Saturday, May 26, 2012
Dikes of Holland: Keeping Austin (and Missoula) Wired
Since the emergence of early 21st century marketing strategies encouraging our respective cities to keep themselves “weird,” I’ve heard many a road worn traveler--myself included--note comparisons between Austin and Missoula: semi-isolated, progressive strongholds in spite of the surrounding area’s more red-state proclivities; thriving music communities; a shared love of river floating; a deep communal urge to praise Jah Himself through the inhalation of the stickiest of ickies; etc... etc... We two towns also have a deep tradition of producing and having a serious love for Thee Good Time Rockin’ Garage Band™. Recently, Missoula has seen an avid resurgence of appreciation for these kinds of party tunes, and our fair share of new local bands stylistically obliging to go with it. It’s an appreciation that never really left--but seems stronger now than ever. Weird stuff? Sure. Also amped up, rowdy and playfully destructive. And not to sound presumptuous, but I suspect we Missoulian’s are going to cotton pretty hard to Austin’s Dikes Of Holland for this very reason.
Take the song “No Desire” off their self-titled record. It starts off with a single anxious, pulsing guitar chord. The band kicks in. Alright, man. YES. It’s droning and shaking like Swell Maps took a detour on their way to Marineville in favor for Germany in 1972, with a dash of freakbeat ah-ah vocals. Brief melodies and hooks pop in and out of the tide. This shit is cruising speed. Suddenly, the band drops out. A plaintive chord and voice proclaim and repeat: “Ain’t got no more desire.” Is this defeat? Are you leaving us so soon? The band responds with a demonic NOPE as they kick back in sounding like a particularly agitated Hot Snakes on some new amphetamine shriek. It’s the sonic equivalent to flaming double middle fingers from someone who’s teen-wolfing a hearse on their way to the blood bank for lunch. It’s dark. It’s fun. It’s fucking cool.
Their whole record rabidly rocks and rolls like this. Vibes from the Cramps and the Sonics shine through; maybe a little Mummies, the Fugs. Attitude music. Stuff that reminds you school is a waste of time and Sunday nights are just as good as any to party. And without fail, every time you think Dikes of Holland are about crash for the night with that half full beer in their hand, they’re back on the coffee table screaming, telling you how much they hate your parents. I want to hate my parents too.