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Dead Tooth





Dead Tooth's "Pig Pile" pays homage to the burdened beast within

Dead Tooth’s EP Pig Pile (Trash Casual / Academy Fight Songs) lives up to its title and then some featuring not only “pig piles” but also the aforementioned swine piled onto piles of sheep (an image from the EP’s title song and cover art!) not to mention the packs of white wild wolves eyeing your coop and soft white doves conspiring with savage baboons to make a man out of you and then of course there's the hawks and fury'd doves flying off white horses bucking hard and spitting blood knee high in crude oil and that’s just to paraphrase a few of the animal-related lyrics on the record. 

So clearly we’re talking less “docile petting zoo” and more “insurrectionary animal farm” because the beasts on Pig Pile are mad as hell and they’re not gonna take it anymore which is more than justified and I wouldn’t be surprised if they invited Orca, Cujo, and Willard’s rodent friends over for later.

In the interim since Dead Tooth put out their debut EP Still Beats the DT's spent their Plague Years pretty productively by putting out a clutch of compelling stand-alone singles including a summer beach party jam (see below) plus two collaborations with Darius VanSluytman from electro-soul rockers No Surrender and a cover version of a well-known disco anthem transformed into a yearning dirge about trying to survive, and thus they could have easily put out a full LP's worth of material if they'd just thrown all these other songs onto the "Pig Pile" but there's a reason "EP" rhymes with "integrity" I suppose.

Pig Pile sees Dead Tooth up the ante on their already nervy and dirty post-punk with six gnarly, gnarled songs full of intertwining guitar and no shortage of shredding (shredded guitar is rich in fiber!) ably anchored by the roustabout rhythms of drummer Dylan DePice and bassist Jason Smith who provide ballast for the vocal musings of head songwriter Zach Ellis aka Zach James aka The Adventures of the Silver Spaceman as he pivots between ranting-and-raving-street-preacher-who-may-actually-be-a-derelict-prophet mode (“Hell Shack,” “Pig Pile,” "Hollow Skin") and slapback-echo-laden-Lux-Interior-in-baritone-tones mode (“Nightmare America") and full-on-crooning-slow-burn-building-to-a-head-and-heart-clutching-climax mode (“Blind,” “Riverboat”).

To the ears of this listener all this rampant Pig Piling resonates strongly with the contemporary moment in all its weird-mixed-up dread and euphoria glory whilst spinning around on a planet playing chicken with its own fate at least until all those chickens come home to roost. And “Blind” is a prime example building up gradually like a suspense movie soundtrack equal parts ominous and intoxicating (that chorus tho!) and the same goes for the eerily beautiful feral-fever-dream postindustrial walkabout music video featuring the animal graces of dancer/choreographer Nola Sporn Smith and maybe all this is tied to Zach's skateboarding past too and the Platonic ideal of living forever in-the-moment whilst teetering on the edge but who knows.



If you wanna "read more about it" re: the history of Dead Tooth and about their creative process and all that sorta stuff then you could start by watching the interview above and then by clicking on some of the hyperlinks found in this piece but the quick version is that the band was borne out of a chance encounter between our man Zach and one Andrew Bailey while both employed at a vegan diner near Brooklyn’s fabled Sweatshop Rehearsal Studios (RIP) and at the time the former didn't even know the latter played (and still plays) guitar in a scrappy little band called DIIV who likewise know a thing or two about joining together tension, bliss, and catharsis.

And finally just to make sure you're all up to date (that's our job!) the Dead Toothers spent the past week down in Tejas playing SXSW culminating with the Austin EastCiders X BdBK X Our Wicked Lady showcase, and not too long before that they were victorious in the OWL Winter Madness Battle of the Bands (who needs "March Madness" sports yuck!) which led to an officially designated sponsorship by CHEETOS® brand Crunchy FLAMIN' HOT® Cheese Flavored Snacks so here's hoping some of that hot processed cheese-puffery fairy dust rubs off on the rest of us because we're animals like that. (Jason Lee)

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Dead Tooth head on down to the "Hell Shack"

We here at DeliCorp Enterprises would like to wish a happy two-week songaversary to “Hell Shack,” Dead Tooth's latest single and their disquieting but not at all quiet answer to the B-52's "Love Shack." And since two-week anniversaries are known as the aluminum foil anniversary (editor's note: there is no known evidence this is true) we hope that they enjoy the tin foil hats we just dropped in the mail for all the band members because judging from their latest song it seems they've maybe been receiving some alien transmissions lately.

