Monday, June 28, 2010

Getting Inside of Brody Dalle : (Her Mind, You Perverts!)

Brody Dalle was one of those musicians that blew me away on first listen. Her raw vocals were akin to Courtney Love but far surpassed them. Every album by The Distillers is a gem for me. The debut was rough, but displayed a fierce punk power and intensity you can only get from an artist who lived the lifestyle. Their second release, Sing, Sing Death House, was a lot more focused. Like an enraged Courtney Love fronting Rancid. The album should be in every punk collection. Period.
    At this point I started doing some research on the band and in the back of my mind, it kinda bothered me that The Distillers sounded so much like Rancid. After some digging, but not much, I found Brody Dalle was dating Tim Armstrong from Rancid at the time. Crazy coincidence or another case of Kurt & Courtney? I didn't pay it no mind even though my brain was telling me something was wrong. So the years went by and The Distillers released Coral Fang. A much more mature album that retained all the intensity of their previous releases... but... something was... different. It was as if this maturity came out of left field. Seemed kinda odd. Went back to digging. Apparently Brody dumped Tim around this time, and hooked up with Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age. Eerie coincidence or diabolical scheme?
    Coral Fang felt like a refined hybrid of Rancid & QOTSA, but again, the album was so good. I didn't pay attention to that nagging brain maggot eating at my skull. A year or so went by and The Distillers broke up. Sadness was had by all. But soon. Brody came back with a new group after becoming hitched to Josh Homme. The Spinnerette band was born. I bought my copy and slapped that record on to hear the first cut "Ghetto Love"... which set my mind maggots on explode. It sounds so much like a Queens of The Stone Age track that it hurts my brain. Even the tone of Queen of The Stone Age's 3's & 7's can be heard throughout the song.
      My conclusion is this : Brody Dalle is either a master of male manipulation, or the most absorbent  artistic sponge on the planet. Draining out the talent of her significant others like a musical succubus. This could all be in my head, but my ears say otherwise. If it's just development through osmosis, the kudos for learning and applying. If it's something else... then we have another Kurt & Courtney thing going on... and poor Dave Grohl is stuck in the middle all over again. (Grohl works with Homme on Them Crooked Vultures) Then again it could just be some honest riffing going on between husband and wife. What the hell do I know! I don't live with them!
      Regardless of my theory, all The Distillers albums are excellent and essential listening for anyone looking for various degrees of raw emotion and powerful punk. The Spinnerette debut is a little too QOTSA for me, but worth a listen. Their Ghetto Love EP has the song "Valium Knights" which is not on the debut but is worth the purchase. Still can't shake this feeling though. Any thoughts?

8 comments:

  1. Y'know, I thought of that when I heard the Spinnerette disc. I like it, but it's such a drastic shift from the Distillers. My thought wasn't as much that she was an artistic sponge as much as that she might just be easily led. Perhaps she has no artistic direction of her own. Either way, all four albums rock my world, so whatever the case, she's doing something right in my opinion.

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  2. She was married to Tim, not just dating him. He wrote "fall back down" and "Tropical London" about it. I like Spinnerette but I feel like Brody was really on to something with the Distillers that's missing with her current band. Or maybe it's that she has seemed to be constantly pregnant and putting her music to the side since marrying Homme.

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  3. @Spookywolffe yeah, that's another good theory. Didn't think that she may just not have her own path or something. I agree too. All the albums kick ass and regardless of the circumstances in which they were made, I'm glad they were.

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  4. @coffeemug yeah, kinda missed the Distillers sound. I gotta check up on the dating/married time line. Thought they were dating during "Sing, Sing," and broke up after wards.

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  5. Personally as a big fan of Distillers, I never really compared them to Rancid or considered them too similar...and still wouldnt, although I can hear what you mean about the 3&7's track and Ghetto Love. I also think Tony Bevilacqua, who she worked with in both Distillers and Spinnerette, must have had some input into the music making, enough so that any similarities couldnt be totally placed at the feet of Brody. By the way have you heard the track "Weigh on my mind" on the Transplants first album? She's singing in the chorus on that, so obviously they shared tastes in music...but I couldnt bring myself to say she was a musical succubus.

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  6. @David Good point. I'll check into the Transplants track. Besides I'm not faulting her for it. Could just be me being overly critical. Hey, it happens : P

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  7. I realize how really late this comment is, but I just stumbled (not with the Internet program thing) on this blog, and when I read through, I was very excited that you wrote something about the Distillers, one of my favorite bands out of all time itself. Now all the dating experience aside, I always thought that their album timeline followed sort of like Linkin Park's timeline (beat me if you will). The production value went through the roof because of the maturity and centering the focus musicially in theory. In other words if I played a song like "Hall of Mirrors" for example against one of their earlier tracks, I would notice how the instruments are significantly concentrated to follow the vocals and most of all each other really well (if that makes any sense at all). But it wasn't until you brought up these points with Brody and her relationships with two of these artists that I realized all of these albums are easily influenced. Makes me want to see if any other bands have this kind of pattern.

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