Danish born vocalist/guitarist
Henrik Ostergaard formed Dirty Looks in Erie, Pennsylvania before heading
to the bright lights of San Francisco, California. While in California, and
upon their return home, the group had a revolving door membership yet managed
to release an EP and three independent (and hard to find) albums before Atlantic records
came calling. The band then relocated to Rochester, NY and became local favorites at places like The Penny Arcade. For their major label
debut Dirty Looks consisted of Paul Lidel (guitar), Jack Pyers (bass) and
Gene Barnett (drums). The resulting album, Cool From The Wire, proved to be
one the band's biggest successes and even found its way onto the Billboard charts.
In 1990 Gene Barnett
left to join Lillian Axe, and
a new rhythm section of Brian Perry (bass) and Jim Harris (drums) were recruited
for Five Easy Pieces. The group broke up following this release, with Ostergaard
forming Rumbledog, Lidel hooking up with Dangerous
Toys (and later Broken Teeth)
and Perry resurfacing in Bubble. Ostergaard began recording under the
Dirty Looks moniker again in 1994 releasing several albums without any information
on who was playing on them. The classic "Cool from the Wire" line-up reformed
in 2007 to record "Superdeluxe".
While working on 2010's I.C.U. album, new Dirty Looks bassist Greg Pianka was stabbed to death in a bar fight but appears on the album posthumously.
Henrik Ostergaard, lead singer and frontman for Dirty Looks, passed away Thursday, January 27, 2011 at 9:18 a.m. from natural causes.
Dirty Looks (Axe Killer Records) 1984/1985
Dirty Looks (FnA Records) 1984/2010
1. You Can't Take Me (2:48)
2. Crazy, Crazy (3:38)
3. Get Back (2:38)
4. She's A Rocker (3:10)
5. Get Off (3:20)
6. Wild Child (2:37)
7. Told You So (3:17)
8. Get Ready (3:45)
9. On Your Back (3:41)
10. I Love You (3:07)
11. And I Do (3:41)
12. Hold Tight (4:20)
13. She's On Top (4:11)
14. My Time (5:28)
15. Tell Me (3:49)
1. You Can't Take Me
2. Crazy, Crazy
3. Get Back
4. She's a Rocker
5. Get Off
6. Wild Child
7. Told You So
8. Get Ready
9. On Your Back
10. I Love You
When I was in college in
Rochester, NY in the mid-80's, I had a roommate that was from Pennsylvania who
was friends with the Dirty Looks guys. He had one of the only copies of the original independent pressing of the band's first full length album that I have ever seen. Dirty Looks first full-length, self-titled album was recorded by Henrik Ostergaard and band while living in San Francisco. These early recordings were self-released by the band in 1984 with a black and white cover. The album was released in 1985 by Axe Killler Records in France with a full-color cover in very limited quantities.
Musically, Dirty Looks hadn't quite found their sound yet. Some of the songs are decisively more metallic than the sleazier, AC/DC inspired hard rock the band would play on future releases. Several of these early songs were later re-recorded for other albums. "You Can't Take Me", "She's A Rocker", "Get Off" and "On Your Back" were released on "In Your Face" in 1987. "Get Ready" was re-worked and re-titled many years later as "Last Call Sally" for the first Rumbledog album.
Henrik Ostergaard played all the guitar parts on this album, as well as recorded all the vocals. Drummer Paul Anthony "Buck Dulle" and bassist Jimmy Chartley didn't move back to the East Coast with Henrik after the album was recorded and were not part of the band any longer.
Both the independent pressing and the French Axe Killer pressing are both rather rare. In 2010 FnA Records re-released this album on CD with yet another new cover and five bonus tracks including the band's first EP. The four EP tracks aren't recorded as well as the album tracks, but are a nice addition as the EP is extremely rare. "Hold Tight" is a straight-forward heavy metal song. "She's on Top" is also traditional heavy metal, though the band throws a twist in with a keyboard solo. "My Time" and "Tell Me" combine heavy riffs with 80's keys and sounds very little like anything Dirty Looks would ever record again. The mastering on the FnA release is a bit harsh and loud. The vinyl has a warmer sound and the cymbals aren't as harsh and piercing.
Dirty Looks - In Your Face (Sticky Records) 1987
Dirty Looks - In Your Face (FnA Records) 1987/2010
1. She's a Rocker (3:15)
2. Can't Take My Eyes Off of You (3:18)
3. You Can't Take Me (2:48)
4. Put a Spell On You (3:25)
5. Get Off (3:21)
6. Tokyo (3:20)
7. On Your Back (3:44)
8. Let Me Go (3:44)
9. Oh Ruby (4:01)
10. Undercover (2:53)
11. Nevermore (3:59)
Originally released on cassette and vinyl on the bands own Sticky Records, this album was the one that got me hooked on Dirty Looks. Infectious as the flu with enough hooks to snag a whale, "In Your Face" is chock full of heavy, dirty, boogie metal. Henrick was often accused of being a Bon Scott clone, and sure enough on songs like "Oh Ruby" that influence is apparent, but he also has a charm an charisma that is all his own. Much of the material on here would show up on the band's first major label debut, however, I actually prefer the more raw recordings here. Perhaps it's nostalgia and the fact that I heard these versions first, but songs like "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You", "Tokyo" and "Oh Ruby" are awesome on this independent release. "She's A Rocker", a track that was also on the band's first LP, did not make it onto "Cool from the Wire" which is a shame because this song was a signature track by the band. I own a vinyl transfer on CDR as well as the original vinyl copy on Sticky Records.
Vinyl copy of "In
Your Face" (Sticky 1003)
Dirty Looks 8x10 promo photo
In 2010 before the untimely death of vocalist Henrik Ostergaard, he made a deal with FnA Records to remaster and re-release the band's first three independent records on CD. I had spoken to him on the phone not long before his passing. He and I were speaking of his new Christian faith and how to balance that faith with playing in a rock 'n' roll band. These are conversations I will never forget. In our last conversation, he told me he was going to send copies of each of these FnA releases, but sadly he passed away before that happened. He did send me a handwritten letter of thanks before his death, which I have kept as a memento.
I purchased the FnA reissue of "In Your Face" and was quite happy to finally have an official CD release of this gem. The 2010 re-issue is remastered and has new cover art (pictured above), a 6-panel insert with lyrics and one bonus track. It's unfortunate that the record company didn't take a little more care with the packaging. While the lryics were included, the horrific typography makes in nearly impossible to read. This seems to be happening a lot in the Photoshop generation. Typography has definitely lost something. As well, on the insert, there are several live photos of the band from various eras, however, the printing is so dark and are so tiny that they are nearly impossible to see. I'm sure this bugs me moreso than most fans due to the fact that I am a graphic designer. I just think the band was deserving of something a little more professional. The new cover art is decent enough, though I actually prefer the simplicity of the original pink on black cover. Actually, had they stuck with that theme, the simple pink of black lettering on the insert would have at least been easily readable. Plus that simple logo graphic in pink really had a lot of attitude and fit the sleazy 1980's metal vibe of the record.
I wish only the cover art was the problem. The mastering is horrible. The high end is harsh, with cymbals and the snare drum piercing the mix. The drums have been brought out, while the vocals have been slightly buried. As well, some of the guitars are inaudible, such as the solos at the end of "She's A Rocker". My vinyl rip that I have had for years sounds better. I also question what the source material was for this official CD. It sounds like it might have been a decaying cassette copy. I can't verify that, but some of the high end has that metallic/tinny sound like those old aging cassette tapes.
I thought perhaps it was just me. Maybe I had been use to hearing a bootleg of an indie 80's recording for so long that the new mastering was distracting for me. I played it for a mutual party and let them compare it to my CDR vinyl rip. They agreed the the new CD version was very harsh and poorly mastered. To say I am disappointed is an understatement.
Dirty Looks - I Want More (FnA) 1987/2010
1. Fuck You - I Want More (2:56)
2. Tokyo (3:16)
3. Oh Ruby (3:48)
4. Put A Spell On You (3:22)
5. Can't Take My Eyes (Off Of You) (3:06)
6. Too Bad (3:19)
7. Not The Way You Rock (3:33)
8. It's A Bitch (3:21)
9. Let Me Go (3:37)
10. Undercover (3:48)
11. Smell The Gas (3:48)
12. Narcissist (2:13)
These pre-Atlantic Records Dirty Looks records are sort of a mess. The first album has a couple different pressings on vinyl with different covers. Vocalist/guitarist Henrik Ostergaard was the only holdover to the second LP, "In Your Face". That 1986 album featured a guitarist named Mario Rigano, who was actually Henrik under a fake name. "I Want Moore" was released in 1987 on the French label Storm Records. The album was co-produed by Keith Veshecco and Mario Rigano (Henrik). The LP featured a lot of the same songs that were on "In Your Face" including "Tokyo", "Put A Spell on You", "Can't Take My Eyes (Off Of You)", ""Let Me Go", "Undercover" and the band's signature track "Oh Ruby". Several of these songs eventually made their way onto the bands first album for Atlantic Records, "Cool from the Wire". Track one didn't see release again until "Rip it Out" in 1995. "Too Bad" is the only song that is exclusive to this album. Surprisingly, one of the band's finer songs, "Undercover", didn't end up on any of the band's major label releases. According to the liner notes and the band's web site, the line-up for "I Want More" was Henrik (vocals) and Jack Pyrers (bass) who both recorded on "In Your Face", and guitarist Paul Lidel, who went on to record with the band on their popular Atlantic releases. Drummer Steve McConnel is the 'uncredited' drummer on the album, though the live photos on the album cover have A.D. Adams pictured from the "In Your Face" line-up. How's that for a history lesson?
"I Want More" is a fairly heavy album. The songs have a gritty, heavier edge than the songs that would be re-recorded for the Max Norman produced "Cool from the Wire". The production on the original vinyl is surprisingly solid with gritty guitar tones, pounding drums, screaming vocals and every instrument in it's proper place. With so many songs making their way over from "In Your Face", the sound isn't all that much different than that album. However, "Fuck You" is a particularly nasty and heavy song. The song has an AC/DC groove, but is upbeat and fury fueled. Perhaps the song was the band's way of showing how frustrated they were after being passed over for so many years when they were clearly ready for the big leagues.
Unfortunately "I Want More" was only released in limited quantities on an obscure French label, making vinyl copies a hot commodity for years. The album was not officially released on CD until 2010, when FnA Records release all three of the band's early independent albums. As with "Dirty Looks" and "In Your Face" the CD re-issue sports new cover art. In this case, the artwork is an improvement over the original. Unfortunately I found the re-mastering on all three releases to be particularly harsh, especially in the high end which brings out wispy sounding cymbals. The vinyl version is well produced and warmer that the FnA release. The CD re-issue contains two bonus tracks. "Narcissist" is a throw-away track that was previously a hidden song off Rumbledog "Drowning Pool" album. "Smell the Gasoline" is also known as "Burning Crosses" off the "Drowning Pool" album.
Dirty Looks - Cool from the Wire (Atlantic) 1988
"Cool From the Wire" (3:34)
2. "It's No the Way You Rock" (3:49)
3. "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" (3:22)
4. "Oh Ruby" (4:07)
5. "Tokyo" (3:06)
6. "Wastin' My Time" (3:32)
7. "Put A Spell On You" (3:49)
8. "No Brains Child" (3:53)
9. "Get It Right" (4:17)
10."It's A Bitch" (4:26)
11."Get Off" (3:26)
I went to college in Rochester, NY in the mid-1980's where Dirty Looks ruled the local scene. One of my roommates was from Pennsylvania (where D.L. originated) and already had a couple of independent releases from Dirty Looks. He hooked all of us up with cassette copies of "In Your Face". The album quickly became a favorite among the metal and rock fans at R.I.T.. I wore that tape out and eventually replaced it with a vinyl copy. A few years later Dirty Looks finally signed with a major label and released "Cool from the Wire". Several songs from "In Your Face" made the cut and were re-recorded for the band's Atlantic Records debut.
"Cool from the Wire" was Dirty Looks fourth full length LP overall.The album was produced by well known producer Max Norman. At this point Dirty Looks consisted of founding member, vocalist Henrik Ostergaard, guitarist Paul Lidel, bassist Jack Pyers and drummer Gene Barnett. This was their big "make-it" album and did well for the band achieving gold sales. The album reached 134 on the Billboard charts. "Oh Ruby" was the single from the album and had a very cool Bon Scott era AC/DC vibe. The song had also appeared on the band's last two independent release and was their signature track. This song had a big hook and a nasty groove. Actually every song on this disc has a big hook. They had it all; the looks, the hooks, the label backing, attitude, charisma, the right producer and more talent than some bands who selling millions of albums. Why these guys never reached the level of some of the hair bands of the late 80ís I will never know. Regardless, decades later and "Cool from the Wire" still ranks among one of my all time favorite albums.
