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The Distillers - Sing Sing Death House (Cover Artwork)

The Distillers

The Distillers: Sing Sing Death HouseSing Sing Death House (2002)
Hellcat Records

Reviewer Rating: 3
User Rating:


Contributed by: BhickmanBrett Hickman
(others by this writer | submit your own)

The Distillers' Sing Sing Death House is one of the few albums in the mainstream eye that truly deserves to be referenced as "punk-rock". It is nasty and contemptuous, provocative and empowering and flies by at a breakneck pace. Unlike most modern-day fare that attempts to disguise itself under th.
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The Distillers' Sing Sing Death House is one of the few albums in the mainstream eye that truly deserves to be referenced as "punk-rock". It is nasty and contemptuous, provocative and empowering and flies by at a breakneck pace. Unlike most modern-day fare that attempts to disguise itself under the tattered blanket of punk-rock, the members of The Distillers, vocalist/guitarist Brody Armstrong, drummer Andy Outbreak, bassist Ryan and former guitarist Rose/Casper, are living the life and are steeped in its spirit. Far too often these days artists that, though they may have been spurred by the form's power in their formative years, have done a great disservice to the name of punk-rock. Through ironing out all of the genre's beautiful wrinkles and cleansing it free of any bothersome stains, they have helped dilute the power of the very music that vitalized and impassioned them in their nascent existences. Thankfully, there is still a thriving underground scene and one where the best of the best is represented by the always credible, Los Angeles-based Epitaph Records (its founder/owner, Brett Gurewitz of Bad Religion, serves as one of this album's mixers and engineers) and the album's label, Epitaph offshoot, Hellcat Records.

Leading a twelve-song stampede, Armstrong is a woman with enough requisite piss and kerosene to ignite a dozen lesser bands. With a voice that is confident, strong and well worn for someone so young (she's only 23), she inflects song after song with passion and purpose. From the autobiographical out-of-the-pits-of-hell "The Young Crazed Peeling", to the women's rights ode of "Seneca Falls" (wherein Armstrong name checks such women's liberty pioneers as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady) and the powerfully riveting "City Of Angels", which makes all of the talk comparing Armstrong's voice to the magnificent Courtney Love's all that much harder to shake. It is bizarre how often Armstrong's voice begs for the likening to Love. In interviews, Armstrong downplays the comparisons and tries to assert her true influences (from The Plasmatics' late singer Wendy O. Williams, to Siouxsie Sioux to Debbie Harry), but even if she was not influenced by Love, the equating of the two is still sound.

The possibility of "City Of Angels" becoming a punk anthem is very strong. It's chorus of "They say this is / the City of Angels / All I see is dead wings", is indellible in its spirit and infectious in its delivery. Armstrong's authoritative vocal delivery is matched pound for pound by the band's muscular venting. Armstrong's description of her past bouts with drugs on "I Understand" in the form of "I was a mis-shape, mistake, misfit / Untamed mis-hap, with a junkie heart" gives some insight on the type of dredging of her soul that is displayed on this album. Armstrong lays her soul to bare for all to see with further brazen honesty on "The Young Crazed Peeling". In the song, Armstrong describes her growing up in Melbourne, Australia. "My mum kicked my dad out for battery / Found a way, she found a way out of spiritual penury", words that reveal a lack of pretense on her upbringing and in their exposure of raw nerves.

As enthusiastic and straight-edged as "Sing Sing Death House" is, and for all of Armstrong's brave struggling with her emotional horrors, the album lacks a certain zeal to carry it beyond its spiritual leanings. The sense that they are capable of moving forward and making an album that could be a real watershed recording is clear. This album feels more like a stepping stone to greater things, though. Right now they have made one of the more honest and vital punk-rock records of recent memory, one of which deserves every ounce of love it has gotten.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Operation Ivy - Operation IvyRancid - ... And Out Come The WolvesNOFX - The DeclineThe Distillers - Coral FangAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseNOFX - Punk In DrublicRancid - Let's GoBlack Flag - DamagedMinor Threat - Complete DiscographyAgainst Me! - Searching For A Former Clarity

