For the strapping lads comprising Toronto rock trio The Dirty Nil, Big Bear was so much more than a convenience store parking lot they gazed upon from their second-floor bathroom window – the trash-strewn asphalt stage where seemingly every element of the human experience played out like a never-ending theatrical production.
The house was all at once a shared residence, creative commons, and god-forsaken pirate ship, its revolving cast of crewmates armed with instruments, alcohol, and overdriven amplifiers. Indeed, they lived, laughed, and loved there even though no kitschy wall sign from a suburban mom’s Etsy shop told them to.
“We were there through our 20s and having the best time,” shares guitarist Luke Bentham, namedropping some of the transient roommates than who spent a few months under the roof with them – members of fellow revered Canadian rock outfits including The Glorious Sons, Attack in Black, Career Suicide, Seaway, and Single Mothers. “It was so conducive to creativity and collaboration. When we turned 30, though, it felt like time to spring from the nest, so we all put our separate plans into motion, and then I immediately started to miss everybody.”
“Bye Bye Big Bear” is a loving musical tribute to that unforgettable time and place, and The Dirty Nil’s first new offering since their impactful 2021 sophomore album Fuck Art. On its back, the boys got back on the road, electrifying increasingly packed venues and festival stages with their fiery brand of punk-tinged rock n roll.
The new single is the natural next step from Fuck Art and their 2018 breakout Master Volume – the same blistering power chords, silky-smooth hooks, and oddly charming witticisms distilled into a more potent, harder-hitting product. It’s also the first recorded outing with new bassist and backup vocalist Sam Tomlinson throwing a bit more gas onto Bentham and drummer Kyle Fisher’s musical fire.
“There are things we’ll really miss – and definitely things we won’t – but a lot of it was just that we’d understood that the club house was breaking up, and that unlocked a lot of feeling.”
Only once the emotional scarring of their Big Bear goodbye has healed will The Dirty Nil have the proper emotional capacity to plot what’s next. Back to stocking shelves at Canadian Tire, maybe a semester in clown college? Or maybe they muscle up and drop a kick-ass new album?
Time heals all wounds, but for now, it’s just too soon to tell…
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