Release Date: Aug 28, 2015
Record label: Drag City
Baltimore’s Dope Body are prolific, averaging one release of scuzzy, groovy noise-rock per year since they started in 2009. On each successive release, they seem to be trying to find their undeniably unique voice by mixing bits and pieces of '90s AmRep brutality and funky alt-rock (Rage Against the Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and so forth), a mix that makes a peculiar sort of sense if you also grew up in the D. C.
“Kunk” is not a real word. Still, it’s got a nice, heavy feeling to it. Like the sounds of Adam West’s POW!s there’s a percussive dynamic, like it was the onomatopoeia of the sound a wooden club makes when it makes contact with a cranium. It’s also a damn near perfect title for anything associated with sludge-rock neanderthals Dope Body.
Maryland's Dope Body recorded the basic tracks for Kunk at the same sessions that became 2014's Lifer. Knowing they'd left worthy songs off, they revisited the tapes and realized that with some editing and re-recording, they had another full-length. Noisy as hell, this Maryland duo combine a wealth of influences -- Sonic Youth, Pussy Galore, the Cramps, Royal Trux, Jesus Lizard, Pissed Jeans, etc -- in a (mostly) sludge-drenched set of bent grooves and twisted riffs.
When I interviewed Andrew Laumann around the time Dope Body’s previous album Lifer dropped, he was very candid about how much of a toll being in a rock band had taken on him over the years, not just physically as a dude spending years always on tour, but also financially and emotionally — people depend on you, people are in your employ, you have contracts and bills and tour dates. A band starts to feel less like the escape it started out as and more like a commitment, a dead-end job, and it slowly gets less fun and more business each year. I was surprised at his attitude, because Lifer is a great record.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. When a musician finds out that they can make interesting noises, it still isn't quite a band. Baltimore's Dope Body found a sound of windy, blithering guitar tones. If they had used them for solos instead of their songs' main ingredient, we would have a different band.
While a slew of bands have mimicked the manic intensity of The Shape Of Punk To Come, few have utilised the pseudo-dance grooves that populate the album. With songs that are equally abrasive and infectious, Baltimore quartet Dope Body brilliantly expand upon this aspect of Refused. Take some ecstasy, go to the nearest club, and then, as you get on the dance floor, bite a piece of aluminium foil: that's what it feels like to listen to Dope Body's latest, Kunk.