Dirty Looks - Turn of the Screw (Atlantic) 1989
of the Screw (Who's Screwing You)" (3:53)
2. "Nobody Rides for Free" (307)
3. "C'mon Frenchie" (3:00)
4. "Take What Ya Get" (4:20)
5. "Hot Flash Jelly Roll" (3:12)
6. "Always A Loser" (3:12)
7. "L.A. Anna" (4:00)
8. "Slammin' to a Big Beat" (3:30)
9. "Love Screams" (3:28)
10. "Go Away" (4:14)
11. "Have Some Balls" (3:15)
Dirty Looks guitar
From what I have read,
the band was fighting over the direction they should take after the success
of "Cool from the Wire" but their record company was pressuring them
for a new album. When "Turn of the Screw" was released, it did well
initially but sales stopped quickly because the music just didn't have the immediate
hooks that "Cool from the Wire" had. There are a few exceptions like
the title track and "Nobody Rides for Free," which was getting some
airplay on rock radio. Likewise, "Hot Flash Jelly Roll" could have
been released as a single with it's infectious, sing-along chorus. Frankly,
I think "Turn of the Screw" is a great album full of that greasy,
heavy swagger that Dirty Looks are known for. I own this one on CD and vinyl.
Dirty Looks - Bootlegs (Roadrunner) 1991
1. "Speed Queen"
2. "Dude, Where's The Money" (3:19)
3. "Fade Away" (3:20)
4. "In Black & White" (2:51)
5. "Loveless" (4:01)
6. "Only Tomorrow" (4:12)
7. "The Last Forever" (4:35)
8. "Fool For You" (3:21)
9. "Fang and the Love Pig" (2:31)
With the exception of "The
Last Forever" and "Only Tomorrow" I don't think any of this material
has been released on any of Dirty Look's other albums. "Bootlegs" is a compilation
of material that was "written before and after 'Cool From the Wire' and 'Turn
of the Screw'." As with those two albums, the material on this disc is excellent
and surprisingly well recorded, considering that this disc was produced without
the help of Max Norman. "Bootlegs" was released in 1991 and is now almost impossible
to find. I rarely see this one on eBay or on anyone's trade lists. I even checked
Shrapnel's page and this disc wasn't listed on it either. The few copies I have
seen on eBay sell for an average of $15-$20. A good friend of mine picked up
this one for me fairly cheap in Germany at a used store.
Dirty Looks - Five Easy Pieces (Rockworld) 1992
"Blue Tequila" (3:41)
2. "Getting Over" (3:35)
3. "Only Tomorrow" (3:57)
4. "Liquid Crush" (3:17)
5. "Let It Rain" (3:27)
6. "Five Easy Pieces" (3:52)
7. "Gas House Sally" (3:28)
8. "Back to the Marseilles" (3:10)
9. "The Last Forever" (4:27)
10. "Hard in the Middle" (3:53)
11. "Give it Back (Thru Your Head)" (2:59)
12. "Violence in Blue" (4:04)
13. "Cardiac Arrest" (4:28)
I wonder had this been
the follow up to "Cool from the Wire" if Dirty Looks would have continued
to climb up the ladder of success rather than plummeting to the status as permanent
bar band? Not that it really matters as far as the music is concerned because,
despite the fact that Dirty Looks were not selling millions, the music continued
to impress. "The Last Forever" should have been blasting from every
FM station in the US as it is a great power ballad with a very hooky vocal melody
and chorus. Of course in 1992 nobody was listening to this sleazy, AC/DC inspired pop metal anymore anyhow. Dirty Looks, like similar sleaze rockers KIX never really could catch a break.
Favorite cuts are album opener "Blue Tequila," the bluesy title track
and "Violence in Blue" and album closer "Cardiac Arrest."