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Passion_of_Destruction (August 15, 2005)

i think the distillers rock. very creative. totally wow. uberfantastic

Enfant_Terrible (April 12, 2004)

the distillers made their breaktrough even before brody hooked up with tim, so that's an bullshit argument for saying they suck.

the fact is that this is just a kickass record.
period

Anonymous (March 9, 2003)

This is one of the most amazing alblums from last year people are just pissed cause they were on MTV, well fuck all of you this is an amzing alblum and the Distillers are incredibly punk more then her sell out Husband could ever hope to be. AND BRODY IS SEXY AS HELL.

Anonymous (February 24, 2003)

This score is for the fact that if Brody and Tim have a child, I want to be that child's friend.

Anonymous (February 24, 2003)

they sound too much like samiam. And im talking "billy" era samiam, not "sky flying by", "astray" samiam.

get the hint brody, we all loved husker du and mission of burma, but its not the 80's anymore.

wyzo

Anonymous (February 24, 2003)

im on the distillers street team. I thought it was a norml petition, i swear.

borntolose (February 23, 2003)

T-r-e-n-d-y?

"I don't like them, but at least I never have."

Anonymous (February 23, 2003)

Everybody on here slams the Distillers and Rancid... Which is odd, because most of you loved Rancid just a year or so ago... Making YOU the trendy ones. I don't like them, but at least I never have.

borntolose (February 23, 2003)

I'd probably stick my dick into a garbage disposal before the idea of having sex with Brodie's ugly ass came to mind.

Wait....what's that? This is really off topic and uncalled for?

Sorry, back on topic.....The Distiller's should play Russian Roulette with an uzi.

waste_elite (February 23, 2003)

"This isn't emonews.org this is PUNKNEWS.ORG"

yeah, i'm a little pissed that 75% of the reviews on this site are dedicated to piece of shit emo-pop bands that will be forgotten when the next piece of shit emo-pop band releases a record. but hey, if you stupid kids would wise up and listen to good music we wouldn't have this problem.

"AND THATS WHAT THE DISTILLERS ARE... PUNK!"

punk or not, they suck.

Anonymous (February 23, 2003)

how come you gave em a good score?

Anonymous (February 23, 2003)

Rancid = Trying to hard to want to be punk. You dont really hard to try to be punk, but these guys make it hard. Cool group of guys... not.

Distillers, The = Trying to hard to be rancid. I mean come on, shitty voice, shitty guitar, soul purpose is to be more punk then other new bands. So gay, so very gay, come on people.

Sing Sing Death House = Shit.

Overall, Rancid and The Distillers, are shit music.

-501

Anonymous (February 23, 2003)

hehe you slag the distillers off a lot on here! WELL FUCK YOU ALL YOU SLAGGERS. There aren't a lot of great bands at the moment that you can really feel like throwing youself round the room to but the distillers areone of them. This isn't emonews.org this is PUNKNEWS.ORG AND THATS WHAT THE DISTILLERS ARE... PUNK !

Anonymous (February 22, 2003)

Everone in here that said anything about how the Distillers suck and shit like that are just gy.Brody has been nd always will be my hero and to the one person who says that they are brody and wrote "i am sad,shocked,and a lil disapointed by wat im readin" is gay becuase if you wreBrodyyou wouldn't care what anyonesays about yourmusic because your punk and if Brody were to read this i would want her to know that i love the newest album and i can't wait untill another comes out one lsat thing to anyone who read the artical in AP about the distillers wasn't it kick ass?
www.pages.ivillage/iamnunu/13.com

Anonymous (February 22, 2003)

Everone in here that said anything about how the Distillers suck and shit like that are just gy.Brody has been nd always will be my hero and to the one person who says that they are brody and wrote "i am sad,shocked,and a lil disapointed by wat im readin" is gay becuase if you wreBrodyyou wouldn't care what anyonesays about yourmusic because your punk and if Brody were to read this i would want her to know that i love the newest album and i can't wait untill another comes out one lsat thing to anyone who read the artical in AP about the distillers wasn't it kick ass?

borntolose (February 22, 2003)

I'm pretty sure most of us probably weren't you big box of loser.

