472 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139

4/12 THE DIRTBOMBS @ The Middle East Downstairs with Kelley Stoltz (Sub Pop Records)

Category: Music

Saturday, April 12, 2008
The Middle East Downstairs

Kelley Stoltz (Sub Pop Records)
The Konks

8PM doors


The Dirtbombs are a rock n roll band based in metro Detroit, Michigan, notable for blending diverse influences such as garage rock, punk rock and soul while featuring a dual bass guitar, dual drum and guitar lineup. The Dirtbombs were formed by Mick Collins (of the influential garage rock band The Gories) as a side project and started recording songs by 1995.

One of Mick Collins many post-Gories projects, the Dirtbombs initially seemed to exist more in concept than in reality. As if in reaction to the bass-less sound of the Gories, the Detroit-based band brought together two drummers, two bass players, and Collins on vocals and guitar. And other than consistently loud volumes and lots of noise, the Dirtbombs actually displayed a surprisingly diverse sound, composing across a broad spectrum of styles from garage rock, punk, and glam, to classic soul and R&B. They began primarily as a 7" band, issuing five singles before Larry Hardy of In the Red convinced them to record a full-length, 1998s Horndog Fest. After issuing another handful of singles, the Dirtbombs released their sophomore album, Ultraglide in Black, in May 2001. An album devoted to vintage R&B covers, Ultraglide in Black won the band a growing following in Europe, aided by frequent overseas touring (including a jaunt with the White Stripes). Collins and company returned to a tougher, more rock-oriented sound for 2003s Dangerous Magical Noise, and came back in 2005 with Billiards at Nine Thirty, a split album with King Khan and his Shrines. That same May, In the Red released If You Dont Already Have a Look, a two-disc compilation that featured 52 tracks comprising cover tunes, singles, and six new songs. By this point, the Dirtbombss revolving lineup had more or less solidified around Collins, drummers Ben Blackwell and Pat Pantano, and bassists Ko Shih and Troy Gregory. The quintet continued to tour, licensed their music for use in several commercials, and returned to the studio in Fall 2006 to begin working on a new release. Although originally intended to be a 4-song EP, the project soon turned into the bands fourth full-length effort. Entitled We Have You Surrounded, it was released in February 2008. allmusic.com

Artist Website: http://www.thedirtbombs.net/

KELLEY STOLTZ (Sub Pop Records)

San Francisco home-recording multi-instrumentalist Kelley Stoltz spent the better part of the past three years promoting and distributing his last album himself. "I finished Antique Glow in 2001, but found myself without a label when it was ready for release. So, being a vinyl nut, I decided to press up a couple hundred and, to save some money, painted all the covers myself. I sold them at shows and stores all around San Francisco. After that the record took on a life of its own." With the support and praise of SF songwriter Chuck Prophet (ex-Green On Red), Antique Glow made its way down to Australia where it was picked up by Corduroy/Raoul Records who gave the album its first proper CD release in 2002. A five star review in The Melbourne Age led to an Australian tour and a minor radio hit followed in the Small Faces-go-to-sea romp, "Underwaters Where the Action Is."

Back in San Francisco in 2003, Jackpine Social Club (Oranger, Sonny Smith) gave the album a much-needed US release on CD. And, soon enough, on the recommendation of an SF record store clerk, one of the hand-painted Antique Glow LPs landed in the hands of Ben Blackwell of Detroit fuzz-rockers, the Dirtbombs. So smitten with the album was Ben, that he ordered another copy and passed it along to Simon Keeler, of Englands Beautiful Happiness label. Antique Glow soon caught on with the English press and Stoltz was given a 4-star review and tapped for a "Mojo Rising" feature in MOJO magazine, as well as critical praise in Ptolemaic Terrascope, Uncut, Record Collector and on BBC6 radio. At years end Antique Glow was ranked 24 in MOJOs "40 Best Albums of 2004," described as, "a time capsule only recently discovereda jamboree grab-bag of delights filled with everything from psychedelic folk and cosmic troubadour pop to garage-rock and lysergic R&B one of the years major finds." UK and European touring followed in the spring of 2005.

