Monday, July 23, 2018

Record Review //
Dirk Vermin & the Hostile Talent
"Sweet Dreams (From The Gutter)"
(SquidHat Records)

$15 // //

Though I'm not entirely sure why or how, at some point in time what was considered to be punk rock- in terms of the mainstream- changed.   When I was in my younger years and my friends worked at Hot Topic, it was actually punk.   It was actually a place you could go and buy t-shirts and stickers that were for punk bands.   And then all that changed because now you go there and it's all pop punk and emo and, yeah, hardcore too, but there's just something not right about going to Hot Topic and buying a Good Charlotte t-shirt and thinking it's the same as me going there in '98 and seeing bands which have seemingly since been run out of town.

Dirk Vermin & the Hostile Talent have this old school punk rock mentality but there are also hardcore/metal elements in here as well.    As easy as this could be something from the first "Punk-O-Rama" (Epitaph) it has that blend of a band such as Motorhead or Bullets and Octane.    Though it is faster paced and heavy, there are just great guitar riffs in here which should make any other band take notice.    With some rock n roll as well, this has the distinct feeling of a band that would've played CBGB's back in the day.

Songs of rebellion are anti-tv, but in other ways they are anti-everything.    This could be the soundtrack to trashing a stranger's house and in that way I also think of it as being skate punk.   I imagine a video for a lot of these songs where a group of skater kids "borrows" a drained pool to skate in and in that way it does feel like I'd find a VHS one day that has exactly that on it-- kids skating in the 1980's with this as the soundtrack.

The flip side opens with "It's Time To Drink" which is about exactly what you think, with the line "I know I've had enough but it's time to drink".    "Robots R Here" reminds me of Guttermouth while "Freakshow Rodeo" has those "Jennifer Lost the War" (Offspring) guitars.    "Lipstick Smears & Bloodshot Eyes" has these killer guitar riffs but still manages to maintain some of that Guttermouth sass, which really is just something punk rock needs and has been missing for I don't know how long.

For me, punk rock is not something to be taken lightly.   If you trace it back to its roots, what you'll find is that even when I was listening to bands in the 1990's and thinking "This is more punk than what passes for punk these days", it still wasn't as punk as what was happening in the 70's and so in that sense I feel like what the view of the majority sees as "punk" has been diluted over time.   So it's not enough to go back and listen to Social Distortion, but you need to go back to all the bands from CBGB's.   Read books, watch documentaries, listen to records, but just knowing your history is so important because for every band like Dirk Vermin and the Hostile Talent who are keeping punk rock alive there will be something like twenty more in a more mainstream eye trying to redefine it.

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