Unless you’ve been cultivating calluses typing feverishly into search engines or scouring through downtown NYC record stores since back in 2007, it’s unlikely that you’ve managed to amass the whole of Brooklyn’s Blank Dogs’ sporadic back catalogue. With early singles and EPs released only on vinyl and cassettes through cult US indie labels Sacred Bones, HoZac and Woodsist physical copies of Blank Dogs early recordings have become desperately hard to acquire. To save his fans bankrupting their Paypal accounts on ebay, Mike Sniper aka Blank Dogs has lovingly amassed his early recordings on Collected By Itself 2006-2009 releasing it on CD and vinyl through his own label, Captured Tracks.

Collected By Itself is a testament of Sniper’s evolution from a secret bedroom musician to having a full studio at his disposal. From the fuzzy bass riffs and stilted snare of early single ‘Moths’ to the tumbling layers of last year’s cassette single, ‘Leaves’, the collection shows how Sniper has grown into his persona as Blank Dogs. Tracks taken from early EPs, like 2008’s Diana The Herald and Daggerman, have a vacant edge that recalls the eerily calm danger of Joy Division’s ‘She’s Lost Control’ with the sparseness of Iggy’s The Idiot. The vocals on ‘She’s Violent Tonight’ are hauntingly robotic, whilst the frantic rhythms and fevered drum machine of ‘Freezing The Styles’ maintains the echoing emptiness of the tracks from around this early period.

As the tracks mature in years the sound becomes richer as Sniper’s production values increase. Tracks from 2009’s Seconds EP have a dreamier quality as the synths and guitars melt into each other rather than the aggressive collision of earlier tracks. ‘The Tied’ has chorus filled riffs and the vocals are softer than the metallic edge of Sniper’s earlier recordings. Whilst, the most recent track on the collection ‘Leaves’ is swimming in the same production of gloss of last year’s Land And Fixed, although it does lack the same sacrifices the intensity of earlier tracks in favour of a more refined sound.

With Sniper suggesting that Collected By Itself is the end of a chapter, the collection only heightens the anticipation for the next chapter in his already illustrious career.

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