Hearing Aide: The Dirty Pennies ‘EP’

With 2017’s Kick Out The Rocks, The Dirty Pennies blend blues with other styles of music, feeling out the boundaries of how far they could push the genre. Now with their new EP (aptly entitled EP) they’ve mapped out their niche: grungy rust-belt garage rock, steeped in surf rock and blues.

EP is short, but sweet, containing only three songs. “I’m Giving Up” whets the appetite. The song starts off slow and surreal, but picks up by the end of the first chorus, effectively changing the song from an end-of-the-workday dirge to a happy-hour anthem. The music video for this song is a lot of fun, too. It features the band members breaking free of the drudgery of banal workaday life. “I’m a sad man, too. I’m your poor man’s blues,” sings Ryan Klem with a slight warble. “But I know, yeah I know it ends somewhere.”

“Things You Say” is a heavy-hitter. Drummer Lucas Howe pulls no punches as he shows off with his ability to both unleash the beast within and reel it back in. Joe Mungo holds down the rhythm on bass, keeping the song grounded so Klem can let-fly some lofty guitar riffs.

EP ends with the five-plus-minute ballad “Kingpin.” It’s heavy and heady, with an undulating psychedelic beat. The washy guitar effects and the repetitive lyric “I get up/I get down” leaves the listener entranced. About halfway through, the tempo changes and they’re injecting some good old fashioned rock and roll. The song comes full circle, winding back down. “You can’t stop me. I’m not as easy as they come. Stuck in the same frame, I’m making my way out on my own.”

The Dirty Pennies have come a long way since Kick Out The Rocks. You can still hear elements the members’ various musical interests (including Americana, hard rock, and alternative), but they’ve blended them in such a way as to make a sound all their own. Not some polished newly minted copper, but a sound that befits their namesake.

EP was recorded at Rochester’s Wicked Squid Studios, where it was engineered by Josh Pettinger and mixed and mastered by Greg Thompson. Album artwork credit goes to Mike Turzanski.

Listen to the release in full on Bandcamp. And while you’re there, check out their merch store stocked with copies of EP and Kick Out the Rocks as well as some new t-shirt designs. Copies of EP will also be available at the release party at The Bug Jar in Rochester on Friday April 19.