Lil Daggers Survive the South and Slide Deep Into Slave Exchange

The American interstate system is a dangerous maze, riddled with death traps and dead ends.

Of course, there's the always-imminent threat of being maimed (or worse) in a fiery, 27-car pileup disaster. But you're also prime prey for recreational road-ragers, random rest stop ambushes, and catastrophic heart failure due to shitty roadside fast food.

For the dudes of Lil Daggers, though, the most terrifying part of their recent three-week, 13-city business trip across these United States wasn't a motor vehicle collision or rancid burger. It was a string of tour stops in places like Tampa and Tennessee.

"Dude, the South was so scary," Daggers guitar guy Jacob Israel told Crossfade last week via chat. "I never wanna go back. I only want to fly to big cities."

"Uh, what was so bad about it?" we wondered.

"The people man. They're fucking mutants. They look scary and act scarier.

"This guy came up to us after we played in Tampa ... It was so insane," Israel recalled. "He was six-and-a-half feet tall, leather-faced. And he was like, 'OMG, you guys! That's the best thing I've seen since Pearl Jam!' We all started to laugh. But tried to hold it in because he was enormous.

"Then his insanely hot girlfriend came out of nowhere and she was like, 'Yeah, he really likes y'all's band. He said it was just as good as Pearl Jam.' And so, the guy buys us a beer and offers us a ton of coke and his girlfriend.

"We took the beer. But I was like, 'Dude, I'm getting the fuck out of here.'"

Indeed, as noted earlier, the perils of the road are limitless. Hence, invitations to coked-out group sex parties with North Floridian Frankenstein monsters and their lady friends.

Plus, even in the age of smart phones, Google maps, and consumer-grade GPS, you've still gotta worry about making a wrong turn (or a right one), wandering a little too far off the grid, and getting stranded in some burg where you have been clearly identified as an "unwanted species."

Example: The moment when the Daggers staggered into Chattanooga, Tennessee. "It was the second show of the tour and we thought it was going to be at least decent," Israel said. "But we are definitely not welcome there. The people just all sat outside while we played, messed with their acoustic guitars and just didn't talk, mingle, or anything.

"The promoter was a sweetheart and the venue was awesome to us. But the crowd was just, 'Get outta here, Hollywood!'"

Now ... Maybe it's true that Chattanoogans are insular assholes. Or maybe the Dagger dudes are just a bunch of socially awkward wimps. Either way, Israel and the rest survived the South. And now they're back in the warm, safe embrace of Miami, guzzling breakfast beers at Churchill's Pub, gearing up for their 7 p.m. set at today's Sweatstock minifest, and sliding deep into Slave Exchange.

And no, we don't mean the abduction and sale of human beings for the purpose of forced labor. We're just talking about the crew's newest seven-inch slab, a special Record Store Day release via Discosoma that's being limited to 100 copies.

The title track comes straight off Lil Daggers brand-fucking-new self-titled debut, released just this week by Livid Records. However, the sludgy, spooked-out B-side is a 176-second shot of exclusive noise, only available if you drag your ass out to Sweat Records and snag a Slave pronto.

Really, you don't wanna miss this disc. It'll make you metaphorically crap your pants as hard as the American interstate system, the South, or maybe a six-and-a-half foot mutant with a hard-on for grunge rock and explicit gang scenes.

You know ... Whatever's scariest.

Lil Daggers' Slave Exchange seven-inch release as part of Sweatstock 2011. Saturday, April 16. Sweat Records, 5505 NE Second Ave., Miami. The Lil Daggers set starts at 7 p.m. on the street stage and admission is free. Call 786-693-9309 or visit sweatrecordsmiami.com.

Follow Crossfade on Facebook and Twitter @Crossfade_SFL.

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