Both the sound and lineups of Dayton’s Dirty Socialites have changed over the years. However, they prefer to see it as evolution with one foot still firmly planted in their lo-fi origins.
“It’s still in the same vein. It’s a lot different than what we have been doing over the years,” says singer and guitarist Gretta Smak.
After nearly two years off, the band will celebrate the release of their third full-length album, Critics and Syntax, this Friday at Jimmie’s Ladder 11. Sonically, it seems a world away from the group’s 2011 debut, Amor Or Armor, which dripped with overcast '90s influences like Sonic Youth. But Derek Gullett (guitar/vocals), the band’s other original member, says it’s the way Dirty Socialites has grown.
“This has been like an experiment. This is the first record that I didn’t write lyrics for; just stream of consciousness. I felt a little more free to not overly structure everything I’m doing. I feel like everything that we’ve been doing up to now wasn’t allowed to...," he stops before adding, “This is different.”
And whereas the band took a step in the indie-meets-psychedelia direction with their 2013 release, Temple of Psychedelic Youth, they put a boot through the floorboard with the aggressive and distorted tension found on Critics.
That came as a partial result of Gullett’s time away from the group while working on other projects.
“I think (when I came back), instead of writing into a genre, I just started writing, and allowed myself to write whatever,” Gullett says. “When we came back, I revisited stuff that I liked from my youth more, and it’s definitely more aggressive.”
“Some of it’s bordering on Noise and No Wave and some of it’s more coherent,” adds drummer Brandon Broome, whose brother Jacob has joined the group on bass.
The newest release is part of a three-album project Dirty Socialites is working on after a creative spurt that led to 125 recorded songs. The second album in that trio is already finished and set for a fall release on the band’s Fantastic Freak Family label, which also has releases from other bands on the horizon. The group had intended to release an album each month, but Gullett thought better of the idea.
“I wanted to do that, but it’s hard to curate them into logical albums. I wanted to curate it a little more and create an experience.”
Smak, who did most of the vocal heavy lifting in the early days of Dirty Socialites, doesn’t seem to mind sharing vocal and songwriting duties.
“It has a different energy now,” she says. “I think now, with the four of us, we don’t even have to come in with a song. Somebody will just start playing something and it naturally turns into a song magically.”
“We still play some of the songs from the first record,” Gullett adds. “But even those have kind of evolved a little bit.”
He also enjoys the fact that his band isn’t what it started out as and challenges other area musicians to do their own evolution.
“I think Dayton (musicians) need to remember where they came from and what made them different. And we need to celebrate it.”