CLOAK/DAGGER [I]DONT NEED A[/I]


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Cloak/Dagger
Don’t Need A
Jade Tree

http://chronicyouth.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/3874024571_477a53df22_o-466×465.jpg

It seems like the past decade hasn’t exactly been the busiest for hardcore staple imprint Jade Tree. Aside from releases from Paint It Black, Fucked Up and a few additional artists, the label has been pretty quiet when compared to its indie peers. Well all that is changing with one Cloak/Dagger. Part hardcore, part garage, the D.C.-based band merges the driving rhythms of Hot Snakes, The Stooges and Black Flag. Stoked? Set for release on November 3, Lost Art may the release that boosts Jade Tree back to the forefront. Get a taste of Cloak/Dagger’s ascent into hardcore glory.

Cloak/Dagger’s Lost Art is out November 3 via Jade Tree

DOWNLOAD:

Cloak/Dagger Tour Dates:
09/03 Berlin Germany @ Lokal
09/04 Weimer Germany @ Gerber 3
09/05 Schweinfurt Germany @ Stattbahnhof – Trainspotting Fest
09/06 Dresden Germany @ AZ Conni
09/07 Mülheim Germany @ AZ
09/08 Gießen Germany @ Ak44
09/10 Amsterdam Netherlands @ Winston
09/11 Essen Germany @ Cafe Nova
09/12 Tessenderlo Belgium @ Jh Tessenderlo
09/13 AK Utrecht Netherlands @ Acu
09/14 Gent Belgium @ Frontline
09/15 Karlsruhe Germany @ Jubez
09/16 Rapallo (GE) Italy @ Nota Bene Live
09/17 Vicenza Italy @ Bar Sartea
09/18 Pisa Italy @ La Centrale
09/19 Roma Italy @ Traffic
09/20 Colorno Italy @ La Cascina
09/21 Ljubljana Slovenia @ Rog
09/22 Budapest, Magyarország Hungary @ Duerer Kert
09/23 Brno Czech Republic @ Yacht Club
09/24 Prague Czech Republic @ 007
09/25 Leipzig Germany @ Zoro
09/26 Bielefeld Germany @ AJZ
09/27 Hamburg Germany @ Hafenklang

Cloak/Dagger releasing new album (MP3), playing The Fest

DOWNLOAD: Cloak/Dagger – "I Don’t Need A" (MP3)

Cloak/Dagger

You know what separates a John Reis project from almost every other punk band out there? The man has soul. Richmond punks Cloak/Dagger understand the power of the groove and are back to prove it with a new album due this fall! Lost Art is due on 11/3 and the band has dropped of the first taste of the LP in the form of "I Don’t Need A" available for download above! Preorder Lost Art at their label, Jade Tree.

Cloak/Dagger fit in the fold between punk and garage, and the band aims to prove it when they hit the autobahn (aka Europe, and specifically Germany) this week starting in Berlin. They currently only have one US tour date, at The Fest in Gainesville, FL with a plethora of killer punk bands such as Coalesce, Torche, Asshole Parade, Kylesa, Coliseum, Iron Lung, Light Yourself on Fire, Magrudergrind, Pulling Teeth, Trash Talk, and about 150 others! If you can’t make it down to The Fest, no worries. Although Cloak/Dagger doesn’t have any additional US dates currently scheduled, knowing their habits in the van, expect that to change soon. Tour flyer, full tour dates, and track listing is below….

Cloak/Dagger

Cloak/Dagger – Lost Art Track List
1. Billions Millions
2. Dead Idols
3. Don’t Need A (MP3)
4. Broken Wrists
5. Deathbed Rebels
6. Eyes On The Wall
7. Same Old Story
8. Dead Town Beat
9. Lower Eastada
10. In My Orbit
11. Fast Food Dream
12. Lost Art
13. Tragic Sleep

CLOAK /DAGGER – 2009 TOUR DATES
September 03 Berlin Germany @ Lokal
September 04 Weimer Germany @ Gerber 3
September 05 Schweinfurt Germany @ Stattbahnhof – Trainspotting Fest
September 06 Dresden Germany @ AZ Conni
September 07 Mülheim Germany @ AZ
September 08 Gießen Germany @ Ak44
September September 2009 EW Groningen Netherlands @ Orkz Bar
September 10 Amsterdam Netherlands @ Winston
September 11 Essen Germany @ Cafe Nova
September 12 Tessenderlo Belgium @ Jh Tessenderlo
September 13 AK Utrecht Netherlands @ Acu
September 14 Gent Belgium @ Frontline
September 15 Karlsruhe Germany @ Jubez
September 16 Rapallo (GE) Italy @ Nota Bene Live
September 17 Vicenza Italy @ Bar Sartea
September 18 Pisa Italy @ La Centrale
September 19 Roma Italy @ Traffic
September 20 Colorno Italy @ La Cascina
September 21 Ljubljana Slovenia @ Rog
September 22 Budapest, Magyarország Hungary @ Duerer Kert
September 23 Brno Czech Republic @ Yacht Club
September 24 Prague Czech Republic @ 007
September 25 Leipzig Germany @ Zoro
September 26 Bielefeld Germany @ AJZ
September 27 Hamburg Germany @ Hafenklang
October 31 Gainesville, FL @ The Fest
November 1 Gainesville, FL @ The Fest

CLOAK/DAGGER Announce New Full-Length; Post New MP3!

From the inbox (via the still kicking Jade Tree Records}: Is it punk? Hardcore? Garage? Make up your own mind about Cloak/Dagger’s latest full-length, Lost Art. Colin Barth’s winding guitars juggle melody, punch and vitriol is on par with the Avengers, John Reis, Mission of Burma and Greg Ginn. Play it loud on tracks such as “Deathbed Rebels” that push the punk envelope a bit further with frenzied, circle-pit fodder reminiscent of the Circle Jerks and Big Boys.

Download the new song "I Don’t Want A"

Underneath, snaking rolls of bass drive the proceedings with the flawless percussive thrust of The Ramones, Hot Snakes and bygone Boston hardcore heroes F.U.s and Jerry’s Kids. Over this, Jason Mazzola distinguishes the band with a full, arching tenor that’s more bellow than scream. Mazzola’s delivery and lyrics shine especially on numbers like “Lower Eastada” and “Dead Idols,” where the band’s punk ?°»n roll swagger takes over. After listening to Lost Art, you won’t be worried about categorizing the band, only seeing them when they go back on tour.

* A test pressing of Lost Art will be sneak previewed in the band’s hometown of Richmond at the store/gallery Henry, for the First Friday Art Walk this Friday (9/4). If you live nearby, check it out at 212 W Broad St between Madison & Jefferson in Richmond.

** Lost Art will be released on CD and LP on November 3rd and is now available for pre-order in the Jade Tree Store. Each LP will include a coupon allowing a download of the songs in MP3 format. Andrew Black of The Explosion will be playing drums for the band on their upcoming European Tour.

Cloak/Dagger: [I]Lost Art[/I] album release

Cloak/Dagger’s new album, “Lost Art,” is to be released November 3rd on Jade Tree Records. There is an added bonus on this album: Each LP will include a coupon allowing a download of the songs in MP3 format.

For a look at the album tracks, check out the Full Story page.

The band will also begin their European tour this Thursday and you can check out the dates on the page.

Track List

1. Billions Millions

2. Dead Idols

3. Don’t Need A (MP3)

4. Broken Wrists

5. Deathbed Rebels

6. Eyes On The Wall

7. Same Old Story

8. Dead Town Beat

9. Lower Eastada

10. In My Orbit

11. Fast Food Dream

12. Lost Art

13. Tragic Sleep

Cloak/Dagger Interview

Cloak / Dagger are one of those rare bands that are able to play the sort of music which may look to the past for its influence but still sounds relevant and totally up to date. They inject an energy into their songs which has made every release so far pretty much essential. With a new album in the pipeline, it looks like there will be plenty more to look forward to. Questions by Tony, answers from singer Jason Mazzola, photos nicked form Cloak / Dagger’s MySpace page.

For the uninitiated, can you tell us who is who and what made you all get together to form Cloak/Dagger? Was there any particular pre-conceived idea as to how the band would sound?

I’m Jason and I scream for the Dagger. We started in late 2004 as a not serious at all band. We didn’t have any certain way we wanted to sound but we knew we wanted to keep things on the punker side and wanted to keep things fun. Our big goal was to maybe play a few shows and after we recorded our demo things just kind of picked up from there. We didn’t really plan to do anything big with this band at first. I think everyone’s different tastes in music just came out a little more than I thought they would to make us sound the way we do. We all come from a hardcore background and our tastes have changed but I still think that there is still that hardcore sound in everything we write.

Some (all?) of you have previously been in bands people will know, can you remind us who they were? Does it annoy you when stupid zine writers ask about previous bands?
How does the Cloak/Dagger experience compare to those previous bands?

