Dirty Ghosts Graft Grit To Their Unlikely Summer Jams

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 12, 2012 3:00PM

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Dirty Ghosts photo by Jeff Spirer via the band's website

A few years ago we were sent a few demos by a group we only knew as Dirty Ghosts. From what we could tell they owned some really beat up synths and drum machines along with some ancient guitars and the resulting sound was delicious. It was lo-fi, but in the way that sounded like old Stax sides played through a punk rock Victrola. We fell in love with the tunes but could never divine anything solid about the band outside the fact that somewhere in the mix a woman was delivering vocals.

Fast-forward two years and we suddenly find Metal Moon, the debut full-length from Dirty Ghosts, sitting in our inbox. It turns out the group was a duo at the beginning of their existence but is now a one-woman show led by Allyson Baker. It takes the clackety grooves of those early demos and improves on them throughout the album's ten songs proving that the handful of early tunes was no fluke. The aesthetic Baker develops throughout Metal Moon might be described as one DIY, one part rawk swagger, one part LES soul and all parts self-assured attitude. The cherry on top is Baker's oddly dual vocal delivery which takes sing-song melodies and punches them through with a powerful delivery to that knows when to flow with and accent against the instrumental bed surrounding her voice.

There's a minimalistic ethic at work throughout the album, most of the rhythm underpinnings strive for a powerful simplicity, but the textured layering of counter rhythms, along with liquid bass lines and expertly administered guitar work all come together in unexpected ways that keeps the album interesting no matter how long you have it on repeat. (And we've had it on repeat quite a bit, lately.)

In some ways this is a terrific summer album since it manages to be infused simultaneously with a vibe that's equally "driving along the coastline" and "emerging from a sweaty dance club only to realize it's three in the afternoon." Baker and her band hit The Empty Bottle tonight and we're hoping to experience all of the above and hope that onstage things blossom outward even further. Check out some of their tunes below, then we hope to see you at the show!

MP3: Dirty Ghosts "Roped That Way"

Dirty Ghosts plays tonight, April 12, at The Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western, 9:30 p.m., $8, 21+