On "Hell Shack" the Dead Toothers continue to refine their post-punky trailer-parky electric blues psychedelic electro-rock sound and no I don’t get paid by the word. Speaking of words, band frontman Zach James describes the song as an “almost dumb and brutish voice of a self deprecating ephemera addict who's trying to find words for indescribable feelings of anger, hurt, mistrust, doubt and shame [and] it’s about setting fire to what was and being at war with the id [and] it’s the destructive and creative forces working together to build my heaven like I built my Hell Shack” and well hell he took the words right out of my mouth.

But damn if "Hell Shack" doesn’t live up to this hype because it's a pretty epic piece of music squeezed into three minutes and seventeen seconds--starting with a minimalist guitar/keyboard backing which sounds kinda like the B-52s in a rare funk (see what I mean) but then vocally you've got more of a “Subterranean Homesick Blues” vibe with stacatto verbiage and mashed-up imagery and rhyme-schemery (opening lines: “a terse versed vulgar purse snatching witch / I’m on the back of the bottom of your itch”) that hooks the listener from the get go (editor's note: no listeners were consulted for this write-up) and builds in intensity before a runaway Beastie Boys riff enters the picture about a minute in and then it’s straight into some techno-phallic guitar riffage and lyrics about “fight[ing] fire with fury and full choir” and “tell[ing] that fat headed pig we want out tomorrow.”

So you're thinking "OK Dylan meets Zeppelin it's been done before" but halfway through the song drops into an ambient "Kid A" style K-hole for a short spell before launching into an extended outro over a groovy syncopated beat and ghostly reverb slow-motion melody with a vocal line that becomes increasingly chant-like unleashing who knows what malevolent forces with lines like “the idol kills, the idol grows.” But in the end its Dead Tooth who kills it with a nicely vibey final minute that builds in intensity riding off into the sunset or would that be the sulpheric flames of Hell? Needless to say wherever you end up it was a journey getting there.

 

Oh and there’s a video too which you may have noticed up top, but if you prefer your music remain unvisualized check it out directly above. In the music video for "Hell Shack" people chase each other around a lot (mostly members of the band I think) but it's definitely not the screaming teens of A Hard Day's Night chasing after Dead Tooth's limo. There’s a kidnapping or something involved and maybe some gangsters and definitely a skateboard theft. So hey maybe it doesn't set a very good example for the children but it’s fun and there's some slow motion parts but be forewarned it gets a bit violent at times—like when Zach gets bashed across the face apparently right after he just ingested a bunch of tator tots because he spits ketchup everywhere all over the pavement. It happens. And while I'm forced to dock the video one star for not including any Trans Am sports cars (plus no cameo by Nathan Wind) it's still a fairly entertaining piece of work. (Jason Lee)





Dead Tooth & No Surrender "Hate The Precedent”

 A joint effort between underground electro-fusionists No Surrender and psyched-out local supergroup Dead Tooth released earlier this month, “I Hate the Precedent” is the first fruit of an ongoing collaboration. Intro’ed by a slithering bass groove over ominous electronic textures, Dead Tooth vocalist/guitarist Zach James entreats a certain “ol’ blubber leper [to] please spare your rod” (portrayed below wearing what looks like a Michael Myers mask painted orange). Enter the catchy dance-rock hook and lyrical refrain: “I hate the president / and the precedent that he sets.” Following a volley of staccato guitar outbursts the second-verse vocals are taken over by No Surrender's Darius VanSluytman--“my brother’s a stranger / in his very own land”--until all involved ride out the refrain to the end. More succinct and funkier than a filibuster, one hopes this track will inspire more musical crossovers between Brooklyn artists. (Jason Lee

 





Dead Tooth unveil dynamic single "Spirit" + play Secret Project Robot 09.17

Once they find that balance of instrumentation, that catchy groove and winsome hook, most bands find ways to build up to those moments, not evolve them. But Dead Tooth’s latest single “Spirit” from their Still Beats EP, masters the transition from a slowburn balance of guitar licks, whispered vocals, and psychedelic bass, to increasingly tense drums with a distinct giddyup, frantic vocals and fuzzy wall of guitars. The track is reminiscent of My Morning Jacket, featuring a trippy, southern-rock jam with whispery vocals that solidify as the song continues to grow into a vibe all its own. And at its apex, the explosiveness returns to the simple melody that kicked everything off, a shift marking just how natural this band can craft dynamics in their music. Dead Tooth are set to perform September 17 at Secret Project Robot, and you can stream “Spirit” below. – Tucker Pennington

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