Me and Drummer Colin were in Count Me Out together and he also played drums in Time Flies and toured with American Nightmare for a little over a year. Guitar player Collin played in Trial By Fire and Matt Michel our bass player played and sang in Haram and Majority Rule.

It’s always cool to me that people remember the bands we have done before although I don’t think that we sound like any of the other bands we have been in. The only thing that bothers me is heavy promotion of ex-American Nightmare since Colin didn’t really write and record anything with AN but a BBC session. I just don’t want anyone to see us and be disappointed because they expected something else.

Compared to the other bands I have done I would say that we seem to be appreciated in a different way. At every show people aren’t going crazy and stage diving but they can still enjoy what we are doing and still be into it. It took a while for me to get over expecting that reaction from shows. Now we don’t expect anything. Touring now is a lot harder than it used to be but I’m also a lot older then I used to be but it’s still fun now and always has been.

You were recently over in the UK, how many dates did you play and was that part of a wider European tour? Did your visit make you want to come back?
That was around two weeks and we flew over just for that tour and loved it. It was the best tour we have done yet because at almost every show there were people excited to see us and that’s all you can ask for. We definitely want to come back at least for the good chips and the good used Fred Perry’s I found in Camden.

What do you do outside that band, do you have full time jobs and are you able to tour a lot, or do you mainly play one-off gigs around your local area?
I temp at an office job right now and haven’t had a problem getting time off but we also don’t really make money at the end of tours either so it can get hard. We were able to break even when we toured the UK and that felt good but we still had rent and bills stacked up and had no money coming in. We do play around Richmond and DC a lot and try to make a weekend out of it if we play any further up north to make it easier on gas and really it’s just better that way. New York, Baltimore and Philly are all so close to us and are all great places to play.

You have just been in the studio, right? Can you tell us about that? Do you enjoy
the recording process, or is it a necessary evil?

We just recorded 15 songs for our second LP on Jade Tree “Last Words, Lost Art”, 13 of the songs are going to be on the LP and we are all very happy with how it came out. I love recording but this time was a bit hectic for me since I flew home early since my girlfriend was rushed to the hospital for her appendix. I found out at 3 p.m. she was going into surgery and booked the next flight which was at 6 a.m. the next morning so I finished up my part that night. There are some things I wish I could change but that is life.

Are you going to continue to work with Jade Tree? What attracted you to them as a label?
I love the tree. They are the only label I’ve ever known or dealt with that sends you a statement where you can see where all the money spent on a record went to. I trust them and think they do a great job. I personally like the diversity in bands they put out over the years and not to mention they released the best 4 Walls Falling LP, Damnation, Lifetime. Those are all bands I looked up to when I was younger and before us they put out Hidden World and Paint It Black so they have a good track record.

What inspires your lyrics? Do you feel you have a platform to educate and inform or are your words more personal than that?

I am just writing lyrics based on where I’m at right now in life and trying to document how it feels to get older and to get concerned with money, death and what we are doing here and with our lives. Sometimes there are some political lyrics just based on how I see things but I would not consider myself that educated in politics. I just don’t trust them.

You have a track on the 7” that came with the Adult Crash book, how did that come about?
Wasted Time was supposed to cover a song for Dave and we see him every week when he works Mondays at a record store here in Richmond. He was telling us about how he needed a band but who is going to be recording in the next week? We were able to record it ourselves with the help of Matt’s brother Paul and get it to Dave in a week or so. He wanted us to cover a band that he had photos of in the book and at first we were going to go for Descendents or Social Distortion but then we thought it would be fun to do Warzone and it was. I love the way that song came out and it’s something I used to listen to a lot on the NYHC comp when I was younger.

Ok, on a personal level, when did you get into punk rock? What happened to
steer you down this path and what do you think it’s brought to your life?

I first got into punk and hardcore around age 12 by trading a skate board for some tapes that had Misfits and Circle Jerks on them. Skate videos always had such awesome sound tracks and I got into Dinosaur Jr., Bad Brains, Descendents all at 14. By 17 I started getting into real hardcore but my first show was Dinosaur Jr. and My Bloody Valentine in Alabama where my dad was stationed in the military for a year. After that it was Lollapalooza and then Lifetime. I think I fell in love with the honesty of punk and core music and without it I would have not seen many of the places I have seen or met any of the people I have met. I’ve also been put in some messed up situations by touring where you have to get through it and not give up. Aside from that it has brought me no money but all happiness. It’s fair.

Is there any particular band, or bands, that you think are essential for people to check out? Who are your have current favourites?

Hot Snakes, the Damaged LP by Black Flag, Pixies, The Wipers, The Stooges. If you’re reading this you already know them but just in case you don’t. My current favourites are The Shitty Limits, Wasted Time, Fucked Up, Pygmy Lush, Sonic Youth, Ladies.

A little bit of politics now; the US has a new president, he seems to be pretty popular all over the world, how is he viewed in the US? Is Barack Obama really different to those that came before him? Can he really make a difference that some people are expecting?

I think that there has never been a president that relates to people the same way that Obama does. He goes out of his way to keep in touch with every day people in DC by going to eat at some of the smaller local owned restaurants around DC and he is a great speaker. I think right now people are sceptical that he can make good on all the change they wanted when he was elected but by being the first African American in office that is a big change and by keeping up the lines of communication with people not in the government that is a change. It really helps to not have W. as the face of the USA right now and I’m happy about that. I think Obama is doing a good job right now but I think a lot of people fear he is too nice or not strong enough to make the same decisions that W. made but I think that’s a good thing. We don’t need another W.

Ok, back to the band, what does the rest of 2009 have in store for Cloak/Dagger?
We just recorded and our planning a trip to Europe in September. It is mostly booked right now and we are going to announce the dates soon. We are going to release some 7”s also with some songs we have had recorded for a while and we are going to keep writing more as long as we stay happy with what we are writing.

Anything else you’d like to say?
Thanks to you and for any one that read this. We are in need of a smaller venue here in Richmond so if you have one don’t fuck it up by fighting or doing what you shouldn’t do in public. That’s common sense.

Cloak/Dagger [I]Surf Song[/I] 7" Review

This 7” is a catchy and fuzzed out little fucker. When I think Jade Tree I think Lifetime or some other emotionally heavy-handed, melodic, sing along style mess. Although not devoid of melody (think ‘Land Speed Record’ Husker Du), and sing along moments this is a pleasant surprise. Side A gives us “Surf Song” which is neither a surf song nor anything remotely celebratory. Cloak/Dagger isn’t having a good time here and are found miles away from the beach. Side B gives us “Concentration Camps”, which although forgettable as a song at least contributes to the record’s juxtaposition of a black and white world through song titles.(TO)
(Jade Tree // www.jadetree.com)

Cloak/Dagger Surf Song 7" Review

Cloak & Dagger have a new untitled single on Jade Tree, which I’ve been putting on here and there this week along with their full length album ‘We Are’ also from the Tree.

I really have to watch that movie again with Henry Thomas, I remember wishing I would bump into some spy on the way from my friends house and he’d give me a secret disk as he was dying and I’d have to get it to the government, and avoid the Commies. Or Red Dawn…I was obsessed…me and my brother stole my dad’s Vietnam coffee table book and built covered traps for the Russians (and each other) in the back yard with sharpened sticks and bent trees back with triplines full of spikes. I’m lucky to be alive. If we had grenades I would have put fishing line on the pin and put that between two trees. That’s not a good book to have around.
All this makes sense with Cloak and Dagger, bear with me….it’s hardcore punk, with a produced giant sound. This is the big budget movie version of Black Flag. If Minor Threat was Red Dawn, classic and awesome (Patrick Swayze, Tom Cruise!) then Cloak & Dagger is Die Harder, it’s rooted in classic history, but updated… it’s fast paced and things fly from the screen at your face.

The A-Side ‘Surf Song’
This is produced huge sounding completely punk. The only reference I have for anyone even like it is Fucked up or Hot Snakes. It sounds completely loud: it’s mixed loud, the vocals are fighting their way through layers of punchy distortion, the cymbals are practically the only quiet thing, which makes no sense.
The vocals are a mix of yelled individual vocals and then at the chorus everyone chimes in…you know the deal. Not surf punk…post punk that’s talking about surfing.

No Sand / No Surf / No Sun / Real life is not much fun

It sounds fun for Cloak / Dagger

Concentration Camp: More fullness, like every square inch of frequency is being occupied by some instrument. A couple of guitars it sounds like, phasing. The bass and kick are dominating the low end.
That’s a split for you…surf song and then by the way our B-Side is called Concentration Camp. Now in their defense it sounds like they mean it literally. They are concentrating and they happen to be in a camp…it’s not the Nazi version. I could be reaching, but I know it’s not the Nazi kind for sure….as punk as that can be, they are taking the higher road.

