Dasher – Dear Humans
It stings a bit to see Dasher billed as a Bloomington, Indiana band – after all, the band’s productive life was spent in the Atlanta scene, down to drummer/leader Kylee Kimbrough’s tenure as a Star Bar employee. Dasher’s sole studio album – the excellent Sodium – was recorded here as well, sitting on the shelf for over two years before finally seeing release in 2017.
Kimbrough relocated to her Indiana hometown in late 2014, assembling an entirely new lineup to tour following Sodium’s eventual release (reasons behind the move are detailed in a July 2017 Stomp and Stammer feature story). By the time the trio returned to Atlanta for last summer’s Irrelevant Music Festival, she had decided it would be Dasher’s final show, ending the trail where it began.
Dear Humans is the grimy, warts-and-all document of that 529 farewell. The EP’s 20 minutes constitutes the entirety of the evening’s performance – par for the course for a Dasher set. Nothing from Sodium is included, and only one of the six tracks had been previously released – “Time Flys,” an early B-side that Kimbrough substantially reworked and wanted to document before throwing in the towel.
Producer Jason Kingsland clearly deserves more credit for imposing some needed structure on Sodium’s din. Without his steadying hand here, Kimbrough dials up the echo on her vocals to the max, creating an effect that moves from disorienting to grating over 20 minutes. There are germs of good ideas in each song – and her sheer force of will remains audible – but few coalesce into a coherent package. In fact each track breaks down like clockwork a bit past the two minute mark, the drums dropping out and giving way to squalls and loops of guitar feedback.
Anyone looking to understand Dasher’s preternatural power owes it to themselves to check out Sodium. With production values somewhere between a board tape and an audience bootleg, Dear Humans is better suited for dyed-in-the-wool fans, but is a fitting keepsake for a fascinating Atlanta band nonetheless.