Cloak/Dagger [I]Pinata[/I] Review

Say what you will, but Cloak/Dagger remind me a lot of the Bronx.After all, they capitalize on two of the same influences — Black Flag and serious, balls out garage rock’n'roll, two things that used to never go together, and now may as well be ketchup and fries. The band’s 4-song, 7-minute Pinata 7" is frantic, manic, and, while
this is the laziest descriptive adjective ever, rocking. With former members of Count Me Out, American Nightmare, Barfight, Time Flies,Striking Distance, Trial by Fire and Renee Heartfelt, Cloak/Dagger actually manages to create something at least arguably different from
each one of those acts. As familiar as this whole thing sounds, the songs tumble, roll and bounce all at once. It’s probably not as aggressive as some would like, but it’s certainly raw and forward moving. Similarities will probably also be drawn to Bars, and I for one am not going to disagree.

While there isn’t much room for Pinata to outlive its stay, credit goes to the first two bluntly catchy tracks, "Daggers Daggers" and "Paranoid." Even as both hover around the 2-minute mark, they feel much more complete and thought out than the abrupt second half. Still, Pinata is promising all sorts of goodness for the band’s Jade Tree debut, especially if the band plans on stretching out their creative muscle a bit.

Cloak/Dagger [I]Pinata[/I] Review

Edgy, energetic punk. One can clearly hear the those influences, particularly for the thrashy "Paranoid," but there’s a bit of nervy snakiness (?!) in the guitar and bass-lines. Makes me think of the bands from the 90s who would be considered "indy rock" but had punk aggression. In any case, it’s the remedy to chase away my increasing
jadedness. (PO Box 12482, Richmond, VA 23241,

Cloak/Dagger [I]Pinata[/I] Review

These guys recently signed to Jade Tree so you know that this is on the more palatable end of things for me, but I just can’t get over how fresh this band sounds. Sure, there are influences that you can pick out?°¦ the Black Flag element was very up front on their demo tracks, the Wipers/Hot Snakes thing is obvious and there seems to be more than a hint of the Regulations’ guitar sound, but nothing here feels like revivalism. In his review Al Quint mentioned that these guys sound like an indie rock band with a punk edge, and I think if there weren’t former members of Count Me Out and various other hardcore bands on the stage they could’ve come up through the Pitchfork scene just as easily as the hardcore scene. Regardless, this is a band that is breaking down barriers and I absolutely cannot stop listening to this EP.


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Jade Tree is pleased to announce the latest addition to the roster, Richmond, VA’s CLOAK/DAGGER. CLOAK/DAGGER are currently fine tuning songs for an upcoming debut EP to be recorded in the Fall, with more details to be announced in the coming weeks.

CLOAK/DAGGER is a relatively new project, with roots that began in October of 2005. The band, comprised of Colin Kimble, Jason Mazzola and brothers Aaron and Colin Barth, recorded a demo following a handful of practices, which was released on Halloween of last year. Taking hints from a variety of influences, the demo combined the jagged aggression of bands like Black Flag and the Circle Jerks with the more urgent execution of the Drive Like Jehu/Rocket from the Crypt/Hot Snakes camp. The demo was well received around the Richmond area, and eventually landed in the reviews at Maximum Rock and Roll, referencing CLOAK/DAGGER as "Not retro, but real punk rock."

The band continued to practice throughout the Winter, playing shows up and down the East Coast with the likes of PAINT IT BLACK, FUCKED UP, Big Business, Career Suicide and Government Warning, before eventually recording a 4-song 7" for Grave Mistake Records. The Pinata EP, released earlier this Summer, finds the band navigating their way through a tighter, rawer sound, and has been described as "Black Flag fighting Hot Snakes scraped raw and turned up to 10."

Cloak/Dagger will be playing a handful of shows through the rest of the Summer, including tonight with the likes of fellow Jade Tree artists PAINT IT BLACK, and The Loved Ones. If you’re in or around the Philadelphia area, the show is at the First Unitarian Church, and starts at 7:30 PM. CLOAK/DAGGER will be playing songs from the Pinata 7" along with selections from their upcoming EP.


Cloak/Dagger [I]Lost Art[/I] Review

I love these LP releases that come with a digital download; I get to have the record and superior packaging to enjoy at home, and be able to play the music while at work or on my wanderings. Anyway, Cloak/Dagger are firm favourites here at SD, and this new album is a killer; it’s even better than “We Are?°¦” I think, and right from the off it’s wonderful tuneage all the way. Like a harsher Shitty Limits, they invoke memories of the early UK punk bands, but with more of an edge and a little more speed. These are wonderful songs that get into your head and stay there for days. Once I started playing this album I found I couldn’t stop, it’s been days now and I haven’t gotten tired of it yet. Brilliant.

Cloak/Dagger Announce New Album [I]We Are[/I]

I’m not one to really be impressed by band merch but Cloak/Dagger’s tshirts are what first caught my attention. At MD/DC/VA shows I would always see at least two people wearing a tshirt emblazoned with the Cloak/Dagger logo but in an array of colors: yellow, orange, pink, red, etc. I finally got the nerve to ask someone what the band was like and he told me a mix between Black Flag and Hot Snakes. I figured that I’d check them out myself.

Last October at The Fest V in Gainsville, FL I finally got to see them play and I understood why they might have an affinity with color. Like a kid walking around in a bright yellow shirt in a sea of black and white, Cloak/Dagger is an anomaly. Their garage rock n roll tinged songs are aggressive yet rhythmic enough to actually dance to which sets them apart within a genre where music is almost always too fast or too angry to shake your hips too. I stayed around to pick up their CD after their set but they didn’t have one out. The only music that was available to buy was a 7" and that was about a year old.After a year of waiting, people that don’t have record players now have a chance to play Cloak/Dagger’s music at home because they’ve finally announced that their full length We Are (Jade Tree) will be released on September 11. Click here to hear the track "Runaways" from their new album. If you are in the MD/DC/VA area I recommend checking them out at the dates below:

06/23/2007 – Alley Katz -Richmond, VA No Way Records Fest w/ Career Suicide, Direct Control, Wasted Time and more
07/18/2007 – Parking lot of Warehouse Next Door – Washington, DC w/ Fucked Up and Government Warning
07/21/2007 – Cafe Alfishway – Washington, DC w/ Criminal Damage Washington DC