The Distillers, s/t (Hellcat)

Holy Fuck.

Punk rockers have for decades been trying to do with their voices what they do with their guitars. The sharper, the better. Gritty voices just emphasize the point a little better. And my God, do the Distillers have one fucking hell of a voice in Brody Armstrong. Within the first four seconds of this album, it’s evident that this is a larynx to be reckoned with. The amount of snot and tar and bile in her throat could choke a horse.

The music is the sort of garage punk that draws as much inspiration from metal as it does good ole fashioned rock and roll. It’s modern punk that doesn’t really sound a damn thing like modern punk. The guitars bite and slash through charging drums, but there’s no “chugga chugga chugga” muted string guitar playing. Every song is hell-for-leather rock ‘n’ roll with plenty of attitude.

Anthemic songs like “Open Sky” and “L.A. Girl” are liberating in their shredded anger. Who else makes you want to roll down the windows and scream: “Open Sky/open Ether..All this shit! All this shit! All this shit!”? Or the super-catchy, fist-pumping chorus in “L.A. Girl”: “God Almighty! What the fuck happened to you?”

I feel sure Brody would kill me for saying this if she ever met me, but this kind of rock ‘n’ roll with a girl singer/screamer is everything I always wanted to hear from Joan Jett, the Donnas, Hole [I don’t listen to Hole, but I would if they sounded like this]… and, for that matter, Axl Rose. The Distillers are not afraid to push their rock ‘n’ roll to the very edge of good reason and total abandon. And it sounds so alive for it. Instead of a careful studio album that they could energize live, The Distillers have created an album that will be hard to top in any setting. Despite 75% of the band having two x-chromosomes, this album is loaded with more testosterone than drenched in more semen than Jenna Jameson’s ass.

-ta