When Canada's handsomest rock band, The Dirty Nil, accepted their Juno Award for Breakthrough Group of the Year in Ottawa this weekend, guitarist Luke Bentham and drummer Kyle Fisher were genuinely shocked. They played it cool behind the podium, though, and made the traditional acceptance speech, thanking their label, their friends, and anyone who'd ever let them sleep on their floor. Oh, and then Bentham had one more important thing to add as he darted back to the microphone, realizing he might never get this opportunity again: "Weed rules!"
"I may or may not have said that, I can't quite remember," Bentham says over the phone two days later, sounding like he's still sleeping off an all-night celebration. "It was kind of an afterthought. My brain wouldn't let me leave without saying something to try to make the most of the moment." He's still genuinely shocked. "We went for the merlot, and we walked away with a big glass statue."
After the ceremony, the Nil enjoyed their newfound fame and hobnobbed with some celebs like Kiefer Sutherland and Canadian Prime Minister (and notorious Paul Simon hater) Justin Trudeau. While posing for a photo, Trudeau spotted a pot leaf Bentham had sewn onto the shoulder of his custom-made star-spangled button-up shirt.
"I had a leaf emblazoned on it of an… uh, undescript nature," says Bentham, "I was standing with him and he asked, 'What's that on your shirt?' And I said, 'Oh, don't worry about it.'"
As the breakthrough act lives up to the hype and works on a follow-up to last year's outrageously good album Higher Power, they are releasing Minimum R&B, a compilation album of 11 singles and b-sides for those fans just now getting acquainted with their brand of guitar worshipping, high-volume rock 'n' roll. A bunch of Nil classics make the cut like "Nicotine" from their 2014 EP, Smite, and their fan-favorite party jam "Fuckin' Up Young." A few harder-to-find punk rippers like "New Flesh" and "Pale Blue" also get squeezed in there to flex just how hard and fast the band can tear it up. But at the very end, the band slows things down with "Caroline."
"Caroline" originally appeared on a small-run 2009 EP the band burned onto CDs and copy-and-pasted together themselves, making it hard to find outside their hometown of Dundas, Ontario. They re-recorded it during their Higher Power recording sessions and have been slyly sneaking it back into their set occasionally. Clocking in at a good two minutes longer than your average Dirty Nil song, the song sees the band getting uncharacteristically tender and breaking their lightening fast power chordage down a bit.
Minimum R&B is out on April 28 from Dine Alone Records and Fat Wreck Chords. Listen to "Caroline" below. It rules.
The Dirty Nil will also be doing some damage to Europe, the US, and Canada soon. Dates below.
4/18 - Southampton, UK @ Talking Heads ^
4/19 - London, UK @ KOKO ^
4/20 - Manchester, UK @ Academy 2 ^
4/21 - Bristol, UK @ Bierkeller ^
4/22 - Glasgow, UK @ Oran Mor ^
4/23 - Derby, UK @ The Venue ^
4/24 - Norwich, UK @ Epic Studios ^
4/26 - Cologne, DE @ Underground ^
4/27 - Berlin, DE @ Musik & Frieden ^
4/28 - Münster, DE @ Uncle M Fest 2017 at Skaters Palace ^
4/30 - Hamburg, DE @ Molotow
5/2 - Dresden, DE @ Beatpole
5/3 - Frankfurt, DE @ Nachtleben5/4 - Munich, DE @ Orange House
5/5 - Stuttgart, DE @ Kellerklub5/6 - Zurich, Switzerland @ Obenuse Fest
5/7 - Solothurn, Switzerland @ Kofmehl - Raumbar
5/8 - Vienna, AT @ Arena 3 RAUM Bar
5/25 - Hamilton, ON @ Absinthe*
5/26 - London, ON @ Rum Runners*
5/27 - Howell, MI @ Bled Fest*
5/28 - Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock Social Club*
6/3 - Vancouver, BC @ Venue Nightclub*
6/4 - Whistler, BC @ Garfinkel's*
6/10 - Thunder Bay, ON @ Crocks*
6/12 - Timmins, ON @ The Working Class*
6/15 - Waterloo, ON @ Maxwell's*
6/17 - Toronto, ON @ Lee's Palace*
^ = w/ The Menzingers and The Flatliners
* = w/ The Flatliners and Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs