WORLD PREMIERE: Tony Dork - Struggle Street

ENGLISH (french below) Here's how we're going to do it: first, I'm gonna tell you how much I love Tony Dork, and how much the ba...


ENGLISH
(french below)

Here's how we're going to do it: first, I'm gonna tell you how much I love Tony Dork, and how much the band's one of the last hopes of the slacker scene. I'm gonna tell you that they're exploding 2020 with an album that I'm very honored to publish in world premiere. Then, I'm gonna post the complete streaming of the album, which will be officially released next Monday. There are versions with yellow LPs, it's over here. Finally, I'm gonna publish the excerpt from the interview I recently did with the band. It explains their intentions, their dreams, their hopes (how beautiful). GO!

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First: they're legends

I remember my first Tony Dork article like it was yesterday. OK, it wasn't ten years ago either, but sometimes I feel like August 2018 was the actual turning point in the slacker scene. I entitled my article "Tony Dork, your favorite slacker in life". In the meantime, other cult bands were preparing disappointing albums, such as Dune Rats, Fidlar and co. Tony is now taking over with a first album, Struggle Street, which will be officially released next Monday via the very promising Legless Records (a label based in Melbourne).

This LP (made by Billy Gardner, Calum Newton, and Mikey Young) is indeed a godsend for those who once flirted with the American scene of the late '70s. It goes fast, it hits everything that moves, and above all, it makes the apology of life ala Animal House. Tony Dork is more nervous than the others, he's a guy that reminds me of De Niro, faithful in friendship, but very punchy (see The Deer Hunter). I'll come back to that.

Beforehand, I feel obliged to come back once again to my ultimate dilemma: should I prefer Lester Bangs (making rock'n'roll the "most invincible joke in history") or the objectivism of a Bret Easton Ellis who only wants to listen to the bands whose ambition is to produce the best music in the world (see the dedicated excerpts in American Psycho)? With Tony Dork, the garage punk is a splendid joke, what we can perceive from "Inside Out" and its references to mythical parties that would make James Belushi blush. At the same time, very few bands have ever been able to deliver such an efficient slacker. In reality, only The Chats and Amy and the Sniffers play at the same level. All over the world. That's not much, and it makes Tony Dork a very important band in today's music scene, despite his desire to simply have a good time. Maybe this is how he achieves a balance between these two ultimate goals.

Tony Dork has never been content to play the heavyweight guy who wants to get into the girls' dorm. Or the showers. He has always exposed his taste for fighting, which "Struggle Street" (the song) reveals in broad daylight. Other tracks, like "Write Off", undeniably make me think of The Dictators' madness (see my interview with the band). It's ultimately all about garage music made by boxers, proof being the excellent artwork made by Reilly Gaynor who, maybe by chance, reminds of Go Girl Crazy cover. The rest is made of classics songs, and a big hit: "Feeling Strange". 

In the end, Tony Dork achieves the perfect score. A total knockout. As soon as he enters the ring with the first song, Tony splashes us with his beer, laughs in our faces, hops around us, quickly, keeps down, smiles, throws a few punches, goes to drink Coke and bite into a burger, comes back to hit us a little, laughs even harder, and ends up giving us an uppercut. What an experience! Unforgettable.

Second: the full streaming



Third: excerpt from our interview

I like to describe your music as being slacker: not that you are not working hard, but it seems to be faithful to The Dictators and Ramones. It's punk, it's trash, it's fun. Are you against people calling your music as such, are you for it, or... maybe you don't care?

We’re definitely not against anyone putting us in the same vein as those bands haha! Something that they have definitely mastered that we try to follow is to not take ourselves too seriously and remember that playing in a band is just really fucking fun so I guess it’s kind of slacker in that sense. We’re happy for people to call it whatever they want!

Struggle Street is your first album. Can you tell us a little about the songs in it? What's the story behind them? What's the intention?

There aren’t really any great stories behind the songs but I guess in terms of themes I’d say they’re kind of about the state of the world in a way. Not all in a political sense but just more little things in life that might set us off or that sees the world continually seeming negative in a bunch of different ways. Also, just stuff that’s happening in our lives as we try to navigate being decent functioning humans, haha!

I think the intention behind the album was for us to see what we can come up with if we try to write some more “real” songs. A lot of the earlier stuff was more off the cuff and came relatively quickly without as much thought. So we kinda wanted to challenge ourselves to step it up a bit and not really hide as much behind humor and gimmicky stuff.  There are definitely still songs we wrote in like 10 minutes and we never want to move fully away from taking the piss and sprinkling some inside jokes and self-deprecating humor throughout, but the album results from us being a bit more critical of ourselves and trying to make something we’re all proud of.

3- What are the next steps for you as a band?

We haven’t really put much thought into what’s next. We would love to just play a few shows to launch the album once the apocalypse is over, then I think we’re all pretty happy to just see what happens from there. Hopefully, the world doesn’t end before we get to play it live!

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FRANÇAIS

Voici comment on va procéder : dans un premier temps, je vais vous dire combien j'aime Tony Dork, à quel point ce sont les derniers espoirs de la scène slacker, et le culte qu'il faut y vouer. Je vais vous dire qu'ils dynamitent 2020 avec un album dont je suis honoré d'avoir l'exclusivité pour Still in Rock. Dans un second temps, je vais publier le streaming complet de l'album qui sortira officiellement lundi prochain. Il y a des versions avec vinyls jaune fluo, c'est par ici. Dans un troisième temps, enfin, je vais publier l'extrait de l'interview que j'ai récemment réalisé avec le groupe. Il explique son intention, ses rêves, ses espoirs (c'est beau !). GO !

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Premier temps : ils défoncent

Je me souviens de mon premier article sur Tony Dork comme si c'était hier. OK, ce n'était pas il y a 10 ans non plus, mais j'ai parfois l'impression qu'août 2018 fut la véritable pierre tournante de la scène slacker. J'intitulais mon article "Tony Dork, votre slacker préféré de la vie". Dans le même temps, les autres groupes cultes du genre préparaient des albums décevants, c'était le cas de Dune Rats, Fidlar and co. Tony Dork venait d'annoncer la prise de relais. Elle se concrétise désormais avec un premier album, Struggle Street, qui parait ces jours-ci chez le très prometteur Legless Records (un label situé à Melbourne).

Cet LP (réalisé par Billy Gardner, Calum Newton, et Mikey Young) est effectivement une aubaine pour qui s'est un jour approché de la scène américaine de la fin '70s. Il va vite, il cogne sur tout ce qui bouge, et surtout, il fait l'apologie de la vie à la Animal House. Tony Dork est plus nerveux que les autres, c'est un type qui me fait penser à De Niro, fidèle en amitié, mais cogneur (voyez The Deer Hunter). Je vais y revenir.

Au préalable, je me sens obligé d'en revenir une fois encore à mon ultime dilemme : faut-il préférer Lester Bangs (faire du rock'n'roll la "blague la plus invincible de l'histoire") ou l'objectivisme d'un Bret Easton Ellis qui ne veut écouter que les seuls groupes ayant pour ambition de produire la meilleure musique au monde (voyez les extraits dédiés dans American Psycho) ? Avec Tony Dork, le garage punk slacker est effectivement une blague splendide, ce que l'on perçoit dès "Inside Out" et ses références à des fêtes mythiques qui feraient rougir James Belushi. Dans le même temps, très peu de groupes ont un jour su délivrer un slacker si efficace. En réalité, seuls The Chats et Amy and the Sniffers peuvent être placés au même niveau. Dans le monde entier. C'est peu, et cela fait de Tony Dork un groupe très important du paysage musical actuel, en dépit de sa volonté de prendre simplement du bon temps. Peut-être parvient-il ainsi à achever une balance entre ces deux objectifs ultimes.

Il faut dire que Tony Dork ne s'est jamais contenté de jouer au type un peu lourdo qui veut rentrer dans le dortoir des filles. Ou dans les douches. Il a toujours exposé son gout pour la baston, ce que "Struggle Street" (le morceau) expose au grand jour. D'autres morceaux, à l'image de "Write Off", me font indéniablement penser à la folie des Dictators (voir mon interview avec le groupe). On est donc bien dans cette lignée du garage punk boxeur, preuve en est d'ailleurs avec l'excellente pochette réalisée par Reilly Gaynor qui, peut-être par le jeu du hasard, fait un clin d'oeil à celle de Go Girl Crazy.

Le reste est fait de classiques, et d'un énorme hit : "Feeling Strange". Au final, Tony Dork réalise le sans-faute. Le K.O. le plus total. À peine monté sur le ring avec le premier morceau que Tony nous éclabousse avec sa bière, nous rit au visage, sautille autour de nous, rapidement, garde baissée, sourire aux lèvres, envoie quelques punchs, va boire du Coca et mordre dans un burger, revient nous cogner un peu, rigole plus fort encore, et finit par nous administrer un uppercut. Quelle expérience ! Inoubliable.

Deuxième temps : le streaming exclusif


Troisième temps : extrait de notre interview

I like to describe your music as being slacker: not that you are not working hard, but it seems to be faithful to The Dictators and Ramones. It's punk, it's trash, it's fun. Are you against people calling your music as such, are you for it, or... maybe you don't care?

We’re definitely not against anyone putting us in the same vein as those bands haha! Something that they have definitely mastered that we try to follow is to not take ourselves too seriously and remember that playing in a band is just really fucking fun so I guess it’s kind of slacker in that sense. We’re happy for people to call it whatever they want!

Struggle Street is your first album. Can you tell us a little about the songs in it? What's the story behind them? What's the intention?

There aren’t really any great stories behind the songs but I guess in terms of themes I’d say they’re kind of about the state of the world in a way. Not all in a political sense but just more little things in life that might set us off or that sees the world continually seeming negative in a bunch of different ways. Also, just stuff that’s happening in our lives as we try to navigate being decent functioning humans, haha!

I think the intention behind the album was for us to see what we can come up with if we try to write some more “real” songs. A lot of the earlier stuff was more off the cuff and came relatively quickly without as much thought. So we kinda wanted to challenge ourselves to step it up a bit and not really hide as much behind humor and gimmicky stuff.  There are definitely still songs we wrote in like 10 minutes and we never want to move fully away from taking the piss and sprinkling some inside jokes and self-deprecating humor throughout, but the album results from us being a bit more critical of ourselves and trying to make something we’re all proud of.

3- What are the next steps for you as a band?

We haven’t really put much thought into what’s next. We would love to just play a few shows to launch the album once the apocalypse is over, then I think we’re all pretty happy to just see what happens from there. Hopefully, the world doesn’t end before we get to play it live!

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