Dirtbombs, Party Store, In the Red
"[A] sci-fi dork in a leather jacket." --Fred Thomas on Mick Collins
It took awhile to get ahold of this CD, which everyone has heard
by now--at least everyone who was dying to hear Motor City ti-
tans the Dirtbombs put their stamp on Detroit techno. As I sus-
pected (and fervently hoped): Party Store was worth the wait.
For anyone who thinks it's an about-face, it isn't. Detroit native
Mick Collins has been talking up techno for awhile now (when I
interviewed him for Tablet in 2005, Collins said, "I have a techno
record coming out later this year"). Further, he hints at things to
come on 2008's We Have You Surrounded, which features more
robotic/post-punk moves than any Dirtbombs effort to date.
That doesn't mean the new record attempts to out-manmachine
Kraftwerk or Daft Punk. The quintet hasn't put their humanity a-
side. Even when MC strives to sing like an android, he still sounds
like a man--on "Sharevari," he's a French one...with bionic parts.
Consequently, Party Store feels more cohesive than the schizo
Surrounded, their last studio recording. In that sense, it serves
as a twin to their soul and funk collection, Ultraglide in Black.
Granted, I'm not sure that Carl Craig's "Bug in the Bassbin" needs
to exceed 20 minutes. Then again, once you've locked onto a good
groove, you might as well, pace James Brown, do it to death. "Bug"
is the kind of quasi-psychedelic jam meant more for trancing than
dancing, though the group's patented two-drummer attack (Pat
Pantano and Ben Blackwell) insures that you can do that, too.
Also, epics tend to work best at the beginning or end of LPs,
whereas "Bug" arrives in the middle. What the hell, the Dirt-
bombs have always played by their own rules. It's also an in-
strumental, like "Jaguar," so if Mick's vocals are your favorite
part of the 'bombs, this won't be your favorite release (I reco-
mmend neophytes start with Ultraglide, and work forward).
Ironically, Party Store doesn't make me want to go off on a
techno bender, which may say more about me than the Dirt-
bombs. Rather, it makes me want to spin the disc non-stop--
which definitely says something about the band in question.
***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ******
Bonus: Click here for the Kyle Hall remix of "Bug in the Bassbin," here
for the Ectomorph remix of "Jaguar," and here for the Omar S remix of
"Sharevari." (All three are available on a gatefold, limited-edition 12".)
Endnote: If interested, you can find most of the original tracks
on YouTube, like Derrick May/Rhythim Is Rhythim's "Strings of Life." Click here for more Dirtbombs reviews, videos, info, etc. Image from This Is Book's Music (photograph © Brian Alesi).