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Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Dogwood -- Matt Aragon

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8/10

Dogwood returns with another lovely punk rock album at the end of the punk rock age. I mentioned in this Dingees review that after the summer of 2001, things stopped being as fun. Well, there were a few holdouts. Exactly two weeks after 9/11, Dogwood released their penultimate album, Matt Aragon. Around this time, Dogwood's label began to phase out punk rock and replace it with...emo, I guess. Actually, I went to Tooth & Nail day at Cornerstone the summer after this album was released, and while the majority of the twenty or so bands that played were actually quite enjoyable, there was a noticeable dearth of punk music. The end of the punk's popularity was coming, but thankfully no one told Dogwood, and with Matt Aragon, they left us twelve delectable and diverse tracks of punk rock goodness.
Fast tempos rule the day (though there are some excellent exceptions) on Matt Aragon (the name of a buddy of the band), but Dogwood make sure to mix it up with varying guitar tones and effects, and good songwriting (I just felt like putting a third parenthetical here). Special mention must be given to Jason Harper's bass playing. He does a great job not only providing rhythm, but breaking from the guitars to provide something different, all while keeping the songs going. Harper's tone is great and the bass is perfect in the mix. Also, the vocals, guitars, drums--all punk rock gold.
For anyone wanting a fun flashback to the time when good punk music was readily available, check out Matt Aragon. For the kids today who hate everything they are hearing, check out Matt Aragon. Music didn't always suck.
"Point/Counterpoint" is an example of everything Dogwood did well: blazing speed, slowing it down, getting a little trippy, attitude-packed outro.

WAHHH!!! 90's/early 00's, why did you have to end???!!!
My two-year old son knows what's up. A few days ago, I started the car with him in the backseat, and Matt Aragon blasted through the speakers. "What's this noise?" he asked. "Daddy, turn it up!"

2001 Tooth & Nail Records
1. 1983 3:26
2. Nothing Is Everything 3:20
3. Matt Aragon 2:41
4. Lonely Road 2:25
5. Juice 3:21
6. Do or Die 3:41
7. Point/Counterpoint 3:07
8. Singular 2:08
9. Challenger 1:06
10. Reasoner 0:38
11. A Hope Unseen 4:06
12. For What It's Worth 3:20

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