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Detroit punks pay tribute to
Motor City dance music

The Dirtbombs - Party Store
(In The Red Records)
3 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: April 22, 2011
The Dirtbombs

Review by Tony Bonyata

While no American city can claim garage and punk rock solely as their own, if any were to be so bold it would have to be Detroit. Scraping by on little money, even fewer jobs and an endless stream of alcohol, the Motor City has been a breeding ground for rock musicians ever since revolutionaries such as the MC5 and The Stooges did a lawn job on the nation's psyche back in the late '60s with their provoking and in-your-face proto-punk. While newer bands such as The White Stripes, The Soledad Brothers, The Detroit Cobras and The Von Bondies have all helped carry the garage rock torch into a new generation, it's actually The Dirtbombs that are revered as the city's premiere garage band (it should also be noted that even before this band, frontman Mick Collins led the influential group, The Gories, in the late '80s, which melded punk, garage rock and the blues).

The Dirtbombs have long looked to their own city for their musical inspirations, from garage and punk to the soul and R&B sounds of Motown (as witnessed on their 2011 album of R&B covers, Ultraglide In Black). Now on their fifth full-length, entitled Party Store, the quintet pay homage to another unique music genre that took its first steps in the Motor City - Techno. Early pioneers such as Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, Derrick May and Eddie Fowlkes have long been revered among techno fans and all-night ravers not only in Detroit, but worldwide as well. Collins, a longtime fan of this art form, and The Dirtbombs have crafted an interesting hybrid of rock and electronica that's every bit as gritty as the city it was spawned from.

The party kicks-off with the psychotic Teutonic plundering of Juan Atkins' early '80s electro-group Cybotron on the number "Cosmic Cars," before goose-stepping their way into a hypnotic reworking of A Number Of Names' 1981 underground dance hit "Sharevari." They also turn in groove-inspired takes of Aztec Mystic's "Jaguar," Derrick May's frenetic "Strings Of Life" and DJ Assault's rallying dancefloor call-to-arms "Tear The Club Up." But it's their cover of Carl Craig's "Bug In The Bass Bin" that really finds The Dirtbombs stretching out on this expansive 21 minute mind-bending freakout, as they explore jazz, trance, jarring psychedelia and angular math rock through a sci-fi looking glass.

Overall Party Store is a creative tip-of-the-hat from one Detroit legend to many others, and proves that The Dirtbombs may just be the perfect group to mix raunchy garage rock with icy techno music. Just don't try this at home, kids.

Related articles:

The Dirtbombs - Concert review - Milwaukee, WI - May 2008
The Hives / The Dirtbombs - Concert review - Milwaukee, WI - Dec. 2004
A brief tour through Detroit's Musical Legacy - Apr. 2003

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