Midwestern Songs of the Americas (Hopeless)
by Scott Hefflon
Dillinger Four is one of those bands that you like, but you’re never really sure why. Trying to convince a friend (or a reader) that they’d like D4 cuz, um, they, like, rock, OK?, just doesn’t cut it. Perhaps you could mention that they’re from Minneapolis and play some of the noisiest melodic punk this side of somewhere, or you could bring up the scratchy soundbite intros, or the yelling-through-a-bullhorn vocal that counterpoints the kinda hoarse main vocal. Or maybe you could mention the dirty, fat-ass bass (some might call it phat, but I can usually find a stick or stone within arm’s reach with which to break their bonz, dig?) and the sense of fuckin’ humor the band has. Humor not as in, aren’t we clever, pretentious little fuckers?, but as in the kind A.C. has. Quickly amend that Dillinger Four doesn’t belch out one song for, Christ, how many albums?, but they title their songs “It’s a fine line between the monkey and the robot,” “Portrait of The Artist as a Fucking Asshole,” “Super powers enable me to blend in with machinery,” “doublewhiskeycokenoice,” “Supermodels don’t drink Colt 45,” “Mosh for Jesus,” “‘Honey, I Shit the Hot Tub,'” and “The Great American Going Out Of Business Sale.” Hell, man, it ain’t gonna work. Ya haveta play ’em the disc and “encourage” ’em to read the lyrics as the CD’s playing (I find an arm twisted behind the back works well cuz they can still hold the booklet, but turning pages becomes difficult). “Portrait of The Artist as a Fucking Asshole” has an almost Beach Boys chorus, but with Lemmy and a bullhorned maniac (a Bad Brainiac, perhaps?) carrying the verses. I keep singing Joe Jackson’s “Happy Loving Couples” (Guttermouth covered it on Before You Were Punk, for those of you still in the single digits during the ’80s) along with it. That means it’s catchy, duh. And once your friend reads the lyrics about growing up in a dismal, jaded, automated (by humans) environment filled with uneducated, judgmental people (a volatile mix, to be sure), thinking there’s so little hope it’s pretty tempting to destroy any functional brain cells ya may have missed on yer last binge… Hey, if you use a headlock, yer friend can’t hear, OK? Play ’em “Mosh for Jesus” (which sounds kinda like “All Kinds of Girls”) or “Honey, I Shit the Hot Tub” and if they’re not bouncing around a bit, while captivated by well-written lyrics, you may’ve accidentally killed them. That’s the only possible reason they’re not moving. And moved. Are they blue? Hell, the closing track, “The Great American Going Out Of Business Sale,” is so damn cool, if by this point they aren’t convinced Dillinger Four fuckin’ rocks, than they ain’t no friend after all. Fuck ’em. Really, your actions at this point are justifiable. How fitting – the closing sample is a “Taps” dirge with a small female choir singing… Who knew “Taps” had words?
(PO Box 7495 Van Nuys, CA 91409)