Tashi Dorji and Tyler Damon — Leave No Trace: Live In St. Louis (2018, Family Vineyard)
Listen [F.V. Bandcamp]
Tyler Damon’s glassy opening cadence on top of Tashi Dorji’s hazy guitar swells form an eerie sonic vignette which gingerly filters into the listener’s ears. One cannot help but recall the lowering gate arm and ringing bell at a level crossing. An apt notion indeed, as the train that approaches is the tandem sounds of Dorji and Damon who set out to incinerate the air as they blast forth from the stereo, full-speed ahead on their second long playing release on Indianapolis’ Family Vineyard. Leave No Trace is two tracks -that’s all the duo need. This release is devoid of any bullshit. “Calm The Shadows” is the sound of meditating heavy machinery. If one listens beyond the immediate bombast, there remains an unmistakable serenity. The flip side of the slab is the titular “Leave No Trace.” At times sparse and reminiscent of the blurred swagger of the A side’s opening bars, yet unafraid to meander into dangerous territory. The duo possess the ability to bewitch and entrance the listener, yet do not shy away from exploring the shadowy interstices which fleetingly appear in their sonic traversals. Few contemporary outfits can take up the platitudinous tools which rock’n’roll has worn down to the point of absolute banality and so masterfully repurpose them to craft something so wholly original, enthralling, and incendiary. Remaining in the discursive universe of rock music(s), one must recall Black Flag vocalist Henry Rollins’ remark that the first time he saw the Clash in the late 1970s. Rollins recalled the group played with such unrelenting ferocity, that it seemed impossible that there would be any corporal or sonic remnants left of the band by the end of the set. Listening to Damon and Dorji, one is able to appreciate these sentiments in a contemporary context. The title isn’t merely a descriptor, rather it’s a statement of intent. As is the case with any collaboration between Dorji and Damon Leave No Trace is not to be missed.