The Return of the Distillers
With a little fanfare, the Distillers dropped a video yesterday along with the slogan “Distillers 2018,” seemingly heralding the extremely influential punk band’s imminent return...surprising and exciting just about everyone. The Distillers filled an interesting role in the nineties and early 00’s punk scene, a female-fronted (and originally, partially backed) fundamentally street punk band with a killer sound, legit punk connections, and undeniable crossover appeal. In the space of three full lengths, the band morphed from a Liberty-spiked Casualties/early Rancid hybrid to modern day rock heroes. By Coral Fang, frontwoman Brody Dalle’s smoky, husky vocals slunk in unawares before going for your throat. And they got better and better with each release.
For myself, discovering the Distillers was one of the first major steps into my love of both music in general and the punk culture. Ms. Dalle, stunningly gorgeous, sneeringly confident, fiercely unapologetic, and supremely talented was this vision—an incarnation of female power that completely enraptured me in my early teen years. Though undeniably a sex symbol in the alternative world at the time, to me she provided and interesting blend of identities and influences in this succinct, fierce package. I was fascinated, and spun their records (particularly Sing Sing...and Coral Fang) endlessly.
Then suddenly...it all went wrong. Ms. Dalle retreated to lick her wounds for a few years, releasing projects both under her name and under the Spinnerette moniker, all displaying the songstress’ characteristic punk flare but with creeping other influences, leaning heavily into the hard rock genre with some pop varnish.
In a year that is starting of with a largely band-less Coachella, changing touring landscape where festivals are becoming more commonplace, and the slow wane of rock music (or instrument based music in general), the news of the Distillers return fills me with an inexpressible elation.