Taken from “Reverse of Mastery”, out September 18th 2020.
Many of Dig Nitty’s songs were written while Erin McGrath was working as a national park ranger, surveilling birds at the beach in the Rockaways. “Walking in a straight line while monitoring birds would free up my brain and melodies would float in,” she reflects. The birds sneak into many songs on the record: an accidental motif of starlings, swallows, snow geese, and plovers.
Reverse of Mastery explores core themes of friendship, trauma, love, and death, with frequent nods to the freedom and fleetingness synonymous with the birds. The album’s title is borrowed from an essay by Durga Chew-Bose that reflects on solitude. McGrath notes that “many of the songs mention streets, rivers, and sights from my childhood and from my time living and doing field work in coastal California, the Mojave desert, Montreal, and the Rockaways”. The songwriting documents places in time, focusing on the dangers of hanging on too tight to memories (“Oleander”), the feeling when you float outside your body and are looking down upon yourself (“Angel”), and modern love (“Blue Bard”).
McGrath (guitar/vocals) and Reggie Bender (drums/vocals) first met while both were working at Brooklyn’s late great DIY venue, Shea Stadium. Through mutual friends they linked up with Bernardo Ochoa (bass/guitar) and Nick Llobet (guitar/vocals) and the band was formed (they have since moved on as a trio without Llobet, who does play on the record). The band came together just as the venue was closing, but played their first show at Shea. McGrath shared, “We have been so influenced by the amazing DIY scene in Brooklyn. It feels like a family that raised us. Reggie and I have since booked and run shows in our basement and we soak up the sounds of our friends.” The collaborative record features additional contributions from Adam Brisbin (Buck Meek, youbet, Sam Evian), Chappy Hull (Shell of a Shell, Pile), and Sabrina Rush (State Champion, Country Westerns).