Blue – Only Attitude – Single Compilation Review

Back in September, Blacktop Records asked me to review BLUE – Only Attitude.

I like to impersonate my heroes, so I’m doing it a month late.

What’s Only Attitude?

Only Attitude is a single compilation, written and recorded by Ross Miller, the bassist of Canadian Juno Award Winners, the Dirty Nil.

The compilation comprises of two previous releases, Positive Attitude and Only Anger, released in August 2018 and June 2019 respectively.

It came out on 27th September 2019, so I’m pretty late to the party.

At seven tracks, it clocks in at just under 12 minutes. Listen to it on bandcamp.

What Does It Sound Like?

Hardcore punk. Like, you know, proper East Coast Hardcore. Not a 2010 variant of hardcore punk (you know, AFI…)

Fugazi. It sounds a lot like Fugazi. But less funky (Waiting Room is totally funky). Energy that I guess seems slightly reminiscent of Gorilla Biscuits’ first EP.

Primal, urgent and apparently with a positive message. Fast, abrasive, not-tuneful throughout. It’s interesting if you like that sort of stuff. But if you don’t, it’ll probably damage your stomach lining.

While it’s all the result of low production values, the first five songs (Positive Attitude) are raw-er. The bass thumps, guitars drive faster than they should, and it sounds kinda shambolically muscular. Maybe lean’s a better word. Last two songs (Only Anger) are mellower, with more vocals that are more exposed.

I didn’t really appreciate the apparently positive message.

Greater lyrical diversity would have be a boon. First four songs are blue obsessed.

Picks: track 2. Feelin’ Blue, track 5. Comparable Compassion and track 6. Only Anger

Opinion: Not easy listening. Interesting if you like 80’s hardcore. Definitely less polished than any of the Dirty Nil‘s efforts. Dynamic changes on tracks 2 and 5 are nice.

3 BEERS

Why This Is Such An Important Development

A real record label asked me to review something.

That means I’m officially a music journalist.

Rolling Stone and Pitchfork are probably trying to get hold of me. So like, could everyone please continue to not call me.

Thanks.

MUSIC REVIEW: The Dirty Nil @ Boston Music Room, London

The Dirty Nil played Boston Music Room on Friday, 28 September 2018. 

I went along. Here’s how it was:

The Dirty Nil, Winter Passing & Weatherstate @ Boston Music Room, London

Friday, 28 September 2019

Guitars, sequin, sparkles and a whole lot of men.

For those who don’t care enough to look them up, the Dirty Nil are a three piece ‘rock’n’roll’ band from Ontario, Canada. They won a Juno last year (2017) which I presume is the Canadian equivalent to America’s loftiest honour: the MTV Award. I think the recognition was for their exceptional cover of B. A. Johnston’s ‘My Heart is Broken like an Old Nintendo’.

Why did I go? I don’t know.

To the gig: 

The venue was at half capacity, awash with Less than Jake t-shirts, chequered sweatbands and fringes that weren’t even cool when the Black Parade was playing on Kerrang!. Very male.

Weatherstate were the first support. They put in a good performance but somehow managed to come across as a more English looking but American sounding version of Feeder. I’m sure they’ve tried covering Buck Rogers by replacing all references to Jaguars with Corvettes. Cliche choruses ranging from ‘Smell the Coffee’ and ‘Lately you’ve been lying low’. 

Second support The Winter Passing were folky and correspondingly lacklustre. Tried and failed at getting the crowd going. Might have worked in a different context, but wasn’t right for the night. Sadly PA system received more applause when Code Orange’s, Bleeding the blur came on.

The Dirty Nil announced their arrival with a type of (I don’t say certain) style. Front man, Luke Bentham was attired in a racy black cowboy shirt peppered with sequins and set off with a snarl. Real dandy.

The band were competent and played well to the crowd. For a three-piece in a small venue the show was surprisingly bombastic, verging on crazy theatrical. Exactly what displays of ‘rock’n’roll’ should be.

Distilled: it was eighty percent power chords, fifteen percent self-aware curls of the upper lip with a remaining five percent ‘feeling of loss at the worryingly social-misfit-esque vibe of the crowd’.

They delivered an impressively meaty set focused on their latest LP Master Volume – so more pop punk than the abrasive outbursts of Higher Power, but the crowd were into it. Managed to keep up momentum despite the intensity of the first forty minutes.

Highlights included a high octane delivery of Bathed in light, a return to 2011’s Fuckin’ up young, a not so harrowing Evil side and a good closer with Bury me at the rodeo.

The Dirty Nil play a certain type of rock music. In this context rock and pomp managed to go comfortably hand-in-hand without inspiring winces. But it’s a fine line. Whether you like their current direction or not there’s no doubt that they play well and deliver more than their records ever could live.

Solid gig.

Set list: That’s what heaven feels like, Bathed in light, Pain of infinity, Cinnamon, No weaknesses, Zombie eyed, Always high, Fuckin’ up young, Auf weidersehen, Smoking is magic, Friends in sky, I don’t want that phone call, Know your rodent, Big Star’s – September Gurls, Wrestle yü to Hüsker Dü, Evil side, Metallica’s – Hit the lights and Bury me at the rodeo