Monday, February 15, 2010

Review #65: The Distillers - The Distillers (EP) (1999)


Year: 1999
Genre: Punk Rock
Sub-Genres: Hardcore
Label: Epitaph Records
Tracks: 4
Length: 7 Minutes (Very Short)
Style: Angry/Rebellious/Happy
My Rating: 7/8

Few bands of the recent era of rock n' roll have interested me more than the Distillers. While not quite extremely innovative or anything like that, they made up for that in honest emotion and songwriting skills. But I've said that all before. This is their debut 7" EP. It is very hard to find (only 500 pressings were ever made) and hardly anybody's ever heard of it. It contains early versions of four songs that would later appear on their first LP, and it was published on Epitaph Records.

1. Old Scratch
This one is a criticism of churches and organized religion that suck individuality out of their followers and fill them with fear for their lives. This iz the shortest song on the album (under a minute long).

2. L.A. Girl
Brody's voice sounds like Courtney Love's a little in this one. I think it is about the struggles of living in Los Angeles, that leads her to believe that "God almighty" is "NOT red, white, and blue." I like the vocal harmonies in the chorus to this one.

3. Colossus U.S.A.
I for one think the two songs on the second half of this EP are better than the two on the first half. This iz a song on the second half. This song is about poverty and the difficulty of finding employment as a poor person in the United States. My favorite part of the song is the "What ya live for, when you're no-one, what you do and where ya come from?" part... just hooks you in, ya know? Brody's voice sounds awesome, here. For some reason it really gets me when she says "dissipated understanding"... just sounds really fuckin' cool. It alternates between mid-tempo sections, and fast, hectic ones.

4. Blackheart
This is one of the best Distillers songs ever in general. I love it. A lot of people probably see it as filler, but I just really like this one. It's chock-full of rage, energy, and excellent vocal harmonies. I don't really know what the lyrics mean here, but the main line throughout the later part of the song is "Don't I Need This?". The chorus takes up most of the song, and it starts with Brody and Kim simply harmonizing the lyrics, until Kim just keeps going, and Brody is screaming her lungs out in punk-rock fury. The vocals sound a little more awkward here, which is a plus to me. I listen to this one while driving a lot. (Yes, I'm copying most of the stuff I say from my review of the debut LP).

It's real short, but a fun listen. You get to hear the Distillers in more 90's-esque production values, early takes on some of their songs, and you could tell they were already going to be great by this point. It's just a shame they didn't put another song or two on here.

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