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Alibi Picks

Playing Dirty

Ever notice how different sets of ears hear things, well, differently? Take Oakland, Calif., quartet Everything is Dirty. Peruse online reviews and you’ll find numerous references to grunge, art rock and psychedelic. The meaning of pigeonholing tags—which all us music scribblers adore—shift over time as music changes. For instance, “soul” used to mean cornbread vocals by Sam & Dave backed by plenty of horns. These days, soul means (ugh) Robin Thicke or (less ugh) Duffy. That '90s catchall phrase “alternative rock” referred to the watered-down but occasionally worthy successor to '80s “indie rock” on labels like Merge and 4AD but ultimately degenerated into describing knuckleheads like Fred Durst.

If Everyone Is Dirty is grunge, then so is Weezer. Art noise? Sure, there’s some droning here and there, but I guess anything vaguely atonal is “noise” to masses who nowadays prefer songs that are more beat than melody or harmony or anything else that was once the hallmark of popular (pop) music. Live, the band does tend to venture heavily into “improv” and “jam”—two words that always fill me with dread. Singer Sivan Gur-Arieh takes her electric violin into Jean-Luc Ponty territory, while Christopher Daddio's guitar solos are sometimes longer than necessary but not by much; that's good for a guy like me whose attention wanders when soloists noodle around above the fifth or sixth fret. Psychedelic? Please. Only people who have never taken drugs use that word.

Here’s my take: Everything is Dirty's recorded output is post-Breeders, post post-Pixies, texture-rich and crunchy with vocals reminiscent of Louise Post (Veruca Salt), Chrissy Amphlett (Divinyls) and Kristin Hersh (Throwing Muses). (And if three “posts” in one sentence isn’t enough, I don’t know what is.) Of course, I think I’m correct, but see for yourself at Low Spirits (2823 Second Street NW) on Monday, July 14, at 9pm. Cover is $5. Low Spirits • Mon Jul 14 • 9pm • $5 • 21+ • View on Alibi calendar