I’ve been comparing these tracks to their full length from a couple years ago and I have to say it, they are kind of giving into their pop side…this is very Hot Snakes…who I always felt like they were just doing what they wanted, not really trying to please anyone in particular, what was fun to play, to record. The songs are the same length, the speed it there, the instrumentation…it just ends up being a little softer (wow, is that ok to say?) not as angular, abrasive. There’s melodies now I keep wanting to go back to.

Direct from Jade Tree…home of the late Pedro the Lion and Cap n’ Jazz. They’ve been at this for years…..

Cloak and Dagger

1. Surf Song
2. Concentration Camp

Layout by Rich Perusi
Mixed by Paul Michel

Colored Vinyl
500 Black
500 Clear

[B]CLOAK/DAGGER[/B] 7" Review

2 songs on 7 inches from 1 band with 2 names; Cloak/Dagger’s latest 7" offers two more upbeat songs of self-loathing punk rock that belong on your turntable.

Where 2007′s We Are was some frantic, jangly, almost jazzy punk groovin’, this record is more straightforward and simple. (Dare I utter the word "pop"? Listen to "Concentration Camps" and decide for yourself.) Makes sense in the seven-inch format; there’s not nearly as much room to play around. A brisk two minutes per side leave me wishing this were a cube instead of a flat circle (6 sides > 2).

The vocal performance is also slightly different from past recordings. It’s as if the desperation from songs like "Sunburnt Mess" has been ever-so-subtly replaced with a suspicious apathy. There’s no lyric sheet but most of the vocals are intelligible, at least enough to discern that these guys haven’t found eternal happiness just yet.

As always, extra points for offering song downloads with the vinyl, but this really sounds great at 45rpm.

[B]CLOAK/DAGGER[/B] [I]We Are[/I] Review

I’m really supposed to be writing a paper right now, but this album has made that basically impossible. I know I’ve been slacking on this blog for the past half-month, etc. Let’s get into it.

I first saw and heard Cloak/Dagger when they were opening for Lifetime right after that band put out their phenomenal self-titled album (quick note, an album that stands just as high as Hello Bastards and Jersey’s Best Dancers, making for one of the best 3-for-3 runs any band has had in my mind). They played to a slightly confused crowd, most of whom were actually there for The World/Inferno Friendship Society (another quick note: while I like the band, their shows are obnoxious experiences only because you’re constantly getting slammed into by very nicely dressed ladies and gents who have no other desire beyond shoving you the fuck out of their way. Like, even before the band started playing). However, they had me sold.

Perplexingly, Cloak/Dagger contains one member of the underrated and defunct Renee Heartfelt, but they couldn’t be any further from that band’s effective Quicksand-aping. It’s been stated a bunch of other times, but Cloak/Dagger somehow manages to slip into that comfortable slot between Hot Snakes and 80′s hardcore. A couple of years after seeing them, I finally picked up their debut full length, We Are, at some used CD store that is currently slipping my mind. It would be months before it came up on my iTunes on my list of stuff to listen to.

Honestly, this is not the band I remembered seeing opening for Lifetime. It’s a band that’s like ten times better. A great deal of this credit goes to producer Chris Owens (who also handles guitar/vocal duties in the completely batshit insane Lords), a guy whose production work I have always admired. Owens really knows how to take a band and make them sound as raw as humanly possible without it devolving into a 2-track tape hiss/fuzz mess. The drums hit like punches to the stomach, and constantly seem to be on the verge of peaking, resulting in album that completely tramples the listener. Oddly enough, I see a lot of Owens in this band’s vocal style, in which phrases are stretched out and given a little upwards inflection at the end of each line.

The first song on here had me a bit worried, as it initially seems like the biggest Hot Snakes rip of the bunch, namely the song "Braintrust" off of Audit In Progress. However, the aping quickly stops once "Sunburnt Mess" kicks in, which I swear could have been an unrecorded Minor Threat song. While there isn’t really anything on We Are that sticks out head and shoulders above the rest, it’s of little consequence. It’s an album that doesn’t give you time to breathe or think about things, where total destruction seems like its ultimate goal. There’s hardly any room left between songs, and just when things seem like they’re going to slow down a bit, after the mostly instrumental "JC Pays The Bills," "Hollywood Hills," immediately dispels that notion.

Basically, if I had to classify any album I’ve listened to in the past couple of weeks as a "complete and utter shredder," it would be this one. Hats off.

"When this band breaks up I will just do karaoke." interview with Jason Mazzola (Cloak / Dagger)

First time i’ve ever seen some of these guys was when Count Me Out played their one and only european tour at a small town near to my hometown. It was on my birthday and to prove Steven Patrick’s right the show just wasn’t that fun. The turn out was weak and the whole night suffered the lack of the goood vibe punk/hardcore shows most of the times have. At that time i wasn’t already into Count Me Out. What proved that i should pay attention? They soundchecked with Lose Yourself from 8 mile’s ost (what was coming out that time). And it was funny. And cool. So Count Me Out broke up and i got into them. How typical? Then i got into some of the bands their ex members had featured in. And finally one day i discoverd Cloak / Dagger. For the first it was just an awesome punk/hardcore band that has more what they show. And i was right. The fucking lp is a killer! It puts together everything i like in music everything and everything i like in punk. I’ve listened to it countless times when i was walking around, taking the night bus drunk, dish washing, laying on my bedroom’s floor. There is no mood they don’t fit in. It has noise, energy, paranoia and fun fun and fun. I was siked when they first came to europe and more siked when i had the opportunity to see them in Vienna and Budapest. It was one and a half year ago but i would still say it was the last real punk show that happaned here (in budapest). Crowd went crazy, danced like they don’t care and also on drugs, confetti and candy were flying, drinks were spilled, summersault were thrown. Watching that was like the perfect pictures for the music and it just felt so right to be a part of it. And then it was over. They have gone further and here was just no band that i could care to go, see and get crazy.
The weird thing was: I’ve found a picture from the vienna show of my friend and i are screaming in front of the stage C/D is playing. And i sent it to him. He responded with dates what the Daggers are playing in the uk within two months. And at that moment it just became obvious that we have to go. I had to finish my thesis to get a diploma but to be honest i cared and wondered more about the shows. We flew in, ate and drank everything overpriced, slept on the streets in november, saw homeless fights, got yelled at, had long distance train and bus rides but it worth it. Totally! We saw them 4 times and whatever happened after and before the shows it just doesn’t matter now and didn’t matter then. In whatever situation we were we just waited for the show to kick in. So i say it without hesitation Cloak / Dagger is one of the best bands of punk rock ever!

Ps.: Needles to say the members are pure awesome! Why? Because they gave me free beer!

This is an e-mail interview with Jason Mazzola their singer. He fronted Count Me Out as well. He’s a pretty good drawer, writes awesome lyrics, wears decent shirts and says milky almost as cool as LL Cool J.

How you doin’? What are you up to these days?

I’m doing good today. I just saw Cro Mags this weekend. We just practiced for a few hours and have written 17 songs for our next lp over the last year. We are recording it next month back in Kentucky where there is one of the best skate parks I have ever been to or seen, can´t wait.

What did you do and what were the things you most missed while you weren’t in a band?

When I wasn´t in a band I tried my hardest to get a normal job and be happy making money and being bored. It´s hard to not have anything to look forward too. When I was working 50 + hours a week and making good money I still didn´t have anything to keep me going. Now I can look forward to playing shows or going on tours or just writing and recording songs. It keeps me creative all the time and I missed that a lot when I wasn´t in a band. I even jumped in with friends bands just so I could travel but it´s a lot more fun actually playing shows.

How important for you to be in a band? In point of you have to put on shelf sometimes even give up lots of other things what ordinary people would find important in life or goals to achieve.

It´s definitely hard to be as old as I am and to have no money saved up but I have seen and done a lot of things I would have never seen by being in a band. You meet people all over the world and some are the best people you will ever meet and some of them are the worst you will ever meet. I would have never seen Europe and the US like I have. Even if I went on my own it wouldn´t be the same as being with a band. I think that to most people money and material things mean the most so they have something to show for their work. I have good memories and no money. It´s still worth it.

I’ve read an interview with you in the reflections ‘zine couple years ago where you said you don’t want to be a singer who lives from his ex-bands, and in music you respect dudes who like to move forward do different things and then retire. was it important for you that cloak / dagger plays much different music than count me out did? how far would you go with experimenting new things in playing music? And when would you retire?

I think that cloak/dagger is going to be it for me music wise. I was really proud of what CMO did as a band and I wouldn´t want to try to recreate what we did before since it wouldn´t be as sincere as it was when I was in that band. I am proud of the lyrics and songs this band has and we have some songs on the punk/core side of things and some on the rock side and I see this band as way more experimental then a standard punk or core band. I don´t have any interest in trying to be in an indie rock band or start rapping yet. When this band breaks up I will just do karaoke. We tried to stay away from ex-members promo when this band came out and it made things harder for us at first but now I´m glad we didn´t hype that up.

