Dirty Streets – Blades Of Grass (Alive Records)


Classic rock is sounding real tired these days – the thrill of those great songs killed by endless radio overplay –  but once in a while a new band with youthful energy makes it sound exciting again. Memphis trio Dirty Streets are one such group, and their third album Blades of Grass is the perfect remedy for people who love the harder-edged side of classic rock but are sick of hearing the same few Zeppelin, Aerosmith, and James Gang songs over and over on whatever corporate station rules your local airwaves. Drenching boulder-heavy riffs in southern soul grease isn’t a particularly revolutionary idea, but combining these elements in short punchy tracks at a time when few bands are making straight-ahead rock records make Dirty Streets something of a revelation. Opener “Stay Thirsty” is the band in a nutshell, with a durable riff (from Justin Toland), a funky rhythm and pleading vocals (also from Toland) all well recorded at their hometown’s famed Ardent Studios. Elsewhere, “No Need To Rest” is “Funk #49″,”Mississippi Queen” and “Over The Hills and Far Away” blended into a tasty rock smoothie, “Movements #2” is their previous album’s title track reworked, and “Keep An Eye Out” has some crackin’ Meters influences lurking beneath the hard surface. It’s a strong record, but there’s room for improvement, liked the clichéd “world-gone-wrong” lyrics that make “Talk” an awkward foray into Sly and The Family Stone-style “message rock”. Even flawed, I’ll take a well-executed album of long-haired rock’n’roll over forgettable flavor-of-the-month records any day.

 

The Dirty Streets – Movements (Soul Patch Records)


Do you miss the old days when power trios ruled the earth? Do you yearn for the era when long-haired bands played high-energy blues, soul and psychedelia at intense volumes, inventing hard-rock in the process? If so, do yourself a favor and get acquainted with this young Memphis trio right away. Their debut, Movements, may not be the most well-recorded album ever to hit my stereo, but lo-fi sound isn’t a big problem because the band are infectious and rocking. They’ve got raw energy and accomplished musicianship that might recall classic rock, but also sounds totally vital in the here and now. You want some specific reference points? No problem. I can hear bits of The Who (circa Live at Leeds), very early Aerosmith, The Black Keys (before they hooked up with Danger Mouse) and even distant hints of Booker T. and The MGs (albeit a much heavier version). Movement’s ten songs all smoke, but the opening trio of “Broke As A Man Can Be”, “Clouds Of Strange” and “Felt” are where The Dirty Streets strike the perfect balance of muscle and melody. I’d love to hear what these guys could do with a bigger recording budget somewhere down the line, but they’re off to a ripping start.

Stream the whole damn thing right here: