Like a few us, regular EIO40 contributor and publishing partner John Hartley (@JohnyNocash) has been rather enjoying the latest album from Dot Dash. Here is what he has to say about it…..


Dot Dash
Proto Retro
The Beautiful Music 

New Wave, Shoegaze, Punk, Grunge, Britpop, New Wave of New Wave… labels come and go, but as Washington DC’s Dot Dash demonstrate on their latest album, the art of using guitars to create beautiful songs remains a constant. ‘Proto Retro’ – the band’s sixth long playing release on Canadian label The Beautiful Music – is aptly titled. The songs are immediate, modern, forward-looking yet conversely could have conceivably have been written at any time over the past fifty years. Or, to put it bluntly, the songs are timeless. 

For a three-piece, Dot Dash certainly pack a punch and that they can be a half-dozen albums into their career and still sound so fresh is quite an achievement. Album opener ‘Unfair Weather’ is effortlessly catchy and deceptively simple; there is excellent tunesmithery going on here, strong melodies and well-worked lyrics. ‘Tamed A Wild Beast’ appears to provide a welcome two fingers to the folks who are at pains to document their constant success in life, which is all very well but, as the lyrics suggest “keep it to yourself”.

Without a dud in the twelve songs on the album ,it is quite hard to pick out an individual highlight and coming in at a rough average of two minutes thirty seconds per song there is plenty room for successive listening. The band must have been knackered after playing all three minutes and thirty one seconds of ‘Run & Duck For Cover’, so the least you can do is listen to it three times next time you have a spare ten minutes (10:33, if you’re going to be pedantic).

‘Proto Retro’ has been causing a bit of a stir on social media – certainly within the EIO40 community –  and quite rightly. The album is out now on CD via The Beautiful Music, and can be downloaded from the band’s Bandcamp page.



John Hartley is the author of “Capturing The Wry”, an autobiographical tale of the unsigned side of the music industry, published by i40Publishing and available here. After spending the best part of twenty five years trying to write the perfect pop song he has also turned his attention to writing about those who have done a much better job at it. He tweets as @JohnyNocash and gives away his music, generally for free, at Broken Down Records.


We hope you’ve enjoyed reading John’s review. If you would like to review something new, whether it’s new material or a re-issue then please contact us via email or Twitter @IndieOver40