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Best South Florida Music 2011: Lil' Daggers - Lil' Daggers

County Grind is counting down the best local albums in South Florida. Monitor our progress here.

Lil' Daggers' self-titled debut LP is a varied collection of post-punk, folk and psychedelia that never feel less than completely entwined.

When the music is fast and energetic, the emotions are downtrodden. Behind every driving drumbeat is singer Johnny Saraiva's lackadaisical, unhallowed

moans. The tempos change erratically from start to end, often beginning with

the best kind of driving, twang-toned guitars and finishing with a

sullen, dismal-sounding dirge.

Upon completion, the listener feels moved, if not changed entirely; changed in the way one might feel as if carrying a heavy stone across an arid mesa and letting it fall as the last drop of strength is sapped from their body. While relieved, a sense of loss lingers as the strangest kind of attachment bonds one to the object of their burden. The ordeal was heavy and hard, but the listener knows they are better for having gone underway with it. Plainly stated, this is the most rewarding kind of music, the kind that is clawed from the guts of of its creators and hammered out into a captivating, honest depiction of thoughts and emotions.

The song "Dada Brown" grabs one the moment it begins. Caught somewhere in a planar collapse between Duane Eddy's signature twang and the Modern Lovers squealing organ work, the listener is left feeling as if they are crossing a dictionary depiction of southwestern badlands after stomaching a peyote blossom the size of a grown man's fist, stopping only to stare bleakly into the sun and to sway the hips rhythmically. It's the kind of song that leaves you coated in sweat, licking your lips and breathing in labored, panicked gasps.

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Ryan Burk