That is a long list of your ex bands but in most of them two or three of you played with each other. So when should a band broke up if the members are still friends and like to hang with each other?

That´s a hard thing to say but you know when the time is right. With CMO we were all good friends and loved hanging out but Pete and Colin wanted to start writing for Renee Heartfelt and you could tell that´s where all their energy was going. Garth was gone a lot with Strike Anywhere and Colin was gone with AN a lot so it just seemed like the right thing to do to end things on a high note. With Cloak I want to call it quits when it stops being fun or when we start writing bad songs.

It’s in Our Band Could Be Your Life that Deep Wound broke up after all of them lost their virginitis. Is there any sexual act what could trigger such schocking change in the life of Cloak / Dagger?

If we were to all sleep with each other that would just make things awkward at practice but we all have girlfriends.

You’re from Richmond and if my geographic skills don’t cheat me it’s on the east coast. but in your lyrics you’re refering often to the west coast (LA, Hollywood). why is it? Is it conscious? For an outsider of american politics like me it looks like the east controls politics (Washington DC), economy(New York), etc and the west is responsible for the media. You’re more pissed about the brainwashing what comes from the tv more than about what comes from the white house or i just overthought this and it’s simply a rivary between the two coasts like in hip hop?

When I was writing for We Are I was really into how much the media effects what people think. People try to recreate the lives of famous people and live like they are in a movie and that´s all from California mostly. That´s where all the famous people live and they report all the entertainment news from. Anna Nicole Smith died and it was on CNN all day long and every other news channel and there´s a lot more important things going on. DC has a lot of politics going on that I don´t agree with that I´m not smart enough to address so I sometimes touch on it if I feel that I can back up what I´m saying. I watched a lot of TV so I know a lot about that brain washing. East Coast rap is so much better then West Coast. The Notorious movie is so much better than 2 Pacs. His sucked.

For me cloak/dagger seems to wraped around with sarcasm. but also dealing with more serious issues than most of your previous bands. Why is it that you became more serious but also more fun?

It´s true. When we started this band I always said I would want to keep it fun. I loved CMO but it was a very serious band and hard emotionally to sing some of those songs. Now I can be serious but be sarcastic at the same time to make a point. Live shows can be a lot of fun with this band and I think part of that is the lyrics are fun at times.

Most of the lyrics seem to me as they born in a period or in state of mind when you become old enough that you have to start to fit in with your punk attitude to the world of grown ups. But it’s more usual that you start giving up the attitude you’ve formed during most of your life rather than caring less about what to do in the real life. And thats when i fill the power of your lyrics. The hessitating between what should us do, which way will worth it more?
So the questions are. What does to be a grown up mean to you. Does it go along with giving up something and does punk equal youth?

It´s hard growing up and there´s young until I die and other songs that make you feel proud to be young and core but not many songs that tell you how hard it is to grow up and be punk or it´s alright not to believe in buying into the American dream when you are old so that´s where we come in. I definitely think that hardcore and punk is a youth thing but that it´s also an all ages type of thing to. It´s hard sometimes to watch someone who hasn´t experienced life as much say they will never do this or that. I have a lot of respect for people who still believe in the power of this music but are older.

Is there any agreement within the members what cloak / dagger should be about? Or do you have a collective attitude, principles like Black Flag had the ?°?play as much and as hard as we can” thing?

Operation shock and awe!

Lots of people talking about this theory that due to the economic meltdown music will be more interesting again. And i also think it’s true cause if the circumstances are worse people get more inspired. Even though it’s kinda sad and lame as well that people need an economic meltdown to be interesting or have something real to say. What’s your opinion about this?

I think that things are really bad here right now. I´m trying to find a job and it´s near impossible and that anger is going to come through in a lot of music. They are also saying that the crime rate is going to jump up since everyone is poor so it could get bad.

What features make a band to a really good band?

I think good bands don´t try to stick to a formula and play with good intentions. People that are in bands to make money and think they are going to have a career are very easy to see and honest bands are just as easy to point out. It also helps when bands are in tune.

While technology is improving independent bands have more and more opportunity. but punk rock still has it’s traditions heavly rooted in old fashioned things like fanzines, demo tapes, vinly. These things are better than a blog or an ipod it’s beyond question but with social networking sites more bands have the opportunity to tour and with file sharing sites it’s getting easier to show the world what you’re doing. So are you pro or against this process? what do you think in what point should technology stop in punk?

I think that right now it´s as far as it should go. It´s great to be able to e-mail a band directly you like to try to play shows or to get to hear you. At the same time there are so many bad bands going on tour and promoting their music that the good ones get over looked.

Also with this easiness punk rock lost it’s risk and it’s such romantic feeling. In your mind is it bad? Should we miss the risk?

It is a bad thing when I can go to a blog and download 20 bands and then listen to just 1 or 2 of them. I think that with everything so easy to come by people don´t appreciate music as much. It used to be really hard to find records or tapes of bands you liked. I think people take that for granted these days and that is definitely a bad thing.

Have any of you dated close-to-be famous models since pitchfork gave a positive review to your record?

Our guitar player Collin went on a date with some coc heads in bright colored shirts after that. I´m too hardcore but he´s pretty.

Csongrád and Szentes are two cities here in hungary. But their hardcore scenes are not supporting each other. What would be your suggestion? John Joseph adviced unity and Mike from Fucked Up suggested war but neither of their messages worked out. So what is your?

Virginia Beach is about 2 hours from Richmond and there was a lot of fights between the two cities years ago. Big fights, people chased around the city by 20 to 30 kids. People hit with pitchers of beer. Then after a while people moved here from there and everyone became friends and everything was cool. After that everyone joined forces and started fighting with jocks. I would go with that. Fight to unite.

Whats your favorite dinosaur?

Dinosaur Jr.

Review: [B]CLOAK/DAGGER[/B] 7"

I’ve been singing the praises of Cloak/Dagger for quite some time now. Their 2006 full-length We Are (which was my #1 album of that year) is still constantly played on my iPod, turntable, cd player, what have you. Now the boys are back with a brand new “untitled” 7-inch for Jade Tree Records. And jesus christ, they’ve done it again. Cloak/Dagger can do no wrong!

Read more after the jump.

They are seriously one of the more under-appreciated punk bands out there. The two songs, The Adolescents-inspired “Surf Song” and Hot Snakes-esque rumble of “Concentration Camp,” aren’t that much different from their last album but hey, if it ain’t broke, why fix it? I’m certainly not complaining one bit.

Cloak/Dagger are one of the best punk rock bands around and these two songs make me want a new record even more. I just read on their site that they are planning on getting in the studio this spring, so I’m hoping it won’t be long until I get my wish. I won’t give you a top ten list this time around; just go get this now.

Cloak/Dagger Surf Song 7" Now Available In Stores and Online


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If you’ve been fiending for new material by the Daggers, we have a surprise for you. Richmond’s CLOAK/DAGGER return to burn through two more of their signature anthems to alienation on this 7 inch. The SWIZ and Jehu references still ring true, but the Daggers have solidified their own sound and forged on. “Surf Song” resonates with anyone estranged by the detachment of the modern technological era (and maybe some geographically challenged would be surfers). On the flip, “Concentration Camps” gives us the tender side of CLOAK/DAGGER with brooding on the frustration of an infatuation-based attention deficit disorder. “Real life is not much fun” according to CLOAK/DAGGER, but with a single like this added to the mix, we beg to differ.

The 7" is now available in fine record stores that carry vinyl singles and in the . Each record includes a coupon with a unique code allowing the customer to download the songs in MP3 format.

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Track List:
1. Surf Song
2. Concentration Camp

Pressing Info:
500 Clear (From Band and eStore)
500 Black

The band will be selling the 7"s at all upcoming shows, including the following already scheduled shows. Check the for updates.

02/19/2009 Washington, DC United States @ Black Cat Backstage
03/15/2009 Richmond, VA United States @ Nara Sushi w/Obits
05/05/2009 Richmond, VA United States @ Nara Sushi w/The Stitches, Government Warning

CLOAK/DAGGER also graced us with an amazing Warzone cover from New York City Hardcore: The Way It Is. The song was recorded for the new photo book Adult Crash put together by Dave Brown. The book includes over 400 photographs and anecdotes from John Joseph, Chaka Malik, Taylor Steele and Paul Bearer. For information about the book check out the

The debut album We Are on CD and LP is still available from , fine record shops everywhere and digital music services:

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CLOAK/DAGGER 7" REVIEW

A brand new offering from the ever wonderful Cloak / Dagger; this time a two track 7”. I was able to get myself a copy of the clear vinyl version, and looking at the record takes me back to the early days of buying records and bands like UK Subs would put out coloured vinyl singles; it excited me then and this excites me now. But enough of that, are the songs any good? Damn straight they are, and although not super fast, they are still brimming with drive and energy. “Surf Song” is one of those songs that demands repeated plays; I had to play it over and over again before I even took a listen to the other side of the record, and that’s always the sign of a very good song. It’s obviously Cloak / Dagger, but it’s somehow a little different from what they’ve done before, not much and not anything drastic, so don’t go worrying. When I finally got round to flipping the record over I repeated the process of multiple plays with ”Concentration Camps”, which is a song much more reminiscent of the sound of their album, and another winner. Bloody great, that’s what this is.

