Canadian trio the Dirty Nil play a staggeringly loud, blown-out mélange of hard rock and punk with hoarse, raw vocals. Self-described as a "rock & roll band" and not a punk outfit, they toured for years before releasing an album, winning themselves a spot on the Warped Tour without ever compromising their ideals. Seasoned by years of road work, the Dirty Nil's debut album, 2016's Higher Power, was a rough but muscular approximation of their live attack, while their third album, 2018's Master Volume, was more refined but no less swaggering.
Raised on proto-punk and classic rock, childhood friends Luke Bentham (guitar, vocals) and Kyle Fisher (drums) grew up in sleepy Dundas, Ontario, a satellite town of Hamilton on the shores of Lake Ontario, near the border with the United States. They played music together for years, primarily for fun and practice, but the band did not really take off until bassist Dave Nardi joined in 2009 and they started to play shows in nearby Hamilton, a small city with a close-knit and thriving rock scene of which they swiftly became an integral part.
The band paid their dues with grueling tours across the U.S. and Canada, gradually honing their sound. With a strong D.I.Y. ethic, and in no rush to release an album, they churned out a steady stream of 7" singles, one of which made its way into the hands of NOFX frontman Fat Mike. Impressed by the young band's sound, he contacted them with the desire to put out a record by them on his Fat Wreck Chords label; the resulting 7", "Cinnamon," caused considerable consternation among fans of the label's usually static skate punk style. The Dirty Nil eventually signed to Dine Alone for the 2016 release of their debut album Higher Power, which recalled various '90s icons of grunge, indie, and noise rock.
The band's second album, Minimum R&B, arrived in 2017, the same year the band received a Juno Award (the Canadian Grammy) as "Breakthrough Group of the Year." 2017 also saw the departure of Dave Nardi from the lineup, with Ross Miller of Single Mothers taking over on bass. The hard-working trio was back in 2018 with Master Volume, which found the Dirty Nil sounding more precise but no less committed to their rock & roll vision. ~ John D. Buchanan & Mark Deming