Ever notice how different set of ears can hear things, well, differently? Take Oakland, California quartet Everything is Dirty. Peruse the online reviews and you’ll find numerous references to Grunge. Art rock. Psychedelic. The meaning of pigeon-hole tags (which all us music scribblers adore ) shift over time as music changes. For instance, Soul used to mean cornbread vocals by Sam & Dave, backed by plenty of horns. These days, soul means (ugh) Robin Thicke or (less ugh) Duffy. That ‘90s catchall phrase “alternative rock” was the watered-down but occasionally worthy successor to ‘80s “indie” on labels like Merge or 4AD but just degenerated into describing knuckleheads like Fred Durst.
If Everyone Is Dirty is grunge then so is Weezer. Art noise? Sure, there’s some droning here and there but I guess anything vaguely atonal is noise to the masses who nowadays prefer songs that are more beat than melody or harmony or anything else that was once the hallmark of popular (pop) music. Live, the band does tend to venture a bit too heavily into improv and jam, two words that always fill me with dread. Singer Sivan Gur-Arieh takes her electric violin into Jean-Luc Ponty territory ( in spirit it must be stressed and not in talent or execution) while Christopher Daddio's guitar solos are at times longer than necessary but not by much. This is good for a guy like me whose attention wanders when the soloist noodles around above the fifth or sixth fret. Psychedelic? Please. Only people that have never taken drugs use that word.
Here’s my take: Their recorded output is post-Breeders, post-post Pixies, texture-rich and crunchy with vocals reminiscent of Louise Post (Veruca Salt), Christina Amphlett (Divinyls) and Kristen Hersh (Throwing Muses) (And if four “posts” in one sentence isn’t enough, I don’t know what is). As a live act, though, because of the jam aspect I'm a little trepidatious.
Monday July 14, 2014
2823 2nd Street NW