CLOAK/DAGGER 7" NOW AVAILABLE IN ESTORE


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If you’ve been fiending for new material by the Daggers, we have a surprise for you. Richmond’s CLOAK/DAGGER return to burn through two more of their signature anthems to alienation on this 7 inch. The SWIZ and Jehu references still ring true, but the Daggers have solidified their own sound and forged on. “Surf Song” resonates with anyone estranged by the detachment of the modern technological era (and maybe some geographically challenged would be surfers). On the flip, “Concentration Camps” gives us the tender side of CLOAK/DAGGER with brooding on the frustration of an infatuation-based attention deficit disorder. “Real life is not much fun” according to CLOAK/DAGGER, but with a single like this added to the mix, we beg to differ.

The 7" is available in the now and will be seeing store shelves on February 17. Each record includes a coupon with a unique code allowing the customer to download the songs in MP3 format.

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Track List:
1. Surf Song
2. Concentration Camp

Pressing Info:
500 Clear (From Band and eStore)
500 Black

The band will be selling the 7"s at all upcoming shows, including the following already scheduled shows. Check the for updates.

01/28/2009 Richmond, VA United States @ Nara Sushi with Government Warning, Social Circkle, and The Ladies (Record Release Show)
02/19/2009 Washington, DC United States @ Black Cat Backstage

CLOAK/DAGGER also graced us with an amazing Warzone cover from New York City Hardcore: The Way It Is. The song was recorded for the new photo book Adult Crash put together by Dave Brown. The book includes over 400 photographs and anecdotes from John Joseph, Chaka Malik, Taylor Steele and Paul Bearer. For information about the book check out the

The debut album We Are on CD and LP is still available from , fine record shops everywhere and digital music services:

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CONCERT REVIEW: CLOAK/DAGGER

10. Cloak/Dagger and Scanner Freaks and Police & Thieves, Jan. 13, Black Cat Backstage

Top to bottom, this bill at Black Cat’s Backstage was the best hardcore show I had a chance to see this year — granted I worked too late to catch Cloak/Dagger and Police & Thieves open for F***ed Up and Vivian Girls a couple of months ago. Staying in line with the introductory theme of their debut LP, "We Are," Cloak/Daggers opened the set with a furious announcement, "Daggers Daggers," a short hardcore burst of "We are daggers and we don’t care! We just did it for the money!" from the "Piñata Breaks" seven-inch. Screaming Dagger Jason Mazzola set the tone, flailing his all-American (read: beer-bellied) body about the stage in a "Loveless" T-shirt — a word that fits with the band’s themes but a sound contrary to this sort of music. From there on out, the band focused on material from "We Are," the best hardcore record of ’07, quickly addressing the incessant theme of non-conformity that runs through the LP. Scanner Freaks share Cloak/Dagger’s love of ’90s San Diego punk and early hardcore, but they don’t venture too much to the West, preferring to stay right in D.C. They are the D.C. band that best rivals what the Richmond headliner is doing, but their sound fit better with Dischord post-hardcore. Scanner Freaks guitarist John Riley was the hardest working man in hardcore Sunday, pulling double duty, as he also is a member of like-minded Police & Thieves, who started things off with an intense, short set of hardcore falling somewhere in between San Diego and D.C. — but not anywhere near the Midwest.

CLOAK/DAGGER COMPUTING IN THE UK


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CLOAK/DAGGER have embarked on their latest outing. Find them in the United Kingdom with for the next two weeks at any of the venues listed below.

Remember to check the for the most current listings.

11/13/2008 Norwich, Norfolk England @ The Marquee (Norwich)
11/14/2008 Manchester England @ Retro Bar
11/15/2008 Leeds England @ The Packhorse
11/16/2008 Quayside, Newcastle Upon Tyne England @ The Cooperage
11/18/2008 Hull, East Yorkshire England @ Ringside
11/19/2008 Kingston England @ Fighting Cocks
11/20/2008 Exeter, Devon England @ Exeter Cavern
11/21/2008 Plymouth, Devon England @ White Rabbit (Plymouth)
11/22/2008 Sheffield England @ Upper Thorpe Hotel
11/23/2008 London England @ The Old Blue Last
11/24/2008 Southampton, Hampshire England @ King Alfred
12/05/2008 Philadelphia, PA United States @ The Khyber
12/06/2008 BROOKLYN, NY United States @ The Charleston

We Are is available from and fine record shops everywhere.

In Europe We Are is available from our friends at .

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Track listing:

1. Bended Knee
2. Sunburnt Mess
3. Runways
4. Kamikazes
5. New Years Resolution
6. Walk the Block
7. J.C. Pays the Bills
8. Hollywood Hills
9. Generato
10. Red Hair
11. Set the Alarm
12. Last Call
13. Quit Life

Also, keep in mind that it’s getting cold out there. It would suit any self respecting Dagger fans quite well to pick up some new threads:

Interview with Jason from Cloak/Dagger

First, What is your name and what do you do in Cloak/Dagger?

I am Jason Mazzola and I scream for the Dagger.

You guys have been a band for a couple years now, how have the bands personal influences changed since the start of the band? How has the punk and hardcore scene changed (in your opinion) since the start of the band?

When we first started we were big on Circle Jerks, D.I., Black Flag without Henry and some garage rock. Now I’m big into The Stooges and Black Flag with Henry. Punk and the Core is at a real good time right now where people don’t follow the rules of being "punk" or "hardcore" as much. There are a lot of bands just playing what they want to play and drawing from a bunch of different influences that don’t worry about fitting into a category. I am proud to say we are a part of that.

It’s not every day you come across punk and hardcore bands getting comparisons to bands like Hot Snakes, was it the bands intention to write songs that didn’t fit the usual hardcore mold?

Not at all. We just decided to do a faster more traditional hardcore band and the songs just turned out the way they did. We all like a lot of different bands and I think that combined things just ended up the way they did. Me and Collin Barth love Hot Snakes and you can hear a bit of their influence in his guitar playing but you can also hear Greg Ginn and obscure jazz musicians I don’t know that he plays in the van in his playing.

Your debut record, We Are was released on September 11th 2007, was that intentional or coincidence? Do you guys consider yourselves a political band? What are your views on the current state of America?

We just happened to be released on 9/11. It was a high terror alert. I don’t know if I would call us a political band because the lyrics we have aren’t over the top political but we have played a war protest show in DC and a free show to get people to register to vote here in Richmond. I think that world wide the U.S. does not have a good reputation right now and that if all goes well the next president can turn that around. People need a different face to associate with the U.S. Bush is not doing anything for them.

Do you think the Reagan era is comparable to the Bush era? Does it seem that people, more specifically people in punk/hardcore, are caring less about their political environment?

Definitely. Bush is the new Reagan, 10 years from now when we look at fliers with W. on them it’s going to be the same as seeing Black Flag fliers with Ronnie on them. I think people involved in this music are still political and it shows. I just think people choose a time and a place for it and not every show has to have that underlying theme there. Sometimes people just want to go to shows and hang out. Hardcore doesn’t seem as political as it was in the 90′s to me but I am also older and different view points on politics don’t seem so extreme to me. The first time I heard a band speak against the government I was shocked.

Cloak/Dagger has a couple shows coming up in Europe, is this the bands first time to Europe? Any cool stories? What are the bands plans after you return from Europe?

This is our 2nd time going over but this time it’s just to the UK. Last time we were there I broke my foot on stage and had to finish the 2 and a half weeks of the tour with a plaster cast. It was awful, the food was good, we lost a lot of money but we can’t wait to go back. We have 9 new songs written and keep writing more. We are releasing a 2 song 7" on Jade Tree that is in the works now.

Speaking of shows, you guys are also playing the Fest in Gainsville this year. Is this the first time playing the Fest? What bands are you siked to see?

This is going to be our 3rd year playing The Fest and it’s always a good show to be on and to go to. I’m looking forward to seeing Paint It Black, Municipal Waste and New Mexican Disaster Squad’s last show. Sad to say there’s no Marked Men this year.

Is punk/hardcore a young mans game?

