John Vanderslice: Dagger Beach (Tiny Telephone) album review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Issue #46 - June/July 2013 - Charli XCXJohn Vanderslice

Dagger Beach

Tiny Telephone

Jul 12, 2013 John Vanderslice Bookmark and Share

Stepping inside a John Vanderslice album is like touring a factory where every room is filled with a new texture. Popping and crackling on one track, then smoothly polishing a haunting melody on the next, this master of unique effects makes his listeners think. Sometimes, though, it feels overwrought. On album opener “Raw Wood,” miscellaneous guitar tones can distract from the lyrics. Better are songs such as “Sonogram,” where the many moving pieces work together to create beauty that sounds less busy. Vanderslice worked out most the songs on Dagger Beach post-breakup, while walking through about 200 miles of trails. It’s a confusing world he captures here, but a spectacular opportunity to soak up the diverse paths he carves on his wild adventure. (

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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April 22nd 2019

John Vanderslice built his name on his ever-curious songwriting and shape-shifting production with colorful and catchy solo albums like Life and Death of an American Fourtracker and Cellar Door. Dagger Beach follows Vanderslice’s seemingly endless line of creative output, presenting itself as an album inspired by telephone systems relocation and the events following a breakup, but not a “breakup album” per se. It’s true that the themes here don’t linger on heartbreak or agony, but there’s a certain still patience to the album that comes from the somber reflection of an ending love.