The Electro-Pop Cure

Digitata in their basement, pining for an increase in polar bears and drive-in theaters

Digitata in their basement, pining for an increase in polar bears and drive-in theaters

Two Daggers
Totally Gross National Product

It's spring, and I've got the attention span of a cocker spaniel. When sitting indoors, my leg twitches fast enough to run a small scooter. I'll purposely park five blocks from home, sleep on my fire escape, and aim to get lost on bike rides—whatever excuse I can find to be in the fresh air.

My spring fever has turned into a full-blown case of summer-driven ADD. I'm tempted to sit outside a local high school holding a sign that reads: "Will do homework for Adderall."

Thank god I've found somewhat of a replacement—


The local band's sophomore album, Two Daggers, has eased my frustration with this time of year, providing me with a soundtrack of spastic electronic eruptions and kinky vocals. Digitata's three members combine their talents to form the musical version of a Spin Art masterpiece. Like that '90s DIY project, they mix fluorescent hues together and let them drip over a spinning wheel of electronic manipulation.

Tired from a long Wednesday on the clock, the memebers of Digitata—Maggie Morrison, Ryan Olson, and Drew Christopherson—refresh with a jam session held in a haze of smoke and high volume. The music addicts live under the same roof, with Christopherson as third wheel to the nonchalant couple. Their lives are completely saturated with music, although occasionally they take time to watch Blue Planet ocean specials or head out to a movie. The lack of drive-in movie theaters is a common complaint of the group. In response to my wondering why there aren't more around, Christopherson shrugs.

"The world is falling apart," he says, and Morrison and Olson agree, noting the decline in the polar bear population, record stores, and cool people in general.

Daggers is a bright collection of songs full of lip-biting, danceable goodness. Morrison's bitter vocals swirl in harmony with the melodies she produces from "Whirly," her electric piano. Christopherson keeps it rock-inspired with wicked drum beats, while Olson tinkers with "the box," a magical source of electric laser sounds, undaunted static bumps, futuristic flutes, and battery-operated cricket noises.

If you're a Digitata fan or MySpace friend, you may have heard the songs already. The band recorded the album in October of '06, but delayed its release due to Christopherson and Olson's other musical commitments: hardcore group Building Better Bombs and hip-hop rockers Mel Gibson and the Pants. Since the turn of the year, Digitata has only had two performances, and the group is more than ready to get the noise off the back burner and bring it back to the stage.

This time around, the lyrics are more heavy-handed than on their 2005 debut. Morrison's written a collection of intimate poetry based on personal emotional explorations—a big change from the days when she would just ramble off gibberish and improvise during live shows.

The tracks on Daggers sound a bit depressing when their titles are read aloud, as they circle around the building and destruction of relationships, but the mood comes through differently when listening to the album; the upbeat alliance of sounds overshadows the passive-aggressive lyrical poetry.

Before heading off to a friends' show, Morrison sips a Grain Belt and explains her take on my spring tonic: "This way everyone dances to my misery."