360 Staff Pick: dos y dos

Blog: 08.03.11

Wednesday, August 03, 2011 - 06:00 AM

There are ex-spouses who communicate through their lawyers; ex-spouses who send each other Christmas cards; ex-spouses who remain cordial out of affection or for the sake of the kids.  And there are ex-spouses who perform together, playing duets for bass guitar. 

Mike Watt and Kira (Roessler, she goes by Kira) became friends in the early years of punk – she the bassist of Black Flag, he of the Minutemen, both tight, furious bands that were funny when they weren’t scary.  Kira helped Watt through the great trauma of his life, the death of his childhood comrade and bandmate D. Boon in 1985; she played duets with Watt to help stave off depression.

They called the album that emerged dos — as in two — and it was not very punk: delicate meditations in counterpoint from an instrument not known for its delicacy.  Kira sings occasionally, but no other instruments intrude on their tete-a-tete.  The effort of putting this thick, unmalleable instrument in the service of rather gentle melodies was captivating, and the few fans who discovered dos (as they also called the band) treasured it as the anomaly it was. 

The two kept playing, married, divorced, started new bands, played in old bands, got new careers (Kira as an editor in film and television).

The new album dos y dos appears after a hiatus of 16 years — that’s about 80 in punk years.  The music has not changed much since 1986, and it does not need to; the players are in time with each other only, not with the music business or the world.  Perhaps it always was more the music of survivors with lives behind them of than of the unscathed young.  In a charmingly low-fi new video (below), Watt and Kira have matching gray hair, and seem like they might spend a bit too much time with their dogs.  We can hear the years of living on these two.  It suits them.


Track: "the winds of may"

From the album dos y dos (Clenchedwrench | Org Music)

Video: "number eight"


More in:

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.

Supported by

Supported by