The Distillers - The Distillers EP (retro review) (Cover Artwork)

The Distillers

The Distillers EP (retro review) (1999)


The Distillers brought garage-y, chaotic punk back into the spotlight on their self-titled EP, The Distillers.

Only five hundred copies of The Distillers were pressed and released on 7” vinyl, which boasted four tracks and came with a free sticker. The EP gained the Distillers a minor following but also stirred up some animosity between the scene and the band as many people didn’t give them a fair shake due to front-woman Brody Dalle’s relationship to Tim Armstrong of long-established punk band Rancid.

The Distillers sounded angrier than most female-fronted bands that were out at the time with Dalle’s raspy vocals and the search and destroy playing style giving the band an energetic do-not-fuck-with-us vibe. They showed everyone the power and energy of a woman telling stories and standing unwavering at the front in a way that proved actions speak louder than words.

All of the songs on The Distillers were written by front-woman Brody Dalle. The songs combine traditional punk elements with raw lyrics that reflect on life in L.A. and the concept of freedom. There is so much energy in how the Distillers play that adds to the garage-y feel of the EP. Everyone is playing like everything is going to be taken away and they need to get the music out. The vocals are chaotic and raspy, also appearing on “heys”, “yeahs”, and vocal runs that would be easy for a crowd to replicate. They worked well together and provided blueprints for the band’s eponymous LP which would come out the next year and gain even more fans.

The Distillers proved themselves as a force to reckoned with on The Distillers. The EP marked the emergence of what was soon to become the band’s signature sound and showed that no matter what other people might have thought, the Distillers were perfectly capable of running the show by themselves.