The rough translation of the Somali phrase Iska Dhaaf is “to let it go,” and that is just what this duo has done. The product of former Mount St. Helens Vietnam Band leader Benjamin Verdoes and Mad Rad’s Nathan Quiroga (aka Buffalo Madonna), Iska Dhaaf bears little resemblance to either of those bands, both of which had an agitated edge to them.
Iska Dhaaf plays the Cha Cha for the Capitol Hill Block Party on Friday, July 26, at 6:45 p.m.
Mad Rad dealt in a certain directness, the punch-you-in-the-face kind. MSHVB was anything but direct, more often opting for obtuse compositions that flowered into intricate guitar jams before shfiting direction entirely and leaving its audience in the lurch, mid-bop, trying to follow along. Iska Dhaaf, on the other hand, strikes a balance between directness and musical creativity on its just-released single “All the Kids” (backed by “Two Ones”). What is truly unexpected here is the lightness of these pop songs. Both Mad Rad and MSHVB required willful ears, but Iska Dhaaf is effortlessly infectious. Can’t wait to hear more.