Cover photo: Krit Upra
This is the soundtrack to your apocalyptic dance party — socially-distanced, of course. The pandemic hasn’t slowed down Rochester’s The Dirty Pennies. Today marks their third release of 2020 with the single “Waste Away.” Gritty garage rock is the trio’s forte and it comes in spades with this new song.
Straight from the top, the listener can easily find themself in a dimly-lit bar — perhaps The Bug Jar — as the driving drums and riffs accompany the lyric, “We can have a ball while the lights flicker and watch it waste away,” bobbing their head and tapping their feet. One can’t help but move to this track.
But this is not just garage rock for the few. The bombastic, some may say, sexy sound on this single begs to be heard in an arena environment. The production level is top-notch, as is the songwriting.
“Waste Away” doesn’t waste any time getting straight to business. Ryan Klem’s guitar and the rhythm section of Joe Mungo on bass and Lucas Howe on drums jive right away to intro the song. A swirling guitar riff interjects, leading into the opening lines of the song. A most rock and roll “Yeah!” from Klem leads to a Black Keys-ish “oooh oooh oooh” chorus while a spare solo backed by the always-tight rhythm section leads to a psychedelic breakdown midway through the song, letting the listener take a bit of a break, but not for long.
The breakneck drums pull the listener out of the psychedelic haze setting us up for the flurry of a finish. We get one more “Yeah!” to send us home right before the song abruptly ends, leaving the listener wanting more. This is a song that should grab the ears of listeners far beyond the 585 and hopefully it does.
The band’s impressive self-titled debut in 2017 put them on the radar of the vibrant Rochester scene, exhibiting the band’s punk and garage rock influences. The three-song EP, simply titled EP, released last year, showed the band spreading its wings to include more melody and forging its own identity. The three singles the band has released this year — “Waste Away,” “Love Ain’t Free” and “I’m Your Man” — expand upon that.
This is a band on the rise that demands attention. You can find their music on all the streaming services and you can keep up with them on their socials:
Check out “Waste Away” via Spotify below and get a feel for their live show on their home turf, The Bug Jar in Rochester, in the video for “When I Hit the Road” below that.