New Music | Friday Roll Out: Lyrics Born, Dot Dash


Out this week is the new album, Madman In The Rain (The Beautiful Music), by Dot Dash, a 3-piece out of Washington D.C. This is the group’s 7th full-length release but surely an introduction to anyone who comes across it. The band – Terry Banks (guitars, vocals), Hunter Bennett (bass), and Danny Ingram (drums) – have recorded a 12-song set of tracks filled with jangly guitars and soaring melodies.

This is pretty much the story through every song, played like they’ve thoroughly discovered a style of musicality all their own. Given, the band is good at creating those twee pop songs, but one has to wonder if they’d survive the test of time. Where are we going with this? Well, yes, again we have to make cheap comparisons but when you’re broke, that’s the only option left. Don’t get me wrong though, Madman In The Rain is a pretty good album but the world may remember it as much as it has The La’s, The Mighty Lemon Drops, or The Bats.

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One thing Lyrics Born (Tsutoma “Tom” Shimura) brings to the table is credibility. Over the past 20 years he’s supplied a variety of music, either solo or with Lateef The Truthspeaker as Latyrx. There’s been an evolution throughout the years that has led to this point for the new release Vision Board (Mobile Home Recordings), his 7th full-length release (that is if you consider his Mobile Homies Season 1 release earlier this year.)

Given, Lyrics Born isn’t for everyone, and Vision Board is the punctuation mark for that statement. But it isn’t about his ability to rhyme because Lyrics Born is a beast on the mic. Some might be off-put by his cadence and delivery but he’s an emcee that’s unique and doesn’t subscribe to any particular style or rapping. Musically, “I’m The Best Rapper In The World” is an amalgamation of a number of things. There’s a moment where he rhymes with force, like TKA’s K7 while also including a Digable Planets mood within. The track is sparse that keeps to a certain aesthetic.

Lyrics Born does things his own way, and on “My Favorite Ghost (Phantom Pains) feat. Anjelika Jelly Joseph and Nigel Hall,” there’s a familiarity to his baritone delivery here, channeling the Alabama 3 on this head nodder. Hall & Joseph provide scrumptiously thick backing vocals that are monstrous with harmonies. But I’ve gotten ahead of myself because the opening jam, the infectious “Diamond Door feat. Princess Shaw,” is what sets the tone for the album. Guitars, keys, percussion; they’re all fitted perfectly and cascade right alongside Lyrics’ colorful words and delivery.

Things all come to a head on “Go Ape Shit feat. L-Deez and Cut Chemist.” The dynamics shift here, which works to the song’s advantage. L-Deez drops the hook and Cut Chemist does what he does. Closing things out with “Greatness On Repeat (Go Me!) feat. D Sharp,” we all understand. Braggadocio? Yes, but it doesn’t matter because it’s achieved in a trippy fun way with horns blaring in the distance.

While Lyrics Born is an emcee, with Vision Board there’s no denying he’s made a strong pop record. We could fault him for it if it turned out to be a piece of shit but nope, things are right on track here. From song to song, he hits everything just right.

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