Stoltz next turned his attention to an accidental tribute record: a song-by-song cover of Echo & the Bunnymens Crocodiles. "I recorded that the last week of 2001. I had just finished Antique Glow and wasnt writing any cool original stuff and one day, fooling around, I recorded the first song on that record. Crocodiles has always been one of my favorite albums and that first track was so much fun I did the rest of the album in succession. I knew most of the words and the drum parts from when I was a kid and the chords were easy to figure out." The recording of the Crockodials album coincided with several live performances of the record with a full band that featured Spiral Stairs (Pavement/Preston School of Industry) on lead guitar. "It was great, we had a fog machine, I spoke in a drunken Liverpudlian accent &mdmash; we ended up playing that show for the CMJ festival in New York and Will Sergeant from the Bunnymen came and saw ithe was chuffed." Released on Beautiful Happiness in early 2005, the album garnered accolades from domestic and international press, and Stoltz was finally free again to focus on his own songs.

Below the Branches, like Stoltzs past efforts, was recorded at home on an 8-track reel-to-reel. "I have the drums, amps, pianos, toy xylophones and the rest all crammed in with my bed and desk it gets a bit claustrophobic, but its the way I like to record; to get something at the moment, or even before the moment, of creation; to roll tape and see what comes out, before rethinking things too much."

"I play all the instruments and record everything myself, at home, so essentially Im always in the studio. I write and record things all the time and my home studio affords me the chance to work on songs whenever I want."

The years that passed between official releases allowed Kelley to amass a wealth of great new songs (many of which may never be heard until the career-spanning box-set is released). "Ive got loads of songsso making a record is really just choosing my favorites and deciding which ones sound best together."

Below the Branches picks up where Antique Glow left off, combining psych rock, folk, blues, and pop in its 13 tracks, but Kelley explores new directions as well. "On the new album, I played lots more piano. For the first time ever I had a piano in my recording room, so it appears on a lot of the new tracks. The guitar has been my primary songwriting instrument for the last ten years, so switching to something new, learning the chords as I go along, has made the writing process more fun." Stoltzs songs take shape as improvisational-pop, and as a devoted music fan, his influences often leap out in the songs but just as quickly merge into something else. "Ever Thought of Coming Back is the obvious example in that its indebted to the Beach Boys style of harmonies and it has a Carl Wilson-like lead vocal, but halfway through, some New Order guitar-line comes in and its all new again", says Sean Coleman, who plays guitar in the live band and who along with Kevin Ink (the Residents, Frank Black) helped Stoltz to add further overdubs and mix the record. The live band is rounded out by Shayde Sartin (Skygreen Leopards) on bass and John Hofer (Mother Hips) on drums.

Artist Website: http://www.electriccity.org/


A few years back, Skinny Mike from the now defunct Speed Devils called up friend Bob Wilson and mentioned he was putting on a shindig called the White Trash Fest and asked Bob if he wanted a slot on the bill. Of course Bob accepted, now all he had to do was form a band. Bob called up Kurt Davis who came aboard no questions asked.

Kurt and Bob wrote up a set list of original songs before they even picked up instruments or wrote any music. Bob then asked Jon Porth if he wanted to join their band. They had a gig lined up and a list of song titles. Jon said, "Sure, oh by the way, what instrument am I playing?" They met in the backroom of the old Mystery Train records store in Boston. Bob brought his beat up guitar and his sixties Sears & Roebuck amp. Jon dragged a homemade upright bass that was found in the trash and held together with duct tape. Kurt showed up with his voice of an angel (ha), a tom, a snare and a case of PBR, hoping the beer would make up for his lack of drum kit. He dumped some albums out of two milk crates, one crate labeled Jazz, the other Blues and threw the snare on top of the stack.

The Konks were born.

Sometime after midnight in the back of that record store, three rock n roll luvin, record collectin, beer drinkin musicians with hearts in the past and minds in the future proceeded to pick up their instruments and create some real true Rock n Roll magic. But right before that magic happened, the guys decided to take a break, crack some more beers and chew the fat a little bit more. Thus the magic eluded them and they never stumbled on it again. With no magic, a little luck and even less talent the Konks still have a lot of fun playing their out of tune, out of fashion and out of control brand of Rock n Roll, labeled by some as "Garage Punk" but labeled by most as "a goddamn racket" .

Artist Website: http://www.myspace.com/thekonks

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Added by middleeast on April 11, 2008

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