Nov. 20, 2003

The Distillers To Take A Bite With “Coral Fang”

By Randy J. Klodz

It has been a while since Courtney Love made headlines for something that she first became famous--making great music while being a strong-mouthed female in a male-dominated music industry for the band Hole. Hole’s most recent album, the acclaimed “Celebrity Skin,” released in the Fall of 1998, but female vocalist and guitarist, Brody Dalle has begun filling Love’s shoes as lead singer for emerging rock acts the Distillers.

Dalle isn’t being thwarted into rock stardom without some essential tools: Her ex-husband Tim Armstrong is the driving force behind one of punk-rock’s most famed bands, Rancid. She’s also gifted in that she plays with a supporting cast of musically talented males: Tony Bradley on guitars, Ryan Sinn on bass and Andy Granelle on drums.

With being married to what some would call a punk-rock icon, and comprising a band of talented musicians, Dalle and the rest of the Distillers are paving a course toward becoming a hit. To start the trek, the band released “Sing Sing Death House” on Epitaph Records in June of 2002. But what could be the most convincing moves include the release of “Coral Fang” on Oct. 14, and a slot on this year’s Lollapalooza tour that stared such famed acts as Jane’s Addiction and Incubus.

Some of the 11 track titles that comprise “Coral Fang” sound like the typical titles found on most angst ridden punk-rock records: “Die on a Rope,” “Beat Your Heart Out” and “Drain the Blood--all songs of which Dalle comprises a creative singing style. She often sweetly sings while two seconds later a screaming growl may ensue.

“The Hunger” begins with an acoustic guitar riff and slowly erupts into a heavy guitar dirge with Dalle becoming angrier by the second. But Dalle volleys back and forth between soft and abrasive, making for the strongest track on the album. With the lyrics: “Open sky the wave of pain the scent of you is bliss / Hungry eyes they stare at me / I know, I know, don't go,” Dalle sweetly sings all but the “don’t go” portion, which is screamed as if somebody was piercing her eyeball.

Though the Distillers haven’t played Chicago since the July 12 Lollapalooza date, the band seems to tour relentlessly, and probably won’t stay gone for long. For more information on the band log on to www.thedistillers.com.
The Distillers Photo: James Minchin III