The album's production is superb as Max Norman is once again hired to turn the
knobs. Also of note is that David Krebbs, former Aerosmith manager, is listed as Executive Producer which simply means he put up the money
for the band to record. Too bad he didn't put more money into promotions as
I didn't even hear about this release until it was relegated to the cut out
bins. Found this one along with 'Chewing on the Bit" in the same cut out
bin for $2.99 each. They both sell for much more on ebay now.
Paul Lidel went on to play
guitar for Dangerous Toys for
Dirty Looks - Chewing on the Bit (Rockworld) 1994
1. "This Way"
2. "Love Train" (3:46)
3. "Chewing on the Bit" (4:32)
4. "Falling Down" (4:54)
5. "You Can't Take It Back" (2:59)
6. "Trip the Light" (3:14)
7. "Dead, White & Blue" (3:13)
8. "Killing Time" (3:47)
9. "My Shallow Grave" (4:05)
10. "Last Cigarette" (3:18)
11. "Encore" (5:07)
1994 and Dirty Looks are
still doing the sleaze metal thing despite the lack of interest from everyone.
Could it be Dirty Looks are not just in it for the fame and fortune but actually
have some integrity? Could I be they like the style of music they play as opposed
to following the the trends? Once again, Max Norman is brought in to produce
for Henrik Ostergaard and Co. (Henrik is the only remaining original member
at this point.)
Dirty Looks - One Bad Leg (Music For Nations) 1994
1. "Point of View"
2. "One Bad Leg" (3:40)
3. "Hello It's Me" (4:08)
4. "The Rotten Kind" (3:21)
5. "Lamb's Breath" (4:49)
6. "Anesthesia" (3:29)
7. "Loveless" (4:02)
8. "YMI" (2:58)
9. "Better off Dead" (3:14)
10. "Anyway You Want It" (4:05)
11. "Raining in the Sun" (3:27)
12. "Like I Do" (3:53)
13, "Quite So High" (3:06)
14. "Oh Ruby" [live] (5:08)
15. "Cool from the Wire" [live] (5:27)
When I originally purchased
the Rockworld version of "One Bad Leg" I was disappointed a bit. First of all,
the cover was a single page insert with no photos, no credits and no lyrics,
and there were only eight new songs. I assumed that lack of sales from the past
albums caused lackluster label interest. Apparently this was somewhat true as
the band was dropped shortly after the release of "O.B.L." Several years later
I received the Music For Nations (European) version of "O.B.L.". Not only does
it have a proper booklet with lyrics, but also contains several songs not on
the Rockworld release. It contains better produced versions of four songs that
made it onto the "Slave to the Machine" CD and 1 song ("Like I Do") that wasn't
released anywhere else that I am aware of. The booklet, while being far better
than the original, still contains no information of who played what on these
songs, although it is nice to finally have the lyrics. So, I said all that to
say, if you are looking to acquire this CD, you would be better off purchasing
the Music For Nations version as you will get far more for your money.
The music still sounds
like the AC/DC-inspired, boogie and blues
heavy metal that they have always done. Dirty Looks, despite their lack of popularity
and label backing continues to stare the music industry in the face and give
it the finger. I guess they know what they like and what they do best. I had
read somewhere that these songs were b-sides from other albums, which actually
makes sense. As a whole, this isn't Dirty Looks best, but there are several
standout tracks including the title track, "Loveless", "My Shallow Grave" and
"YMI". "Raining in the Sun" is very similar musically to "Cool from the Wire".
The last two songs are supposed to be live versions of "Oh Ruby" and "Cool from
the Wire." They may have been recorded live but the crowd seems like it has
been added in the studio.
Dirty Looks - Rip It Out (Mirror) 1996
1. "Open Wide"
2. "Something in You" (4:02)
3. "Rite of Way" (3:06)
4. "Eye to the Sky" (3:40)
5. "Therapeutic Drinking" (3:08)
6. "Too Much for Granted" (4:12)
7. "I Want More" (2:56)
8. "Half as Much" (3:59)
Now relegated to status
as an indie band, Dirty Looks, despite trends and all odds, continues to pursue
the same type of sleazy metal they have been playing since the early 80's. Well,
if there is one thing you can say for them, they stick to their guns. Henrik
sounds so much like Bon Scott in "Something In You" that it's uncanny.
I could have done without the "F*** You" chant in "I Want More."
