At least, it's not the first place someone would look for rock and roll like the kind played The Dirty Nil. This Canadian three piece is loud, unabashed, and often out of control, which is exactly how the three of them found each other.
"Kyle [Fisher] and I have known each other since kindergarten and we met Dave [Nardi] in high school," says frontman and guitarist Luke Bentham. "It was a small school so we were pretty much immediately introduced because of our common appreciation for all things loud."
Their first music video off a 7-inch single, Little Metal Baby Fist, caught some attention after the band put out a roughly edited and camped up lip sync video with friends. The video became what Bentham calls the love child of two Daves — drummer Nardi plotted the concept and their long-time friend Dave Durham had the gumption to execute it.
"It came together very quickly and painlessly, which is reflected in the production value," says Bethman. "Fuck any square that can't get down with a strobe light or Tom Hanks."
The backside of the Little Metal Baby Fist hits equally hard. Hate Is A Stone drops back the pace into a brooding, self-reflective alternative rocker. It also contains a roughed up rage cover of Moonage Daydream by David Bowie.
The Dirty Nil strips the cover back to under three minutes, easily making it their own. At the same time, the rendition pays homage. Bowie's lyrics play as relevant today as they did back then.
"Lots of songs get thrown out. It's an important part of making anything. Once you stop editing, you're done," Bentham said. "As for meanings: space, sugar, liquor. You know, the usual."
Little Metal Baby Fist also represents a change in direction from their earliest work, if not their attitude. What is harder to discern is where the directional changes are leading them. For Bentham, the major changes are bigger amps and becoming increasingly comfortable with vocal harmonies.
Although out on a different 7" inch release, The Dirty Nil just recently put out Zombie Eyed, a fiery single that makes no apologies for sounding like a harsher, screaming early Weezer. The single is slightly less dirty than the live cut made for the video, but not by much.
Zombie Eyed was put out as a split with Northern Primitive, a four-piece out of Welland, which is closer to Niagara Falls and Buffalo, but also part of the Hamilton music scene. The song, Positive Bondar, is heavier and sludgier than some the band's other atmospheric folk rock pieces.
"The split was a long time coming. We've played a lot of shows with Northern Primitive and this was the perfect time to come together," says Bentham. "Hamilton is packed with awesome bands who don't step on each other's toes. It's a great place to be a band because it's big enough to draw great crowds but small enough to grow. The rent is cheap."
Hamilton is also a great city to be based as the band broadens their touring radius, including cities like Toronto. As they put together some more tracks, they are also anxious to play on the other side of the border. In fact, Bentham says they would like more American ears to hear their music before they lay down their first full length. After playing together for five years, any LP would likely be well received.
Little Metal Baby Fist By The Dirty Nil Punches 8.1 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.
Although The Dirty Nil wears its influences audibly, they always manage to reshape their sound in ways that are distinctly their own. The fact is that the band might already be signed if not for a few questionable early offers making them skittish about contracts and how much fun they have putting out singles and EPs.
As long as they continue to make music, either creating it organically as a band or off some power chords and vocal melodies that Bentham brings in, the three of them are happy. Although you won't find their music up on Amazon or iTunes, the band lists their recent releases on Bandcamp. You can also find them on Facebook. The best place to see them is in a venue, where all local bands need support.