Published Oct 22, 2015Karaoke's impact on the wider world of music, has, to this point, been negligible. But Sore, the newly released debut album from Toronto quartet Dilly Dally, could change that.
Singer and guitarist Katie Monks says her hometown's karaoke rooms have had a direct impact on her songwriting. "We love looking through karaoke books as soon as we see one, seeing all these awesome songs," she says. "A lot of music nerds hate on the radio and popular culture, but I just think it's really, really hard to make pop music, especially original pop music."
Monks tries her best to achieve just that on Sore, marrying her admiration for Beyoncé with a love of heavy guitar music, specifically the records made by her peers on Buzz Records, to whom the band is signed, as well as local labels Telephone Explosion and Hand Drawn Dracula.
The result is an album teeming with feelings of "frustration, a lot of determination, a lot of pain and a lot of love," filtered through Monks' hoarse, emotive scream. Producers Josh Korody and Leon Taheny layered Monks' and guitarist Liz Ball's jagged guitar lines overtop of Benjamin Reinhartz's pounding drums, but made sure to emphasize the hooks on tracks like "Ballin Chain" and "Next Gold." Elliott Smith producer Rob Schnapf, who mixed Sore, then rounded off the edges, making the record a little less abrasive than the digital singles the band released previously.
If it all sounds like a concerted effort to make Dilly Dally more accessible to ears unaccustomed to the scuzzy grunge sounds of their Buzz Records peers, that's because it is. "[We want to] access people with our very real, very unapologetic, very dark and very emotionally draining songs," says Monks. "It just felt so natural to take al the pop sensibilities inside of me from all the karaoke that's happened in Dilly Dally's lives to showcase or draw attention to what's happening here."
Dilly Dally are a band with no guilty pleasures, she says, noting, "We just love music." However, when asked how the Pixies, to whom the band are often compared, fit into the equation, Monks says that while the Boston quartet were certainly on rotation in her room growing up, they don't have any greater significance to her than local heroes METZ or Odonis Odonis.
"I really hope with this record people go, 'They're just a rock band making rock music.' There are a lot of different references on the record, a lot of different touchstones to cultural garbage that's happened in the last four years."
Sore is out now on Buzz Records, and you can stream it below. Dilly Dally have a long string of Canadian and U.S. shows coming up, and you can see their schedule here.