The Dig’s New Double EP Is Finely Crafted From Start To Finish

“If there’s one thing that ties the two EPs together, it’s that all the songs are about moving,” wrote Brooklyn-based indie rock band The Dig in a recent press statement. Over the course of their move from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, they wrote and recorded Moonlight Baby and Afternoon With Caroline the songs that would make up two new EPs. After dropping tracks from these releases throughout the year, the latter has finally been released in full and both EPs have been paired for a new vinyl release courtesy of Roll Call Records.

Moonlight Baby opens with “You’re Not Alone,” a song that features a thumping (mostly due to compression) drum beat, handclaps, and a guitar solo wailing with feedback. With lyrics about dreading an unwanted change, it’s an excellent way to kick off the album. The title track that follows includes much of the same, but the lyrics are far less cryptic. “You can feel the room is changing/Throw your clothes back in their boxes/Lift the tables on their sides” conveys the idea of packing up your items and moving, but other parts of the song such as “There was a time I remember so well when you were mine/Now I only wish you well” show the songwriter’s (couldn’t find album or band personnel) feelings about moving away from a relationship. Towards the end of Moonlight Baby, the songs grapple with the theme of homesickness. On “I’m Coming Home Today,” for example, the singer says “How long have I been here?/How long have I stayed?/Seems like forever/I’m coming home today.”

Flip the record over and you hear the breezy, synth-inflected pop of the superior Afternoon With Caroline. Starting with the propulsive “Million Dollar Man,” this EP features an optimistic outlook not found on Moonlight Baby. “Gonna take a little trip to the wild, wild west/Gonna strap on my boots and my bulletproof vest/Gonna make a million dollars or I’m never gonna rest/Cause I heard a million dollars goes a long, long way” are select lines from “Million Dollar Man,” which encapsulates what Afternoon With Caroline is, musically and lyrically. “I Don’t Need You Anymore” has lyrics about breaking away from a relationship for one’s own benefit (“I gotta let you know I don’t need you anymore/I don’t need the pain that you offered me”), while other tracks such as “Don’t Stop Running” (“We’re just staring out the window/looking at a grey sky/Wishing it was blue;” “The sun is breaking through the dark sky/Making up a new day/Washing over me, washing over you”) and “Home” (“With the headlights in my eyes/I can almost feel the light/I can almost feel your love”) are about chasing a new day and a new light of sorts that may be waiting.

While The Dig’s style isn't truly their own, the lack of originality in their sound is made up for with quality. The songs are well-crafted, and beat those of other bands that have a similar sound. The band shows some obvious influences (“I’m Coming Home Today” sounds like In Rainbows era Radiohead due to the falsetto vocals and atmospheric effects, for example), but it does not detract from my enjoyment of the album in any way. Further, this double EP is a large improvement from their last LP Bloodshot Tokyo, which was nothing particularly interesting.

The GZ pressed record is fairly quiet. However, both copies I received had the same warp in the same place, something quite common in my experience with GZ pressings. The label area on side A was pushed down, while the same area on side B was propped up, warping the entire record. Sure, a clamp can flatten it during playback, but getting two copies with an identical defect leads me to believe that the entire run was defective. The packaging and printing department must not have known what they were doing, either, as both copies also had seam splits on the printed inner sleeve.

In addition to the frustrating pressing, the sound is unimpressive. The mix (mostly done by the late Richard Swift) is decent even if a little congested, but this vinyl pressing sounds like an average CD, as many in-house GZ cuts do. Because of that, this LP edition feels like nothing but a waste of valuable PVC.

Even so, the artwork is very nice. The die cut LP jacket comes with four double-sided art prints, each representing a select song. Meant for customizing the album cover to one’s liking, these prints are also worthy of framing due to their colorful simplicity. Overall, the meticulously designed packaging provides excellent value for money.

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fritzg's picture

Surprised to see more and more reviews of vinyl that is a delivery mechanism for digital music.

J. Carter's picture

It's almost impossible to find anything but audiophile reissues that are cut from analog now a days.

analogdw's picture

There are many new releases and reissues cut from high-res digital and they sound great. It's just laziness/cheapness that results in releases like this one.

fritzg's picture

How can digital vinyl sound better than the digital files they were made from?'s picture

That's the magic of vinyl!

fritzg's picture

I get the magic of analog, but not the magic of vinyl as a delivery mechanism for digital. Seriously, why?

Michael Fremer's picture
Vinyl cut from 96/24 file will sound better than a CD. If the mastering engineer's D/A converter is better than yours, the vinyl can sound better than the file. If you've "tweaked" your turntable to your sonic liking, the vinyl can sound better than the file. CDs and even files available for download are often "crushed" to make them "loud". Records are not. I've demonstrated this repeatedly to skeptics!
fritzg's picture

Pardon the pun, but there is a lot of signal to noise on this subject. Could you point me to what you consider your primer article on this subject? I do get that vinyl masters from 96/24 master will sound better than a CD, but interested to see your take on why it would sound better than the files themselves.

bwright's picture

Thanks Malachi - your writing is honest, direct and refreshing.

I've heard stunning digital with an analog sound indistinguishable from the original, and I've heard a quality vinyl pressing sound like a standard CD rip.

Sounds like this one is in the latter camp - thanks for letting us know!