Why does Australia suck so hard?

Anonymous (February 22, 2003)

i'm pretty sure a lot of you slamming the distillers right now probably 2 years ago been claiming "OMG. there is this new band called the distillers and they rock!"

Anonymous (February 22, 2003)

fuck rancid.

I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU DID IN THE 80s IN THE EAST BAY!

Anonymous (February 21, 2003)

Distillers suck.

Vien (February 21, 2003)

Ahem.....*sips water*.....Fuck the Distillers!

borntolose (February 21, 2003)

If it had been a Distiller's concert in Rhode Island that had burnt down I would have been happy.....Because you all know Brodie's hair product's would have burst into flames in a mili-second.

Wait that sounds really terrible...Let me rephrase...

I don't want 95 random people to die in a horrible club fire, I want 95 random Distiller Fans to die in a horrible club fire.

Anonymous (February 21, 2003)

"they have helped dilute the power of the very music that vitalized and impassioned them in their nascent existences."

you fucking dork, there "nascent existences"? you mother tofurking gash. "well, you see, they diluted there nascent existences". Do you talk like this review in person? its a punk rock record, not a new york times book review.

"FUCK OFF if you don't like that I long for my youth, but at least I am still in touch with my past loves."

was one of those loves a drug addiction maybe, possibly leaving some brain damage in your area of mental and aesthetic perception?
If tim gets a divorce, and marries there stepdaughter ala woody allen, will tim's wives get there own sub-label imprint? Or maybe thats where the name fat possum records comes from.....

I'm going to listen to RL burnside and forget this crap record exists. If its anything worse than watered down music, is watered down music with an aggro costume. "Oi" guys. "Oi". Fucking manowar was harder than this shit.........this is the worst thing to happen since jason newsted.
wyzo

Anonymous (February 21, 2003)

"And since when does Tim sounds like Joe Strummer?"

Someone here has never heard the Clash! Every song did on "Out Come the Wolves" sounded like a crappy version of "Koka Kola" by the Clash.

Off the subject, Rancid is worthless if you don't have the full Clash discography. That idiot Lars says that the Ramones were what really inspired them. Such bull shit. Especially since they refer to the Clash in their songs sometimes. And the new "Oi" Rancid isn't too original either... I don't really mind that, but the fact is that kids hear Rancid and think "man, this is something original" and then whenever Tim says what inspired them musically, he says music that doesn't sound remotely like them just so that they sound more original than they are. Trust me on this, because Rancid actually got me into the Clash. I bought "Out Come the Wolves" because everybody was praising it to the heavens, then picked up "London Calling" a week later... Long story short, my Rancid CDs don't find themselves out of their cases too much at all anymore.

Anonymous (February 21, 2003)

Is this a good CD? Yes. Has it been done before? Yes.

Contrary to popular belief, this ISN'T hardcore, not even close.

I agree competely with the person who said that this is a mainstream CD that actually deserves to have punk rock connotations attached to it.

(Read: This isn't in the same vein as Sum 41. This is a hell of a lot better.)

burstandbloom (February 21, 2003)

Aww, you kids hurt Brody's feelings.

And since when does Tim sounds like Joe Strummer?

Anonymous (February 21, 2003)

Twat is hilarious. This score is for his comments.

-sickboi

Droptop222 (February 21, 2003)

i think the day someone makes a review and it doesnt turn into an all out bitch fest, the apocolypse is upon us.

Anonymous (February 20, 2003)

Hey you people have it all wrong, her name isn't brody it’s Courtney. Her band isn't the distillers it's hole. zzzz snore zzz snore jesus fucking christ this shit is boring. You know what tim armstrong and brody need? They need a big fucking breakup. Hopefully then they will be able to write some halfway decent songs. Maybe not, that's asking a lot from these 2. One more thing, what the fuck does she know about la? Isn't she from the land of vegemite? How about I write a song about koalas? Someone should introduce her to heroin. twat

Anonymous (February 20, 2003)

im shocked, disappointed, and a little hurt bu what i've read here...-brody-

Anonymous (February 20, 2003)

Hot Water Music rules this score is for them:

Vien (February 20, 2003)

That brody comment below was uncalled for. Do you listen to the Nerds or something?