Otherwise a good, but very short, disc. Original guitarist Paul Lidel is back
in the fold. This one sells for over $20 on Ebay. Ouch!
Dirty Looks - Slave to the Machine (B.H. Records) 1996
1. "Slave in the
2. "Hole" (3:57)
3. "Rotten Kind" (3:20)
4. "Better Way" (4:17)
5. "Quite So High" (3:05)
6. "Better Off Dead" (3:20)
7. "Murder for Money" (4:13)
8. "Droperidol" (4:08)
9. "Jaw Breaker" (4:12)
10. "Anesthesia" (3:31)
11. "Getting Even" (3:34)
12. "Feelings of Dread" (4:12)
13. "Last Crack" (3:52)
Slave to the Machine is
heavier, angrier and darker than anything from Dirty Looks back catalogue. While
I would not go so far as to say it was 'grunge" it is grungier than their
more upbeat CDs like "Cool from the Wire" and "Five Easy Pieces".
The title track, "Hole", "Jaw Breaker" and "Better Off Dead"
are my favorite songs off this disc. The production unfortunately really hurts
this one. While it's not terrible, it is a bit muddier than I would have liked
to have heard. The packaging also is lacking. There is nothing printed inside
the sleeve whatsoever. It's not even known who actually played on this CD other
than Henrick, whose signature howl is still present. This would be Dirty Looks'
last CD as the band was just crushed by the new waves of crap that came in the
90's. This independent CD is now out of print and VERY much out of circulation.
If a copy shows up on Ebay, it is usually far overpriced. Ebay average price
is $30+, however, in my constant search for this CD I have seen it go as high
as $47, and one time it hit over $100. Ouch! Diry Looks are a great band, but
no CD is worth that much.
Dirty Looks - Gasoline (Mirror) 2007
1. "Doesn't Count
the Juice" (3:10)
2. "Second Chance, (Didn't Take It)" (3:17)
3. "See You in the Morning" (3:19)
4. "Through your Eyes" (3:34)
5. "If the World Stopped Spinning" (3:21)
6. "Over Me" (3:43)
7. "Stick Around" (4:08)
8. "Wake the Sky" (3:44)
9. "I Am that I Am" (3:05)
10. "Everything is Gonna Be Alright" (4:11)
Well, what do you know,
after nearly a decade off the scene, Henrik and company return with a platter
of new material. I didn't think these guys would ever release something under
the Dirty Looks name again. "Gasoline" is an independent release on the band's
Mirror Records and is limited to 1000 digi copies. The album is being re-released
in a jewel case with two "bonus" tracks as well on Perris Records. Musically,
this sounds like exactly what you would expect from Dirty Looks, gritty, dirty,
heavy, hard rock. The guitar work echoes their early material, but has a more
modern recording giving the guitars more bite. Henrik sounds as good as ever,
and perhaps even a bit grittier. In the past he was often compared to Bon Scott
and indeed that sound is still there, but I'd say he now has a more whiskey
soaked sound, not unlike a cross between Bon Scott, Steven Tyler and Lemmy.
"Over Me" reminds me slightly of U.D.O. in both vocal approach and the song itself. "Gasoline" doesn't quite have the
pop hooks of "In Your Face" or "Cool from the Wire", but has enough hook to
keep your attention and pull you back for me. In my first day of owning this
CD I listened to it twice and found myself already wanting to sing along. Long
time Dirty Looks fans should be please. There is no attempt whatsoever here
to pander to trends. Rather, Dirty Looks do what Dirty Looks do best. Dirty,
raunchy, rock and roll.
Dirty Looks - Superdeluxe (Sticky) 2008
1. "Bring Me Down"
2. "A Million Miles" (3:28)
3. "Wide Glide" (3:04)
4. "Dead Movie Star" (4:16)
5. "Forever" (4:38)
6. "Fast Ride" (3:03)
7. "Blue Light" (3:41)
8. "Not Enough" (3:40)
9. "Thin Red Line" (2:58)
10. "Steppin Stone" (3:39)
Wow, another new Dirty
Looks CD. I barely had time to completely digest "Gasoline" before I heard news
of another Dirty Looks with a "reunited line-up". Superdeluxe features three
members from the classic "Cool from the Wire" line-up; Henrik Ostregaard - vocals,
Paul Lidel - guitars and Jack Pyers - bass. The line-up is complete with drummer
Jeremy Hummel. Promises of a "vintage Dirty Looks sound" were attached to press
release for this album. Superdeluxe picks up where Gasoline left off. The band
sounds as greasy and aggressive as ever, yet the band sounds like they are having
fun at the same time. I'm not sure that Superdeluxe has the same immediate hooks
as "Cool from the Wire". Still, this is a rip-roaring rock and roll record.
Henrik's vocals are as raspy as they ever have been and are certainly not phoned
in. The man still has that same raw emotion that was present on those early
Dirty Looks album. In other words, Dirty Looks still has that dirty, gritty,
sleazy sound that they are known for and should satisfy and long-time die hard
The packaging on the original
independent CD is a bit lacking. It was wrapped in a rather drab, grey digi
(above to the left) and didn't include a booklet. The lyrics were included this
time around. The second printing contained a far nicer cover (above to the right).
Dirty Looks - California Free Ride (Perris Records) 2008
|1. "California Free Ride" (3:13)
2. "Look in the Mirror" (4:20)
3. "Burning Rain" (4:16)
4. "Only Child" (3:13)
5. "Under My Skin" (3:15)
6. "Strong Man" (3:57)
7. "Come to My Party" (3:10)
8. "Shake That Thing" (3:31)
9. "Brass Bed" (3:34)
10. "Clear Thought" [unlisted track] (1:37)
11. "Trip the Light" (3:22)
Dirty Looks have been cranking out the new CDs in the last couple years. "California
Free Ride" is the second CD this year already. This CD features nine new
songs, and odd, unlisted, spoken word track titled "Clear Thought"
and a new version of "Trip the Light" from "Chewing on the Bit".
Henrik and Company continue to crank out the sleazy, East Coast rock and roll,
much like they always have. Songs like "Burning Rain" and the title
track could just as easily have fit on "Five Easy Pieces" or "Turn
of the Screw". Henrik's raspy howl is still in place as well. His voice,
along with the band's infectious AC/DC inspired groove and indignant anger is what I have always liked about this band.
"California Free Ride" delivers with melody, but also with a punk-like
aggression. Check out the anger in songs like "Under My Skin".
The last couple tracks are odd. "Clear Thought" is an unlisted track
and is completely different from the rest of the disc. This song is a spoken
word track the seems to be based on the Bible. The music behind the spoken tracks
is played backwards, creating a very odd effect. Also the opening of this song
features distorted vocals that reminded me of the opening moments of Jimi
Hendrix's "Electric Ladyland". Apparently this song was originally
recorded for another band that Henrick was in called Burning Orange.
The last song is a live version of "Trip the Light". From the information
that I have found, the song was recorded live in San Diego, CA in 1994. This
entire show was being sold on Ebay for a while under the title "Live! In
San Diego". I think this particular version has been cleaned up quite a
b it as it sounds suspiciously like a studio recording. Either way, it's actually
a great song from one of the band's more underrated albums.
As with the band's last couple release, "California Free Ride" doesn't
quite have the immediate pop hooks of the band's most well known record, "Cool
from the Wire", but it had enough hook to keep my attention and keep me
coming back for more listens. There is something infectious about Dirty Looks
sound. Unlike most albums I purchase as new releases, I listened to this one
several times in one day.
Dirty Looks – The Worst of Dirty Looks (Sticky) 2009
1. Blue Tequila (3:41)
2. Falling Down (4:28)
3. Fool For You (3:18)
4. Point of View (3:52)
5. Trip the Light (3:11)
6. Nobody Rides [live] (3:18)
7. One Bad Leg (3:38)
8. Let it Rain (3:27)
9. Five Easy Pieces (3:45)
10. This Way (3:52)
11. Its Not The Way You Rock [live] (3:48)
12. Liquid Crush (3:16)
13. Dude, Where's the Money (3:14)
14. Back to Marseilles (3:05)
15. F**k You, I Want More (2:54)
16. Violence in Blue (3:57)
17. Speed Queen (3:22)
18. Cool from the Wire [live] (5:27)
19. In Black & White (2:49)
20. Oh Ruby [live] (5:10)
21. The Last Forever (4:27)
This collection of Dirty Looks material mostly encompasses the band’s 1990’s releases, with the exception of the four live tracks, which are from the band’s popular 80’s released "Cool from the Wire" and "Turn of the Screw". It’s unfortunate that Sony has those two albums tied up in legal mumbo jumbo so that the studio versions couldn’t be included here. I was a bit bummed that the band didn’t include any pre-"Cool for the Wire" material. "She’s a Rocker" and "Undercover" are two classic tracks from the band’s independent release "In Your Face" I would have loved to have been included. Even including "Oh Ruby" from that album and perhaps labeled as a demo would have worked. Who know, perhaps all that material is being saved for another "best of" collection. I also didn’t see any songs from the band’s last studio album from the 1990’s, "Slave to the Machine", nor was there any material included from the three studio released since Henrik Ostergaard revived Dirty Looks in 2007.
