Rock marriages rarely work. There's traveling, concerts, promo junkets, photo shoots and recording sessions. Where's the time? So when the union between The Distillers' Brody Dalle and Rancid's Tim Armstrong bit the dust it caused little stir. Fortunately, the relationship was not Dalle's defining moment. In the end, it provided some inspiration.
Born in Australia, Dalle hit the Punk circuit with Sourpuss but the band failed to connect so she immigrated to the U.S. in '98. Teaming up with guitarist Rose Casper, The Distillers soon added bassist Kim "Chi" Fuelleman and drummer Matt Young. This line-up signed with Hellcat Records, a subsidiary of Epitaph, run by Armstrong. The group released their self-titled debut in '00 before Fuelleman and Young left to join Original Sin, fronted by former X vocalist Exene Cervenka.
With bassist Ryan Sinn and drummer Andy Outbreak onboard the group released their sophomore LP in '02. "Sing Sing Death House" was notable for the killer track "Seneca Falls." Another set of changes was at hand. First, Dalle's marriage to Armstrong dissolved. Second, "Sing Sing Death House" did well enough to draw major label attention. Guitarist/vocalist Tony Bradley and drummer Andy Granelli stepped in for '03 release "Coral Fang," with the "bleeding woman Christ-figure" cover. It came out on Sire Records.
2000 The Distillers Record
2002 Sing Sing Death House
2003 Coral Fang
Comparisons between Courtney Love and Brody Dalle are inevitable. There are similarities in look, attitude and off-stage romantic/personal difficulties. But the comparisons are dashed the instant Dalle opens her mouth. She's one of a kind with a unique raw power and charisma to burn. There's almost a masculine timbre to her voice that occasionally reveals vulnerability. With the combination of Dalle's intense full throated vocals and the minimalist Punk approach, The Distillers strike a chord on "Coral Fang." Reacting to the break-up with Armstrong this "goodbye" album is unrelenting. There's the thrashing drive of "Drain The Blood" and the speed Punk of "Die On A Rope." Also, "Beat Your Heart Out" is a great Rocker. If you're going to "kiss off" someone, this is the way to do it. The slow plodding intro, giving way to a screeching blast, is just what you'd expect "Deathsex" to be.
Regardless of who is in the group, The Distillers deliver hook-laden Punk with a ferocity that goes for the kill. Their self-titled debut roars out of the gate. "Sing Sing Death House" has an undeniable power and hot track list. Both are recommended.