Disq Captures the Bleak Side of Technology on “Collector”

by Jack Karnes

The 2010s were a wild decade. We had an angry, divisive president looming in the White House, we realized our world is burning, we gave many people the civil rights they always deserved and finally noticed the civil rights that many people still don’t have. Our technology use has increased to the point where we spend three hours and 15 minutes every day looking at the little handheld electronic devices most of us have in our pockets and the ever-present social media has given rise to distraction, disconnect, anxiety and even depression.

All of these bleak problems and more are tackled on Madison-based rock quintet Disq’s second effort, Collector, their first album under their new label Saddle Creek.

Lead single “Daily Routine” immediately introduces the subject of technology in the humorous first lines of the song: “This is my daily routine / Spend my hours on computer screen.” In the music video that accompanies the song, the band rises right out of bed in a kitsch Wes Anderson intro, continuing on to guide the listener through their day. “Konnichiwa Internet” recalls the technology theme with anxious questions repeated over a waltzy drum beat.

Collector does provide some breaks in the anxiety, however. “D19” is a genuine celebration of a highly coveted piece of gear: the same model of microphone The Beatles once used on their Abbey Road recordings.

“Fun Song 4” is just as fun as it sounds, placing Blur’s seminal “Song 2” in an acoustic setting. Even “I Wanna Die,” a slow, aching exercise that acts as the emotional climax of the album, can be enjoyed at extremely loud levels when angst has reached its limits and requires an immediate outlet. 

While the band is now officially a quintet, the original duo still manages to stand out. Lead singer, songwriter and guitarist Isaac deBroux-Sloan shines on “Loneliness,” an extremely relatable song dwelling on the heartbreak one feels after ending a relationship, which features an extremely catchy and emotional chord progression.

Co-founding member and bassist Raina Bock’s footprint can be heard on every song on the album, adding interesting harmony and basslines in a range not typically occupied with melodic movement. Take “Gentle,” for instance: Bock weaves in between grungy chords, seemingly dancing along to the confusion.

Taken as a whole, Collector is an extremely accurate portrayal of the average semi-fortunate American teen’s life. Monotonous and insanely interesting; highs and lows to the max. The result is nothing short of incredible.