But let’s concentrate on what songs were included. Twenty one tracks of sleazy, greasy, heavy, roudy, rock and roll. This lengthy collection of songs proves that Dirty Looks released a ton of great material after their time with Atlantic Records. There are no less than seven tracks from the vastly underrated "Five Easy Pieces", an album that is easily as good as "Cool from the Wire". I have often wondered if this album had been the follow-up to "Cool from the Wire" if it wouldn't have rocketed the band even further into rock stardom. There is also four tracks from "Bootlegs", three tracks from "Chewing on the Bit", two tracks from "One Bad Leg" and one from the band’s obscure "Rip It Out" CD. Despite the differences in production values from album to album, the songs seem to flow fairly well, probably due to mastering. I didn’t notice any big drops in sound levels from song to song. The live songs are a nice inclusion, though the audience sounds a bit canned. Most likely these songs were recorded at a club or small theater but a large stadium crowd is what we hear. I personally would much rather hear that rowdy bar crowd. My guess would be that the there were no mics to capture the audience sound, so it was added later to give the songs a more live feel. Overall, "The Worst of Dirty Looks" is a good overview of an often overlooked band. It should also serve to prove to the world that this band was far more than just "Cool from the Wire".
I must also make mention of the album cover art to this release. The vicious fang toothed apple is one of the coolest and more humorous covers to grace a Dirty Looks album.
Dirty Looks - I.C.U. (FNA Records) 2010
1. Every Mother's Child (4:30)
2. Special (4:33)
3. Sugar Pie (3:38)
4. Down Payment Blues (6:25)
5. You're Mine (4:56)
6. Only Friend (4:55)
7. Got A Ticket (5:05)
8. Happy Together (4:10)
9. Spirit In The Sky (3:43)
10. This Way [live] (4:07)
Henrik Ostergaard and gang continue to crank out more of their sleazy, heavy rock and roll in 2010. Unfortunately the album was released on a sad note as bassist Gregory Pianka passed away on February 6th, 2010 just shortly after finishing his bass tracks for the album. What he has left behind is a heavy, nasty, rock 'n' roll record. The album contains three cover songs; "Happy Together" (The Turtles), "Spirit In The Sky" (Norman Greenbaum) and "Down Payment Blues" (AC/DC). Dirty Looks have long been compared to AC/DC, mostly because of the song "Oh Ruby" and Henrik's Bon Scott-like screach. However, Dirty Looks' cover of "Down Payment Blues" isn't as true to the original as one would expect as the band puts their own spin to the song. They do the same for the other two covers, making each song sound as if they could have written them for themselves. "Happy Together" has a slight punk edge to it. As well, there is an added live version of "This Way", a song originally recorded on the band's underrated "Chewing on the Bit" CD. What we are left with are six new, original songs. Each is simple, raunchy, rock and roll, sporting loud guitars, pounding drums, and a fairly heavy production. Combined with Ostergaard's signature, barking, bratty and cantankerous snarl, this is exactly what I expect from Dirty Looks. However, the band does tread some new ground experimenting with a mixture of violin, cello, piano, and strings on "Only Friend". The song also features some faith filled lyrics, not unlike the Norman Greenbaum cover. "I.C.U." is another in a long string of great albums from Dirty Looks. The only way I could have enjoyed this album any more is if there had been a couple more originals. Otherwise, "I.C.U." continues the Dirty Looks legacy for raunchy rock and roll.
Rumbledog | Dangerous Toys | Broken