Definitely. The older you get the harder it is to go on tour and come back home to bills and debt. It is also hard to drive hours to a show and not even make gas money back after playing. All that aside I love it but it takes it’s toll on you when you get older. Rent and gas add up.

Finish the sentence: If I wasn’t in a hardcore band, I would be…

Drawing more and would not be broke.

Any last shout-outs?

Thanks to anyone that read this and you.

CLOAK/DAGGER "WE ARE" VINYL OUT NOW


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CLOAK/DAGGER‘s We Are is finally available on vinyl from . Vinyl fans have waited patiently for almost a year to get their hands on this one. If you happened to miss it, Grave Mistake also has available the Kamikazes 7" single which features a rendition of the Modern Lover’s classic "She’s Cracked".

Pick up both in the .

The band will have both for sale at tomorrow’s (7/11) show with Hot Water Music at the Trocadero Theater in Philadelphia. If you’re lucky, you might be able to get one of the limited silkscreened LP covers, but no promises.

07/11/2008 Philadelphia, PA United States @ Trocadero
07/23/2008 Richmond, VA United States @ Nara Sushi
07/26/2008 Baltimore, MD United States @ The Talking Head Club
08/15/2008 Richmond, VA United States @ Best Friends Day w/ Municipal Waste, Paint It Black

The We Are CD is still available from and fine record shops everywhere.

In Europe We Are is available from our friends at .

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Track listing:

1. Bended Knee
2. Sunburnt Mess
3. Runways
4. Kamikazes
5. New Years Resolution
6. Walk the Block
7. J.C. Pays the Bills
8. Hollywood Hills
9. Generato
10. Red Hair
11. Set the Alarm
12. Last Call
13. Quit Life

CLOAK/DAGGER – We Are 12" Out Now

CLOAK/DAGGER – We Are 12" Out Now
Posted by Jordan A. Baker / June 30, 2008
From the inbox:

Via Grave Mistake Records: That’s right! The vinyl version of the CLOAK/DAGGER full length We Are is now available! We Are officially came out on CD last fall on JADE TREE RECORDS, and we know that a lot of you have been waiting VERY patiently for the vinyl release so here it is. The record was remastered by Dan Randall at MAMMOTH SOUND and sounds better than ever! This is actually the first LP that GRAVE MISTAKE has done since the label started, and we couldn’t be happier with how everything came out. If you have yet to check out this record, then now would be the perfect time to do so.

We tried to get some colored vinyl pressed up for this LP, since everyone loves the limited stuff … unfortunately as the record went to press, there was a color vinyl shortage and a handful of pressing plants (including the one we used) had nothing available. Since we couldn’t do this record without having some type of fun little version, we went to plan B. What this plan entailed was to somehow con Matt, the new C/D bassist, into screening up a bunch of special covers. Lucky for us, Matt has his own little silkscreening company (www.creativepanic.com), so not only was he thrilled to do these but they came out looking brilliant! Turns out, not only is he a pro at screening LP covers, but a one color screen to him was a walk in the park … check out his site for some other awesome show posters he’s done.

Anyways, enough nerd talk … the 12" is now available in the GRAVE MISTAKE WEBSTORE (www.gravemistakerecords.com/catalog) and the Silkscreened versions are all ready to go! The screened versions are limited to one per person, but you can order as many regular versions as you’d like! So head on over and order this thing … because honestly they are taking up a lot of room in my apartment. Or you can pick up the LP from your favorite distro in the next several weeks. The Daggers will also have a fair share of the screened version too so check them out as they are playing a handful of east coast shows this summer.

CLOAK/DAGGER TO PLAY FREE SHOW AT GENERATION RECORDS


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Great news just came across from Generation and CLOAK/DAGGER:

On Sunday, May 18th, CLOAK/DAGGER will be stopping by Generation Records for an in-store performance. The free show begins at 4 P.M. and space will be very limited. Get there early, shop around, and then enjoy one of the best bands on the scene today for free! Check out Generation’s Myspace for any further updates.

We Are is available from and fine record shops everywhere. Don’t fret, vinyl folks, We Are will be available on vinyl soon! Keep a look out for news on that front.

In Europe We Are is available from our friends at .

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Track listing:

1. Bended Knee
2. Sunburnt Mess
3. Runways
4. Kamikazes
5. New Years Resolution
6. Walk the Block
7. J.C. Pays the Bills
8. Hollywood Hills
9. Generato
10. Red Hair
11. Set the Alarm
12. Last Call
13. Quit Life

CLOAK/DAGGER READY FOR CANADA


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CLOAK/DAGGER are putting the finishing touches on their latest travel plans at this very moment. The band will head to Canada on April 25th, but only after sharing the stage (or store) with PAINT IT BLACK for a couple of days. The dates are below, but are sure to be updated in the coming weeks, so remember to check the for the most current listings.

4/25 – 4/27 with Paint it Black
4/30 – 5/02 with Blackjacket

04/25/2008 Doylestown, PA United States @ Siren Records
04/26/2008 Buffalo, NY United States @ Mohawk Place
04/27/2008 Wilkinsburg, PA United States @ Mr. Roboto Project
04/30/2008 Windsor, ON Canada @ Coach and Horses
05/01/2008 London, ON Canada @ Call The Office
05/02/2008 Ottawa, ON Canada @ End Hits
05/03/2008 Quebec City, PQ Canada @ Le Casbah
05/06/2008 Charlottetown, PE Canada @ JFK House (555 Queen St.)
05/07/2008 Halifax, NS Canada @ The Pavilion
05/09/2008 Montreal Canada @ Black Dot
05/10/2008 Sudbury, ON Canada @ The Jubilee
05/14/2008 Niagra Falls, ON Canada @ The 4400
05/17/2008 Toronto, ON United States @ Rancho Relaxo

We Are is available from and fine record shops everywhere. Don’t fret, vinyl folks, We Are will be available on vinyl soon! Keep a look out for news on that front.

In Europe We Are is available from our friends at .

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Track listing:

1. Bended Knee
2. Sunburnt Mess
3. Runways
4. Kamikazes
5. New Years Resolution
6. Walk the Block
7. J.C. Pays the Bills
8. Hollywood Hills
9. Generato
10. Red Hair
11. Set the Alarm
12. Last Call
13. Quit Life

Jason Mazzola/Interview

I first met Jason in the winter of ’02/’03 when I drove his old band Count Me Out on part of their first (and last) European tour. I loved Count Me Out as a band and as people, had an awesome time on that tour and quickly bonded with Jason as we seemed to share a love for a bunch of the finer things in life, such as "Illmatic", second hand shirts, Fred Perry gear and Clarks Wallabees. We kept in touch throughout the years and got to hang whenever I was in the States. A few years ago both him and Colin returned to the stage with their new band Cloak/Dagger and as soon as I heard their demo I was hooked. Their album "We Are" was one of my favourite records to come out in ’07. Cloak/Dagger toured Europe for the first (and hopefully not last) time in December last year and I joined them for about a week on that tour… Kinda like a reunion tour. It was fun. A little after that I sent Jason a bunch of question, here’s what he had to say.

Jason, what’s up? How’s life been since you got back from Cloak/Dagger’s Euro tour?
Right now I’m just trying to work as much as possible to pay off all the debt I got in on tour and pay my bills without actually being held down by a full time job. It’s always hard to come back home and get bills taken care of after tours.

How did the tour go in general? What were some of the best shows and some the most exciting places you visited? How different was the experience of touring Europe in late ’07 with Cloak/Dagger from the European tour Count Me Out did 5 years earlier?
I thought for our first trip over seas that we did well. I think we were playing to people that had never heard us for the most part and the response was over all good. Some shows we would play to people that had no interest in us but that is part of touring. Money wise it was a hard tour for us, it seemed that we were just working towards paying off everyone but ourselves for the trip over there. The van, the equipment, the merch, work permits for the UK, the ferry to the UK all added up fast. It’s not that we expected to make money from the tour but we didn’t think we would lose money. We were able to pay off everyone but not all of the plane tickets so thanks to everyone that bought a shirt or cd, that’s where the money went. The difference between this tour and the CMO tour is that the Dagger is not an edge band so it made for a lot more crazy nights. We had also been to some of the cities and countries before so we knew what to expect but it was still exciting to see them again and see some familiar faces also. I would say that best shows were Milan, Budapest and I think it was Nurnberg where we had our best German show. With the CMO we got a chance to see some of the tourist spots which I would have liked to see more of on this trip instead of just seeing clubs.

