Dykes to Watch Out For
Musical Fanzine/Get Better Records
Dump Him is a queercore/punk band from Northampton, MA, and holy shit balls, Batman, they play music the way it was meant to be played. The band emerged from the mind of Jac Walsh as a solo project to work through some trauma with music back in 2015. Larz Brogan joined on drums almost immediately, and over the next few years, nearly 20 of Walsh’s friends played with Dump Him before the band settled into a stable lineup with Otto Klamer on bass and Mattie Hamer on guitars and backing vocals. Dykes to Watch Out For is their début album, and is a stunning statement of intent.
Starting off with a squall of feedback, ‘Puritan’ erupts into a sonic assault of loud guitars, on differing channels, and Walsh’s voice somewhere in the mix. This is punk the way it’s meant to be, with a strong influence of the Sex Pistols in the chord progression, hearkening back to ‘Holidays in the Sun’ in parts. The song clocks in at 1 minute and 15 seconds. And then we’re in the title song, which is a bit more easy on the ears (in a good way), more a standard, straight-forward song as Walsh sings about alienation and being alone. Their vocals strike this perfect space between vulnerability and a punk rock sneer. One can also hear the influence of Georgia Maq of Camp Cope in their vocals.
For the most part, Dump Him draw on a lot of the riot grrrl sounds of the 90s mixed with classic late 70s punk sounds, Brogan and Klamer propelling the songs forward as Hamer and Walsh’s guitars both squeal and crunch in classic punkness.
My favourite song is ‘Trash,’ which starts with a pretty guitar melody and Walsh wondering why everything they do ‘comes back to this.’ The reasons why I love this song are perhaps obvious, it sounds like 1994, which was a very good year in my world. But ‘Trash’ stands on its own merits, too, especially when we hit the bridge when the song speeds up. The following track ‘(What’s Your Deal With) Kim’ is an exuberant, fantastic track with duelling guitars. I mean, c’mon!
There’s also the touching ‘Judi Bari Almost Died For Our Sins,’ about the 1990 car-bombing attempt on the life of environmental activist Judi Barri. I remember that event. It was shocking. Bari’s car was blown up with her in it in Oakland in May 1990, she just barely survived, given she was in the driver’s seat and the bomb was under her seat. She died in 1997, of breast cancer, and the car bombing has never been solved, despite the fact the FBI took over the investigation from the local police.
It is often hard to actually make out what Walsh is singing about, due to the bombastic double-barrelled guitar assault, to say nothing of the fury of the rhythm section. But, so what? This is punk at its best. ‘Trash’ is by far the longest song on the album at a whopping 3.51, but the entire album clocks in at 24 minutes for its 10 songs. Keep on shredding, my friends.