by MIKE CHAIKEN
The Dirty Heads might have been suffering through a lot of turbulence prior to writing and recording its most recent album.
And some bands would have used that turbulence to create an angry record that allowed them to vent their dismay about their misfortunes.
But “Cabin by the Sea” is far from an angry record.
Opening up with the sounds of the sea, the new record from The Dirty Heads is the perfect soundtrack for a lazy hazy summer… not a tribute to angst.
The Dirty Heads played Toad’s Place in New Haven this past Tuesday.
Jared “Dirty J” Watson, the band’s front man, said in a phone call from Boston, “We blatantly set out to write an album you can listen to when you go to the beach or on vacation or lay out in your backyard.”
The band’s last record, “Any Port in the Storm” was released in 2008. Along the way, the band went through a lot of turmoil, including getting bumped from its label.
“We’re not ones to dwell on negativity,” said Jared of the band, which also includes Jon Olazabal, drummer Matt Ochoa, and bassist David Foral. “Our message is to squash the negative.”
Taking so long to release a follow up to their last album “Any Port in the Storm,” which featured the hit “Lay Me Down” featuring Rome as a guest vocalist, was “a blessing in disquise,” said Jared. “If we would have put out the record two years ago it wouldn’t come out as good.” The forced time off allowed the band to tighten up as a musical unit and to improve its song writing, said Jared.
“Cabin by the Sea” continues the Dirty Heads’ penchant for working with special guests. “Any Port in the Story,” for instance, welcomed M. Shadows and Billy Preston (who played piano on the Beatles’ “Get Back”) to its grooves. And as noted, Rome of Sublime with Rome was on the hit, “Lay Me Down.”
For this record, The Dirty Heads worked with Del the Funky Homosapien, KyMani Marley, and Rome, as well as Matisyahu, who they are co-headlining with on tour this summer. (However, Matisyahu was not on the bill in New Haven.)
Asked about why The Dirty Heads wanted to work with Rome and Matisyahu again on “Cabin by the Sea,” Jared answered by way of a lengthy explanation.
“Rome and Matisyahu are two complete opposites,” said Jared.
Rome (he’s “like family) “comes and drinks our booze.” He’s like a bull in a china shop when he arrives. Matisyahu, said Jared, is “chill… He’s a cool guy and soft spoken.”
When The Dirty Heads bring in people to help with a record, Jared said they try to bring in people who can contribute to the record. Rome comes in handy with the songwriting. “Rome is really good with melody, catchy melodies. I love that about him… if you get stuck (he’ll come up with something) and we’ll put lyrics to it.”
For Matisyahu’s contribution to “Cabin by the Sea,” Jared said The Dirty had already written the song. But the song was “really screaming for his voice.” So the Dirty Heads put in a call and Matisyahu came on down to add some vocals.” It was a similar situation with (with the guest vocals by) Del and KyMani,” said Jared.
Although when one thinks of summer music, you think of The Beach Boys or Sublime, Watson said those bands don’t figure into the Dirty Heads’ breezy sound of “Cabin by the Sea.”
“We like to go back to the 1960s/ 1970s,” said Watson. For instance, Donovan is a favorite influence of the band. Additionally, Jared said, “We were inspired by stuff my parents listened to– naked hippy acid stuff.”
As for what fans received during the headlining tour with Matisyahu that tours the rest of the country through the summer, Jared said the band was showing the different sides of The Dirty Heads. There are some songs on the set that are high energy. “Then we try to bring it down (with more) ‘vibey’ tracks.” The set list includes about half songs from “Cabin by the Sea” and half the set will be fan favorites.
The Dirty Heads play Toad’s Place, 300 York St., on Tuesday, July 17. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door.
For more information, go to ToadsPlace.com or DirtyHeads.com