The duo will celebrate the release of new album 'The Signal Glittering Inside the Storm' with a Facebook streaming concert at 9 p.m. on Saturday

On new song “Make God Laugh,” Happy Tooth, aka Colin Ward, unpacks the March 2019 death of his father, John Ward, a singer and songwriter who recorded sporadically but never released any music in his lifetime (Ward eventually uploaded a handful of his dad’s sad, melodic, Beatles-indebted tunes to Bandcamp posthumously). “Never made a song together while you were still alive,” the MC raps over the scratchy, soulful beat. A few bars later he adds, “Work only gave me three days, so this is my bereavement.”

Much of just-released full-length The Signal Glittering Inside the Storm, recorded with producer Evaridae, serves a similar purpose, allowing rappers Dug and Happy Tooth a chance to work through various griefs, misgivings and personal demons. The album continues a trend in which the two longtime friends and collaborators, who also record together in full-band project Happy Tooth & Dug, have repeatedly pushed one another to delve deeper for lyrical inspiration.

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“[Ward] would pick a topic, or his verse would go to some place where it was like, ‘Oh, I can relate to this, but I’d rather not talk about it,’ and then I had to,” said Doug Gamble (Dug), who will join Ward in a Facebook Live webstream release concert at 9 p.m. on Saturday, March 21. “I didn’t want to just goof off and reference movies from the ’80s when he was pouring his heart out.”

Witness “Nothin’ to Nobody,” where the two MCs trade unabashedly introspective verses, with Ward rapping about his fatalistic tendencies and the ways the world can press down on us until it feels as if our bones could snap (“I don’t wanna focus/On how it just slowly broke us”) and Gamble countering by rhyming about panic attacks and his struggles with intimacy. “I told him how I felt/He left and I was not surprised,” Gamble raps. “And now I tell myself everything that I said was lies.”

“I don’t often get close to people, but when I do it’s like, oh, shit, am I going to open up to this person?” said Gamble, who described himself as someone adept at compartmentalizing aspects of his personality, a trait he traced to his attention-deficit disorder and the years he spent living closeted. “And if I do, and we break up, and the relationship is off, am I going to feel like I was rejected over those traits that I don’t usually show people?”

Elsewhere, the two rap about economic uncertainty and dissociation (“Sorry You Had to See Me Like This”), escaping into the bottle (“At a Bar in My Nightmares”) and the ways our inner-monologue can tear through our insides with tornado force. “Well, what’s a ball of thoughts to do/But gnaw and chew/At everything I thought was solid,” Gamble raps.

“When I started making music, I didn’t want to put it all out there, at first, because I didn’t want to be that depressing,” said Ward, who previously unburdened himself on To Hell With Everything, a darkly emotional purging disguised as a solo release. “And then I just stopped caring about what people thought and it became more, ‘I had to write that. I want to write that. And if you like it and can relate, great.’”

“I think the more personal you make something, the easier it is for people to relate, because even though we’re all different, we have more in common than people think,” said Gamble, who fostered an early connection to artists like Nirvana because he related to lyrics centered on depression and making one’s way through life as an outcast. “And those hyper-personal moments are really what we have in common, which is especially exciting because these are things people don’t normally talk about. … When you blast this stuff out there, it becomes easier to realize that it’s not just me, and it’s not just a couple people. There are a lot of us going through it.”