And someone please write a Hot Water Music review so I can give it a perfect score too.

Anonymous (February 20, 2003)

i wanna tie brody down and fuck her with a knife

Anonymous (February 20, 2003)

This score is for Hot Water Music.

-sickboi

borntolose (February 20, 2003)

Oh yeah....

Major love to my main shit stain Waste_Elite.

Anyone who realizes how bad this music really is deserves some love.

borntolose (February 20, 2003)

I will take this moment to speak for all of the people in the Shiznit.....

The Distiller's are terrible.

The Distiller fans are terrible.

Distilla Nation as a whole is terrible.

Now kiddies it's time to put your make-up kit's down and find some good music.

Anonymous (February 20, 2003)

I should have added--- Why does my taste in music blow?
If you KNEW who I was, if you ever met me you would be wrong, I have heard everything "punk rock" and I have an opinion on all of it.

Anonymous (February 20, 2003)

waste_elite, how great for you to respond to what i had to say. Ok now check this out. When I was a kid, 16 years old, i saw the Sex Pistols play at their infamous winterland gig in San Francisco. My friend dragged me to the show, but when it was over I surprisingly didn't hate it. I needed to see something better though. Well,the next year I moved to LA and began to go to the local rock shows. By the time I graduated from high school I had seen over a hundred bands, I had played numerous shows, and I loved the music emerging. I loved the rawness and purity of Black Flag, Greg always played from the heart. I loved seeing the Adolescents, as they were closer to my age than most other people. I remember doing acid with Paul Reahm in his mothers' house. Few years later he was dead. I remember disregarding albums just like you all do. After a few years, all the bands I loved had changed so much. Black Flag couldn't release material for such a long time, and all their newer songs didn't have their old intensity. TSOL's "Beneath The Shadows" was one of the most hated albums when we were kids. Minor Threat broke up, the Adolescents broke up, X was never my thing, The Germs was over, 45 Grave was too weird, Kennedys were good, but nothing like their old material. There was nothing left, no more three chord, not metal-ish,screaming as loud as you can raw punk rock left. Every year or so I'd get excited about whatever new band, but I was always disappointed. I liked the Humpers,the last Rancid album, but only that one, everything from The Nerve Agents, The third AFI album was good. Nirvana was nice, The Beasties' Aglio E Olio was genious, and the first Distillers album was nice. FUCK OFF if you don't like that I long for my youth, but at least I am still in touch with my past loves.

waste_elite (February 20, 2003)

"Its so AWESOME that all of you people are ripping on this album. Its GREAT that you spend you lived criticizing people who do what they love. Its FANTASTIC that all of you who bashed this album couldn't write a song that was intense and raw and fucking PUNK ROCK as the cuts on this album."

yes, how dare we criticize something that sucks. i feel, as someone that loves music, that bad music should be called out for what it is: "bad music". this isn't raw or intense or fucking PUNK ROCK, it's the pinnacle of mediocrity. if you kids think that the distillers are the second coming of punk, you really need to get out more.

"Its TERRIFIC that you are letting people realize that you just dont like this album, because its not like the same Velvet Underground art-rock bullshit you always listen to"

hey, i dig the velvet underground and other "art-rock bullshit", but i also have a fond appreciation for straight up punk rock. if you think that the distillers are prime punk rock, two things are apparent:

1. your taste in music blows

-and/or-

2. you don't listen to much punk

"the ol' glassjaw/afi/hot water music/green day crap that you sit and cry to everynight."

huh?

anyway, in conclusion, i don't hate the distillers. i think they are just a very mediocre band and nothing more.

miles away from "special"

Anonymous (February 20, 2003)

The distillers are the closest thing to old school punk rock since The Criminals or the last Rancid album. People that don't notice this are ignorant. Take it from me, I don't mean to boast but I knew the Germs personally, I knew Minor Threat, I knew Black Flag, I knew Johnny Thunders. This is what punk rock has to offer for us in the new millenium, and frankly it is a good thing.

borntolose (February 19, 2003)

Check that....

