Double Dagger formed in late 2002 from the ashes of two of Baltimore's most unpredictable live bands: Charm City Suicides and League of Death. Lacking a guitarist, Double Dagger began to build short, spare punk rock around the catchy, multi-tasking bass guitar of Bruce Willen and energetic drumming of Brian Dubin. Singer Nolen Strals met Willen while the two were studying graphic design and fine art at Baltimore's Maryland Institute College of Art (later to spawn fellow Baltimore art rockers Ponytail and Ecstatic Sunshine), where Strals and Willen had already begun collaborating on design and visual art under the label Post Typography. It naturally followed that Double Dagger's early lyrical themes would pull in numerous references and analogies to graphic design, art history, and crazy art school girlfriends.
Double Dagger's debut, self-titled CD on local label Hit-Dat Records featured hand-silkscreened sleeves, designed and printed by the band, and reflected the band's dedication to the aesthetic as well as musical elements of Double Dagger. Concert posters and shirts, designed and often printed by the band, continue to present a visual counterpart to Double Dagger's music.
The addition of new drummer Denny Bowen in 2005 added more power and sophistication to the band's music. Double Dagger began writing new songs, which would eventually appear on the Ragged Rubble LP. Meanwhile, the band continued playing shows in Baltimore and on tour with bands including The Thermals, Japanther, Lightning Bolt, Matt & Kim, Melt Banana, Pere Ubu, No Age, XBXRX, Parts & Labor, Pissed Jeans, and Wolf Eyes.
Baltimore's expanding art and music scene found Double Dagger and its members continuing to participate, play, and collaborate in new venues like Current Gallery and Wham City. The band began touring and playing with a new set of Baltimore musicians including Dan Deacon, The DeathSet, Ponytail, Videohippos, and Ecstatic Sunshine.
In 2007, Double Dagger released Ragged Rubble on Chicago's Stationary (Heart) Recordings (Black Ladies, Casiotone For The Painfully Alone). Ragged Rubble's louder, noisier, and more politically charged songs found the band exploring more aggressive, minimalist punk that still maintained an underlying pop catchiness. In particular the song "Luxury Condos for the Poor" struck a nerve with residents of Baltimore and beyond; it is both a love letter to the city of Baltimore and a trenchant critique of the social and urban planning priorities in a city with glaring poverty rates and 42,000 vacant homes. Baltimore CityPaper named "Luxury Condos for the Poor" Best Song of 2007, and Ragged Rubble received positive feedback from press including the Washington Post, Pitchfork, and RollingStone.com.
Double Dagger recently returned from the Baltimore Round Robin Tour, curated by Dan Deacon and featuring a multitude of Baltimore bands including Beach House, The DeathSet, Jana Hunter, and Future Islands. They are currently working on a new album to be released in 2009 on Thrill Jockey Records.