The Dirty Sirens are rock ’n’ roll’s fallen angels amplified. A cauldron full of debauchery, riffs, nudity, sweat, sexuality, and pummeling drums.
Singer Monterey Salka wails like a banshee as she stalks the stage, screaming over the punishing and relentless riffs dealt out by Christy Hüber. They are the band’s heart and soul, front and center, but the pulse of the rhythm section is as potent. On “Siren Song,” drummer Eric Pietsch delivers a beat at once tribal, psychedelic, and blues metal.
I sat down with Salka and Hüber in the back room of the Casbah.
“We’ve been together for four months, with multiple different drummers and bassists,” said Salka. The band rose from the ashes of Hüber’s more folky band. “Christy was in April Ventura & the Magnolias and they broke up...and we were playing music for fun, doing the whole folk thing, [then] we started writing songs that went from cutesy Laura Marling to an angrier edge.” Hüber interjected, “I was really lazy, and you can do folk without finding other people to play with; then I got less lazy ’cause I got excited.”
When asked if she missed performing acoustically, Hüber responded, “Acoustic shit was depressing me...it wasn’t fun anymore. I didn’t get to play any lead guitar, and I was sick of singing about assholes and getting sad about it. I wanted to sing about assholes and get mad about it — much more fun. We wrote a song that was angry and we were, like, Shit, I think we need a backing band.”
When asked of their influences, the women chimed, “Black Sabbath,” as if the same brain was operating their tongues. “When asked to describe what we do, we respond, ‘If Sabbath had Karen O as a singer and listened to a lot of Black Keys and had a threesome while Jack White watched.’” This is a fairly accurate description, as Hüber has an imposing guitar tone that you can hear while parking your car outside the venue. She knows her way around a riff that hints at the nascent stages of metal without sounding cliché. There are nods to indie blues revivalists such as the Black Keys and White Stripes, but with the machine-gun drum attack and devil-may-care lyricism, they hit harder, dirtier, and reach back to the middle finger that rock ’n’ roll once hoisted high toward any establishment.
The Sirens wail at El Dorado downtown on Thursday, November 29, and at Casbah on Sunday, December 2.