A Punk, a Slacker and Wimps Walk Into a Bar


The punk orders a beer. The slacker, this being Washington, lights up a spliff. Wimps order a pizza, get on the bar, do a big shoe dance and then on their way out knock over the row of Harley’s outside. All is fine and nobody gets their lights punched out because even though they call themselves Wimps their kinda tough in a not so tough kind of way. They’ve also got some street cred having hung out with the Intelligence, Partman Parthorse and Meth Teeth to name just a few who have their backs.

Brand spanking new Seattle record label End of Time also has their backs. The label has  just released Wimps debut long player Repeat. It’s full of short sharp shocks and two letters short of Repeater. Wimps songs  adhere to the  three chords and a cloud of dust rule. They’re raw, immediate, self-deprecating and fun. And who doesn’t need humorous odes to naps, intoxication, bad jobs, and the general banality of life to crank up when you need to forget about your sucky life?

stream: Wimps – Nap (from their album Repeat out now on End of Time)


I saw Wimps back in November open for Wax Idols and the Terry Malts. They rocked like they already knew what the hell they were doing even though I think that it was only their first or second show. Wimps are a trio. Rachel Ratner  plays guitar, sings and makes cool maps. Matt Nyce  plays bass and draws. Dave Ramm plays drums and makes pizzas. Wimps are raw power with nothing in the way. It’s punk rock the way it use to be; short, sharp and loud. Oh yeah, and they’ve got some good songs too, which you don’t have to take my word for any longer since they’ve put up a six song demo for you to download.  Wimps play this Friday at Black Lodge with Unnatural Helpers, Spurm and Uzi Rash.

stream/download (for you RSS types): Wimps – Demo

Dutchess and the Duke at the Crocodile

Dutchess & the Duke | Dead Ghosts | Meth Teeth at the Crocodile – 9 October 2009

Dutchess & the Duke

Listening to the Dutchess and the Duke punk rock might not be the first thing that comes to mind. On the surface, they are two folkies with acoustic guitars singing harmony laden songs.  The punk attitude comes out in fits and spurts though.  They had begun to play I Am Just a Ghost which starts out quiet before roaring into a haunting harmonic crescendo and the talkers at the Crocodile nearly drowned them out.  Not one to grin and bear it, Kimberly Morrison yells into the mic, “Shut the Fuck Up!”  That is the kind of attitude that spills over into their songs and makes what in the hands of a couple hippies would be just boring mopey songs, but with the Dutchess and the Duke they turn into punk rock songs. Things also make a little more sense when you look at their history.  Morrison has played in the Intelligence and plays bass in Unnatural Helpers while Jesse Lortz’s former band was the lo-fi garage rockers Fe-Fi Fo Fums.

Their second album Sunset/Sunrise which was just release this past week is a very similar to their debut, but a little darker in it’s sound and more introspective in the lyrical subject matter Jesse Lortz tackles.  Sunset/Sunrise also sees Kimberly Morrison more prominently featured with not only her harmonies getting more play, but she takes the lead on two of the new songs.  Friday night at the Crocodile the Dutchess and the Duke were at full power, the duo was augmented with drums, keyboard, and bass (Ruben Mendez from the Coconut Coolouts).  The harmonies are the cornerstone of the Dutchess and the Duke and the entire band got in on the action, replicating what Lortz and Morrison created in the studio.   This was the first time I really noticed Lortz’s prowess on guitar, his leads seem simple, but his Johnny Cash crossed with Velvet Underground playing gave the songs on this night a little more allure, not that they needed any.  In the age of fixing vocals in the recording studio for people who can’t sing,  Lortz and Morrison are the real deal.  They ain’t faking it.  Real punks never would, would they?

mp3: Dutchess & the Duke – Living This Life (from Sunset/Sunrise, buy it from Hardly Art)

Of the two opening bands I was looking forward to seeing Meth Teeth who are from Portland and have an album out on Brooklyn’s Woodsist records.  Like most things on Woodsist, Meth Teeth could be described as lo-fi.  Live, they were just that, no more, no less.

The surprise of the night was Vancouver’s Dead Ghosts (redundant right?).  As I watched their shambolic set I could not stop smiling.  Their drummer with his tall lanky frame packed behind the kit reminded me of Rick Menck of Velvet Crush except he didn’t get up and come out to the mic to talk to the audience between songs.  One guitarist broke a string mid set, but they didn’t seem to be deterred and shambled on. I’m a fan of Italy’s Love Boat and San Francisco’s Nodzzz and so are these guys.  They’ve got a handful of singles out to date, but are apparently recording a full length with Bryan Sandridge who did the first Dutchess and the Duke Record.  Looking forward to that, indeed. Here’s video I shot of one of their songs:

Dutchess & the Duke set list and tour dates after the click…
Read More