Stellar new punk rock from The Dirtbombs
Alright, readers. What’s the deal here? Why has no one told me about The Dirtbombs? I had to stumble upon them myself. How is it no one has directed me to check out this crazy good punk/soul/rock band? I was actually making my rounds at the library when I picked up “If You Don’t Already Have a Look.” The cover didn’t particularly draw me. I had never heard of the band, though I like the name. I just picked it up at random.
I got home and spun it and song after song kicked my ass. “If You Don’t…” is a double album with no less than 52 songs on it. And it is tremendous. I was thinking, “Jeez, do these guys stop? Save some for the next album, fellas.” Well, it turns out “If You Don’t…” is a compilation of singles, rarities, and covers from a band out of Detroit, MI with 4 albums to their credit in the last 10 years.
At the core of The Dirbombs is Mick Collins, a founding member of the influential punk band, The Gories. Over the years, though, a slew of Detroit musicians has contributed to the band (including Troy Gregory, who has done quality work with a variety of bands and who is going to get his own write up on this blog soon). The sound is mainly punk, though without the anger. There is a lot of pop sprinkled with some funk. They achieve a raw garage band sound, which wouldn’t normally sound like something one has to “achieve,” but the songs are clever and catchy and the arrangements are thin and perfect. The energy is inescapable and I have checked their website for tour dates because it sounds like their show would be the most fun you could have standing up.
I will have to go back and buy the rest of their catalog, but I have a feeling “If You Don’t Already Have a Look” is the best way I could have discovered this band. Of the 52 songs on the disc, 27 are now shaking up my iPod. Disc 1 is full of original singles and rarities. Sadly, I can’t recommend the songs with the coolest titles, because they weren’t my favorites. That means you’ll have to go find ‘I’m Saving Myself (for Nichelle Nichols),’ ‘Never Licking You Again,’ ‘Candyass,’ ‘She Played Me Like a Booger,’ and ‘They Hate Us in Scandanavia’ on your own. However, I will link you to these great songs.
- Stuck Under My Shoe – This will give you a feel for much of this release. Simple, energetic music and lyrics that aren’t deep, but are clever and fun.
- Here Comes That Sound Again – The song reminds me a lot of ‘Major Tom,’ the 80s hit by Peter Schilling, minus the suck. This chorus is much cooler.
- Cedar Point ’76 – Here is one of the rarities from this release. It’s about being a teen and trying to pick up some chick at the Ohio amusement park.
- Headlights On – Dirty rhythm guitar and wailing lead guitar back a danceable groove that is worthy of Beck.
- Merit – The rhythm isn’t as fast as a lot of punk, but the drummer sounds appropriately pissed about the great guitar riff.
Disc 2 is all covers, which knocks me out.
- Maybe Your Baby – I had never heard this song by the Cheater Slicks, but I’m glad the Dirtbombs decided to play it for me.
- No Expectations – Yes, the Rolling Stones’ classic. The Dirtbombs pep it up and blend it with ‘Sympathy for the Devil,’ which it actually follows on the Stones’ ablum “Beggars Banquet,” complete with the ‘Sympathy’ percussion and the backing “Hoo hoos.”
- Kiss Kiss Kiss – The original Yoko Ono version nearly ruined “Double Fantasy” all by itself. I hated this song for 30 years, but hearing the Dirtbombs’ cover makes me realize that the song is weird but interesting. The problem was Yoko.
- Mystified – Here they dig up a gem from The Romantics. This is not a song I had ever heard, but then I could probably only name 1 Romantics song.
- Ha Ha Ha – I barely remembered this song by Flipper, the classic 80s punk band. It’s a great choice. The Dirtbombs clean up the sound a little bit and make it less repellent than the original. You don’t get to hear the laughing chorus on this sample, which would be the only part you would remember if you don’t recognize the title.
The good news is the band seems to still be cranking out music and should be due for another one soon.
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