You did a full US tour prior to the European one, I remember you telling me it was quite rough and exhausting. How hard is it for a smaller band like you guys, with members all in their late 20′s and early 30′s, to be on the road for so long? How do you manage?
Yeah the US tour was a rough one for us. It was thrown together kind of last minute but we wanted to get out and tour as soon as we could in support of the new cd. In the end we made it to California and back but didn’t get to play a lot of cities that we wanted to on the way and when we were over there. The main point of touring is to hopefully come back to places you played before and have people remember you. We played some good shows here and there but it was a lot of money to get to the other side of the country and I don’t know if it was worth it. When we got home we had rent and repairs to make to the van and merch debt and kids talking us to death about being on Jade Tree being rock stars and how much money we make so that was annoying. It was tough to get money together between the tours but it all worked out somehow.

While Cloak/Dagger is not a hardcore band per se, you still are very attached to that scene seeing where you guys and a big chunk of the crowd that comes out to see you, come from. How do you feel about that?
Over here a lot of the shows we play there are only a handful of people there that are familiar with our old bands and who are into what we are doing now. It’s cool when core kids come out who appreciate what we are doing now and have an open mind to a different style of "hardcore" but it’s also cool when someone that has no interest in hardcore gets into our band too. Either way I’m just happy when people show up to our shows.

Who were the driving forces behind the formation of Cloak/Dagger? What was the initial idea or the inspiration do a band like this one? And where the hell did you get that band name?
Drummer Colin just said we’re going to do a band called Cloak/Dagger and we want you to sing for us, no real meaning behind the name. It was a band that was started in between practices for Renee Heartfelt and that no one really took serious at first. Guitarist Collin wrote all of the songs so he’s the main force behind the band and still is. I handle all the lyrics, booking, merch and other nonsense. Our goal was to play some shows on the weekend and put out a demo when we first started and we didn’t really plan anything after that but once we started playing out things took off.

"We Are", your debut album, has been out for a while now on Jade Tree / Reflections. How has the record been doing, I mean do you feel like it has reached the people that need to hear it? What was some of the most interesting/surprising feedback you got on it?
It’s been out for six months now and we have gotten a lot of good feedback on the record. We got good reviews in AP, Decibel and Pitchfork didn’t trash it and they hate everything so that surprised me. I think that we need to get it pressed on vinyl so that it can get to people that have no interest in buying mp3′s or cd’s. True punkers don’t buy cd’s. That is something that is in the works now and if all goes well it can be out in the next couple months. I read a lot of reviews where they described the lyrics and music and they got exactly what we were going for which was refreshing. We’ve also had a lot of different comparisons like B-52′s, Avail, Minor Threat, Fugazi, Pixies in reviews which I don’t think we sound like but it is cool to see.

Rumour has it that during the "We Are" sessions you also recorded a bunch of other songs (and a cover possibly?)… Is that true? If so when will those tracks see the light of day? Is there a new release in the works featuring those songs?
We did record three songs that aren’t on the lp and a cover by Modern Lovers. Alex from Grave Mistake is releasing the cover as a b-side on a two song 7" for us that should be out in March. It’s going to be a two song single and Kamikazes is going to be the A side which was released on the lp. I think the other songs were ok but didn’t hold up to the lp songs. We have already written five new songs since the lp and I think we’re just going to keep writing. I’m sure those old songs will be released one day but we have no plans to release them any time soon.

Obviously you are a couple of years older than when you were in Count Me Out now. Do you feel like you are still pretty much the same person or not really? How has your mindset and your general outlook on life changed during those years, if it has changed at all?
I wouldn’t say I’m the same person as I was five years ago. I still love playing shows and hanging out with the same people I did five years ago but my outlook on music has changed since that time. It took me a while to get out of the mindset of recording with so and so to make the best record possible or trying to tour with this band or that band and getting on the right shows whatever that means. With the help of Collin I realized sometimes all that is nonsense. Also I’m a bit older and a bit wiser but really still the same person. Now I just worry about the future a little more since I’m not getting any younger.

How would you describe yourself as a person in 5 keywords?
Shy, strange, happy, optimistic, content.

Count Me Out was quite a popular band at the time and was also known to be a straight edge band, while everyone but you is no longer straight edge now. Is that weird? How do you look back on Count Me Out and what you accomplished and recorded with that band now?
I loved the CMO and still do. I have nothing but fond memories of that time period of my life. We had a great time playing shows and hanging out together and I still hang out with Garth and Colin almost every day now and those are going to be my friends for life. I’m sure that there are some people that think it’s strange that everyone drinks but me now but I don’t really ever think of that or think it takes away from anything that we did as a band. I don’t think of anyone differently I just think of them as my friends I don’t think about if they are edge or not these days. I’m proud of most everything we recorded as a band but I think we could have done another record after Permanent that perfected what we were going for but it would have been unfair to record something that we weren’t 100% behind and when we broke up Garth had Strike Anywhere going full force and Colin, Pete and Charlie were ready to move on to Renee.

Most of the people I talk to seem to prefer "110" to "Permanent", mostly because of the recording/production on the latter. What is your opinion? When you compare both records, how would you say they differ from each other musically and lyrically? What are some of your favourite tracks on both?
Now that some time has passed I can see the difference in the two records. "110" was more of a revival record and a straight up edge record that you could put next to some of the bands we played with at that time like In My Eyes and Time Flies but a little more mean sounding. "Permanent" was us trying to push the boundaries on hardcore but still sticking to the formula. It’s a hard call to say which one I like better I haven’t heard either of them in a long time. "110" was a record where we knew what song order we wanted it in, we knew where we wanted feedback, back ups and we were full on ready to record that when it was time to. "Permanent" we tried to do something a little different and just wrote song after song and didn’t think about how the finished lp would sound. I stumbled on the vocals for that record for the first couple songs we tried so I had Brian roll the whole record start to finish and keep it all as one take since time was short. I was very proud of how that came out, it doesn’t sound processed or not real to me. After that lp came out we started to get bigger since more then just edge kids could now get into us since the songs weren’t so straight forward and the lyrics were kept vague. I’m going to have to say I’m going with "110" for the good memories of our first US tour behind that lp and how amped we were to tour. Off of "110" I would say the best tracks are "What We Built" and "Always Have", for "Permanent" I think that "Against The World" might be the best song we wrote as a band. I heard people have debated between the two records and I love that people like either record enough to talk about it years later.

The last ever Count Me Out show, with the shirts and ties and "Count Me Out Is Fucking Dead" spraypainted on the bass drum seems to have become a fond memory in the minds of those who were there. What are your thoughts on that last show? How was it? How did you experience it?
I think that the last show was everything we wanted it to be. At the time every band who broke up was making a big deal of their last shows and making it a real event with a lot of promotion behind it. We did ours unannounced and it was a sold out show. Word did spread that it was going to be our last show but it was also a surprise to everyone that was there and Striking Distance played a few songs before we played. Dressing up in the shirts and ties and spray painting the bass drum was all done last minute but it all turned out perfect. It was a real emotional show and at the end of the set there were kids who were crying because to them it was the end of an era and to me that was very flattering. It was cool to have traveled all over the world and then to come back and play to the people that would have been there to see us anyway and who didn’t know it was our last show. From the first note it was just dive after dive and it was non stop through the set. When I’ve seen photos from that show it always reminds me of how packed that show was and how perfect everything went.

Was Count Me Out your first band? Or did you venture into the world of doing hardcore bands before that?
CMO was my first serious band. I tried to get bands going before but nothing ever got serious enough to record or have a good amount of songs written.

Count Me Out also did it’s fair share of touring… What were some of the tours that stand out the most so many years later? I seem to remember the idea for "110" as an album title being born on a tour you did with Time Flies… True? Please explain.
That’s true. We were thrown on a tour with Time Flies and Death By Stereo but it was really just us jumping on 2 or 3 shows that would take us to California and back. Before we left I had a talk with Tru from Malfunction and he was saying look this is your first tour you need to give it a 110% every night even if there is no one there. You need to make every show count and he got that from the Get In The Van book when Greg Ginn tells Henry he didn’t care if 5 or 50 people showed up they were there to play as hard as they could. We did give it all we had for 3 shows and then broke down in Texas and we had to cancel pretty much the rest of our tour but it only made us want to make it to the west coast even more. After that record came out we made it to the west coast I think 4 times total. I think that first tour to the west coast off of 110 was a great time and everything was very exciting and new to us. Also the last tour we did of the US where we had to throw together a line up which was Pete back on drums since Colin was in American Nightmare, Curtis Williams from Time Flies on guitar and Charlie was kind of a strange tour. We didn’t have 2 guitars or Garth with us since he was doing Strike Anywhere and that just didn’t feel right. The second half of that tour we had Colin back on drums with us and it was a lot better, that was with Suicide File and The Hope Conspiracy and that was the first and last "good" tour we were ever on.

