re trying to do stuff that’s really slick and together, but we’re doing it in a weekend.”
Dot Dash performs on Wednesday, Aug. 24 at 6 p.m. at the National Building Museum. 401 F St. NW. $5-$16.