Every Record I Own - Day 343: Dust Moth Scale
I’ve said it before, but the best music strikes a balance between familiarity and mystery. It should be rooted in enough tradition that you understand its vocabulary, but it should contain enough distinction that you find yourself wondering how it was made. Friends’ bands (and particularly former bandmates’ bands) can be heavy on the familiarity—you operate in the same orbit, ingest the same music, go to the same shows, maybe even collaborate together—but they can sometimes come up short on mystery for those same reasons.
I was initially torn on Dust Moth’s Dragon Mouth EP. On the one hand, it was exciting to hear an old bandmate lead the charge on a new project, but it was also what I expected in terms of sonics. The familiarity was immediately comforting and rewarding, but the sound felt like it might belong more to my past than my present. It was likely my own private hang-up as the EP seemed to resonate with people. Rumor even has it Sub Pop was scouting their shows. But the band quickly retreated from view, replaced a few members of their ranks, and came back reformulated with Scale. Perhaps the time and distance between my tenure with Ryan in These Arms Are Snakes and his work in Dust Moth was long enough that his musical lexicon began to seem strange and magical. Or maybe Dust Moth was always this good and I was just too close to fully appreciate it. Either way, I found their album’s blend of percussive rock, dark psychedelia, goth moroseness, and shoegaze’s layered approach to strike my desired balance of the familiar and the unknown.