Find ANY other music.....no, please get away from the AFI section....Goddamn you people, your totally missing the point.

borntolose (February 19, 2003)

I will take this moment to speak for all of the people in the Shiznit.....

The Distiller's are terrible.

The Distiller fans are terrible.

Distilla Nation as a whole is terrible.

Now kiddies it's time to put your make-up kit's down and find some good music.

eyeball_kid (February 19, 2003)

There goes one angry man/woman. Fair play.

Anonymous (February 19, 2003)

Its so AWESOME that all of you people are ripping on this album. Its GREAT that you spend you lived criticizing people who do what they love. Its FANTASTIC that all of you who bashed this album couldn't write a song that was intense and raw and fucking PUNK ROCK as the cuts on this album. Its TERRIFIC that you are letting people realize that you just dont like this album, because its not like the same Velvet Underground art-rock bullshit you always listen to, or the ol' glassjaw/afi/hot water music/green day crap that you sit and cry to everynight. You guys who bash this album are PERFECT. Im SO glad you expressed you uneducated,unsocialized 13 year old minds on something that you just dont understand.

eyeball_kid (February 19, 2003)

This album is just horribly average punk rock. Mind you, i'm sure Brody Armstrong doesn't give a flying fuck whether you want to hear about her problems or not. More often than not songs come from people's own personal point of view. You won't catch her singing about how crap your day at school was and how the bullies stole your lunch money.

evilmidget2 (February 19, 2003)

"Armstrong's description of her past bouts with drugs on "I Understand" in the form of "I was a mis-shape, mistake, misfit / Untamed mis-hap, with a junkie heart" gives some insight on the type of dredging of her soul that is displayed on this album. Armstrong lays her soul to bare for all to see with further brazen honesty on "The Young Crazed Peeling". In the song, Armstrong describes her growing up in Melbourne, Australia. "My mum kicked my dad out for battery / Found a way, she found a way out of spiritual penury", words that reveal a lack of pretense on her upbringing and in their exposure of raw nerves."

HAHAHAHAHA!!! why do all these musicians think i give a fuck if they were junkies or their dad left?

Bad, bad album, from an even worse band

Anonymous (February 19, 2003)

city of angels is the only distillers song i like

Anonymous (February 19, 2003)

Not terrible, but nothing exciting.....I like the title track. I got my sister really into this band because I thought she might like them since she's a big fan of hole (eck), but these guys are better than that......but not great by any means. I've seen them live twice by accident...once opening for bad religion and once at warped. I'll give them credit for sounding exactly like they do on record, but they have zero energy onstage, they are like cardboard cutouts. If i just wanted to hear the music played loud i could have ust listened to a record.

pope_schlomo (February 18, 2003)

Never liked the distillers even though their first album was ok sort of. It's not because their popular, it's just I can't get into them. I think Brody may be Tim in disguise. Dude's a bachelor for life.

Ramo

evildeadalive (February 18, 2003)

Good album. Good review, a little late though... I gotta agree with their sucking live.

waste_elite (February 18, 2003)

"Coming from the guy who likes The Strokes... not saying much"

i've been dissed by an anonymous douchebag! ouch!

well, if you're judging the whole of my musical tastes solely on what i've said about ONE band (the strokes), i guess you'll have to do the same for the 10 million rock critics that also thought "is this it?" was a great album.

yes, how dare i choose to ignore the hype surrounding the band and instead choose to judge them simply for their music. man, i guess i'm not cut out to be a predictable and trendy pseudo-hipster like yourself. next time i'll try to remember who is cool to like and who isn't.

