THE DIRTY NIL play the Silver Dollar on March 21. See listing. Rating: NNN
The Dirty Nil have expended a curious amount of energy on seasonal cover song mixtapes, amusing videos and a handful of short and dirty 7-inches. Perhaps in preparation for finally making the jump to full-length albums, they've released five songs on 10-inch white vinyl (also available on cassette and digitally).
On Smite, the Hamilton three-piece maintain a hard-driving, unhinged approach to punk rock. Songs are short, straightforward blasts, with group shouting and generally insolent lyrics. Wrestle Yü To Hüsker Dü is the anomaly, more reminiscent of the alternative rock to which the title nods.
Guitarist Luke Bentham shreds his voice like he's having a conniption, evoking early Hole without the sludge. And while he still does the lion's share of singing, bassist Dave Nardi takes the reins on the dissonant, lurching New Flesh, also his first songwriting contribution. Shehzaad Jiwani from Greys, meanwhile, pipes up on pop-punky Beat.
The change-ups signify a band unafraid of taking risks while on the way to finding its voice.
Top track: Pale Blue