Tell me about Richmond! I know you love it and I know you also tried to leave it once but were drawn back to it soon after… What makes Richmond so cool? What are some of your favourite things about it? Fav eating spots? Shops?
Richmond is the best city in the world. Everyone is poor but happy and rent is cheap, everyone knows each other by name or at least by face and everyone hangs out especially in the summer time. Here there is an Vietnamese place called Mekong, a Mexican spot called El Corporal and Edo’s Squid is an awesome spot for my Italian roots. In Carytown there is Need which is a cool smaller store next to Plan 9 which is an awesome record store and my room mate Rudy owns a store called Henry that is a smaller sneaker boutique that I work at sometimes.

What was it like growing up in Richmond as a teenager? How did you get exposed to hardcore/punk? What was your average day as 16 year old like?
I actually grew up outside of DC and that’s where I first started going to shows and came down to Richmond for art school. I think my first show I saw in DC was Fugazi for free and my first real hardcore show was Lifetime with Ressurection. I wasn’t sure if I liked the core too much then but then I heard and saw 4 Walls Falling and after that I was hooked. At 16 I think I would just go to school, come home and go skating all day long and hang out at gas stations eating chips, it ruled!

When did you start going to shows? What were some of the first shows you saw? What bands made the most impact on you? Was there any specific band that made you decide you wanted to be do a band too?
I started going to hardcore shows in ’93 but I always loved music before that I just never thought about going to shows and being a part of it before getting into hardcore. Some of the first shows I went to were Lifetime, Avail, Earth Crisis, Outspoken, Worlds Collide, Snapcase, Sick Of It All. I think the band that made the most impact on me and made me want to start a band was Time Flies. That was the first band that was made up of friends that actually played shows with bigger bands and wrote good music.

Please comment or share your ideas on the following:
Morrissey. The myth. The legend.
Mozzer, I haven’t kept up with him too much lately although I found a tour shirt at a thrift store for five dollars this week that’s like 2 euro!

Italy. Your ancestors. Your Italian – how is it these days?
Haha, as you know I speak fluent Italian and can do everything from ask for ferry tickets, order food and communicate for directions with no problem at all. Milan was by far the best show of the Dagger tour!

Nas naming his new record "Nigger"?
I think it’s a bit too much. He doesn’t need to do anything to draw attention to himself he can sell records without trying to stir up any controversy. Him and Kelis wore Nigger shirts on the grammys to promote the record and it just looked like it was done in poor taste. Let’s just hope he delivers like "Stillmatic" on this one.

The Burn reunion in the late 90′s in Richmond…
That was a good show but not as crazy as it should have been. Barfight opened up for the show and the response was alright but nothing too crazy. Tru grabbed a chair off of stage and threw it at the crowd and then someone threw that same chair back and it broke Mike’s guitar. The best Burn reunion show I saw was in NYC at Coney Island that was awesome. CMO played with Burn in Jersey and in Philly and they were both decent shows. The Richmond show was good but really all I remember is Tru throwing that chair and hurting someone.

Four Walls Falling playing a reunion show at United Blood Fest in March?
If it happens I will be there, they had a reunion a while back and it was good but I could definitely see it again. I see Taylor from time to time and he’s still cool as always and is into the Dagger.

Nike. The company. The shoes.
Nike. I can see why people hate on Nike, the marketing, the sweat shops but I love them. I love the limited release of some of the shoes and because of them I’m able to buy shoes and sell them for more money on Ebay so I can make rent. Some of the limited SB’s they come out with just look like baby shoes but Jordans are classic. I’m way into the retro Jordan stuff and finding it at thrift stores is even better. I’m into dunks but they are not my main Nike, Blazers are good and Jordans of course and you can’t go wrong with a pair of Air Max 90′s. People look at Nike and think of big corporations but I think any of the bigger shoe companies even skate shoe companies are just as bad. Just do it!

Chain Of Strength.
The Chainer. Legends. I was talking with someone the other day and I realized that the seven inches they had were just perfect, the recording, the emotion it all just fell into place and people have tried to but can’t recreate that sound. It’s very hollow and real. I think it was just a time and a place thing where everything was meant to be. The live show videos were always awesome to watch although I have seen bad videos of them live, everyone has off nights I guess!

The new Wu-Tang album… Yay or nay?
Haven’t checked it out yet but they played Richmond and Method Man wasn’t even there. I was lucky enough to see them in their sort of peak at a festival.

Hot Snakes and the endless comparison Cloak/Dagger gets to them?
I don’t really mind the Snakes comparison as much as the comparisons we get to The Bronx. I think if people hear loud guitars and screaming they say "oh yeah like The Bronx".

Urban Outfitters?
I worked there for almost two years and I had a great time working there but it is bullshit. On the other hand the sales are crucial and I have bought my fair share of Nikes for $10, Vans for $5 and limited clothes to sell on Ebay. One month they did a 75% off sale and I made $1200 on Ebay off of that!

That’s it. Thank you for your time. Any final comments?
Thanks again for being a good friend through the years and keeping in touch. Thanks again to everyone that came to see our band play when we toured that way and please come see us if we make it back again!

LATE NIGHT WALLFLOWER PICKS CLOAK/DAGGER FOR BEST OF ’07


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Music blog Late Night Wallflower has picked CLOAK/DAGGER‘s debut album We Are as album of the year for 2007. Check out the feature here:

CLOAK/DAGGER has just returned from Europe and set up a show in DC on January 13th at the Black Cat Backstage with Police & Thieves and Scanner Freaks!. If you’re in the area, save the date. Always check the for the most current listings and complete info.

01/13/2008 Washington, DC United States @ Black Cat Backstage

We Are is available from and fine record shops everywhere.

In Europe We Are is available from our friends at .

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Track listing:

1. Bended Knee
2. Sunburnt Mess
3. Runways
4. Kamikazes
5. New Years Resolution
6. Walk the Block
7. J.C. Pays the Bills
8. Hollywood Hills
9. Generato
10. Red Hair
11. Set the Alarm
12. Last Call
13. Quit Life

Cloak/Dagger [I]We Are[/I] Review

Tracklist:
1. Bended Knee
2. Sunburnt Mess
3. Runways
4. Kamikazes
5. New Years Resolution
6. Walk the Block
7. J.C. Pays the Bills
8. Generato
9. Red Hair
10. Set the Alarm
11. Last Call
12. Quit Life
13. Dia de los daggers

Rating: 4.0

RIYL:
Black Flag
Circle Jerks
Drive Like Jehu
Swiz

Jade Tree’s Cloak/Dagger stands currently as one of those bands constantly filling the role of opener on tours of some of punk and hardcore’s best and brightest. Being on Jade Tree, the label that brought you Fucked Up, Hot Water Music, and Breather Resist (just to mention a few from their unbelievable history), certainly turns some heads and ears immediately. But for any band, a great label is only half the battle. Cloak/Dagger more than lives up to the expectations set by Jade Tree predecessors to become next in a long line of phenomenal punk bands on their roster. This Richmond, Virginia band calls to mind punk legends such as Black Flag while displaying a unique take on more current bands like American Nightmare (Give Up The Ghost). In our ever-expanding stagnant underground music scene, Cloak/Dagger shines as one of the last remaining hopes for intelligent, thoughtful, and interesting punk rock. Yes, We Are is that important.

If people ever believed that punk had to be simple, Cloak/Dagger never got the memo. The instrumentation on this album intertwines complicated and simple punk riffs with a raw, real production that allows the emotion of punk rock to be captured on tape. As one who has never seen Cloak/Dagger in the live setting, We Are certainly wets the appetite of any music fan with the image of one hundred mohawked, sweat-laden kids pumping their fists in unison constantly entering the imagination. Aside from raw energy, this album seems to find that experimental side current punk albums need in order to separate from the bands of old. Look no further than songs like "New Years Resolution" that boasts an almost Locust-esque guitar solo without losing any of the old-school punk aesthetic that pervades this consistently intriguing record.

One essential characteristic of Cloak/Dagger that also acts as an enormous boost to the truth in this punk sound is the urgent screams and lyrics from vocalist Jason Mazzola that boost this album from beginning to end. Mazzola delivers a scream that is from the heart, instead of that overproduced, guttural scream that permeates throughout the majority of the inane, recycled hardcore/punk scene. Lyrically, Mazolla gives the listener lyrics that discuss the mundane aspect of life in a relatively straightforward, yet insightful, manner. The album name We Are truly fits the bill as the lyrics engage the listener, challenging each person to see themselves for who we are, and what our collective society has become.

We Are is a punk album in each and every aspect from top to bottom. The tragedy of a band this talented falling under the radar in what we dub the “underground community” speaks volumes about what the majority of this community now looks for in a band. If they were looking for substance and true commitment to engaging music, Cloak/Dagger would be among the elite, as bands like Black Flag and The Circle Jerks rightly were in a better time for honest music. However, until the scene, and more likely our society as a whole, wakes up to the fact that style should never win out to substance, great bands like Cloak/Dagger will have to take comfort in the fact that they have a true impact on listeners even if those listeners do not outnumber those in love with some eyeliner and hair dye.