Anonymous (February 18, 2003)

Although their first record was better, this is still a great album. If more bands sounded like this in the mainstream, or within the entire punk scene itself, then no one could possibly try and tell me punk is dead. A great band, with the phenomenal Andy Outbreak on drums, formerly of the The Nerve Agents, who were one of the greatest live bands I have ever seen, and believe me, I have seen almost every acclaimed punk band live. Anyways, great band, great record, give it a try if you like punk rock

Le_MAD (February 18, 2003)

I saw them live some years ago with rancid and afi. They were (absolutely)terrible.

Anonymous (February 18, 2003)

Brody sounds nothing like Tim Armstrong.

She's more of a Courtney Love. And that's not a good thing.

Anonymous (February 18, 2003)

The Clash are the only band that matters.

Droptop222 (February 18, 2003)

so what if tim kinda sounds like strummer. the clash is the best band in the world anyways.

Vien (February 18, 2003)

The Distillers suck.

evilash (February 18, 2003)

my score is for bullet and bulllllseyeee
last time i check being a commercial success was for wangss.
p.s they suck live and andy outbreak never should have left the nerve agentts

lalombriz (February 18, 2003)

great review of a great band... i really really like the distillers... and i can't wait to see them live sometime... damn... anyways... i really like the distillers... and sing sing death house has been one of my favorite albums this last year... i think i'd want to marry brodie if tim hadn't already ;)

Anonymous (February 18, 2003)

"Does anyone else think that Brody sounds a little too much like her husband, Tim Armstrong from Rancid?"

Does anyone esle think Tim Armstrong sounds a little too much like his obsession, Joe Strummer from the Clash?

Anonymous (February 18, 2003)

"the distillers suck."

Coming from the guy who likes The Strokes... not saying much... In fact, it makes the album alot more worthy of your money.

Anonymous (February 18, 2003)

Uhhhh... We dont need another review of this album. If you like the Distillers, review their first album.

Anonymous (February 18, 2003)

It's a great review, I'll give you that...

I have listened to this cd a few times, and there are a few songs that stick out, but then...they just start to blend together and sound the same. Maybe it's just not for me.

NewKid (February 18, 2003)

The Distillers are fun to listen too. I enjoy alot of there poppier songs and radio ones but the whole cd is good.

joeg (February 18, 2003)

they're a solid band no question. and this is a solid record although i preferred their 1st one a little more just because it sounded more raw. fast, hard, no bullshit and pissed off, its punk rock just the way i like it. and lead female vocals in punk? another plus for me. so she sounds like courtney love. but that's where all the comparisons stop. they're a good live band too.

Anonymous (February 18, 2003)

Does anyone else think that Brody sounds a little too much like her husband, Tim Armstrong from Rancid?

waste_elite (February 18, 2003)

the distillers suck. i gave 'em a chance, but the music is just... annoying. that track on the tony hawk 4 soundtrack (seneca falls i believe) was the only one that i bothered to disable. if you dig this type of music there are about a million bands out there better than these guys.

Anonymous (February 18, 2003)

is this on a major? cuz i thought it was on hell cat... which isn't a major?

Anonymous (February 18, 2003)

As one review I read said Armstrong's voice is what Courtney wishes she had.

CallingLondon (February 18, 2003)

comparing brody to courtney love sounds like way too easy and obvious a comparison to make. it's like comparing the singer of save ferris to gwen stefani. i don't like it.

Anonymous (February 18, 2003)

This album totally rules. It's true what the reviewer said. This is the most punk Major release in a long time. I listen to it as much as possible. It rules to hear a female lead for a majority of FAST punky songs. I love it.

My girlfriend says she sounds like Courtney, and I can hear the simalarities. But courtney never sang this fast and hard.

CallingLondon (February 18, 2003)

very nice review. from what I've heard, this is a fine record. brody is one tough chick.

Anonymous (February 18, 2003)

Great Album. Great Review. Damn its raining...

Anonymous (February 18, 2003)

Wow, someone can write pretty well.

-sickboi

TheDisheveledCommunist (February 18, 2003)

Great review.

I totally agree with what you said.

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