Vulgarrity's haunting Dance 2 the Grave

Creatures of the night
By CHRIS CONTI  |  October 19, 2010

There's a musty funk emanating from the new VulGarrity disc, Dance 2 the Grave, as the acclaimed Provy-based sibling duo (Tracy and older brother Shawn Garrity) follow up their excellent '08 debut, If You Sing it, They Will Hum . . ., with 15 more tracks (including a monster cover of Peter Gabriel's "Shock the Monkey") sure to satisfy those of us who crave their taut basslines, primal rhythms, and gnarled, fuzzy riffs a la Queens of the Stone Age. And, like Josh Homme's catalog of robot-sex rock, there's no shortage of dance floor groove lurking beneath the hard rock sludge.

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DARK AND DANCEABLE Shawn and Tracy.
This one is the soundtrack for your next graveyard bonfire or mausoleum makeout party. The Garritys love vintage horror movies (check out the videos for "Killer in the Back Seat" and the new single, "Freakshow"), which is abundantly clear when absorbing the opening thumper, "All Hallow's Eve." There's the burning and drowning of witches, kids hiding behind plastic masks "oblivious to what's happening," and "no rest for the creatures of the night." Yet even with song titles such as "Don't Go In the House," "Tortured," "Eyes In the Dark," and "Murderhand," Shawn said an October release wasn't the original plan.

"Actually, the album was originally scheduled for release in July, but we pushed for several reasons, the most obvious being the lyrical content," Shawn told me earlier this week.

"Besides, it's Halloween year-round in our world."

VulGarrity is known for their jaw-dropping live show, where the pair often switch instruments — sometimes mid-song, with Shawn capturing a riff or bassline through a loop pedal, then trading places with Tracy behind the drum kit. The instrumental that usually closes out the live set, "Vully" (named for their omnipresent mascot vulture), appears on Dance 2 the Grave and serves as a beastly finale.

"There's no doubt bands like Queens influenced our sound," Shawn said. "There's something about dark, melodic, and danceable music that resonates so much with us," he said. "You don't hear that combination done well too often."

Fine examples would be latter-half standout cuts "Tell-Tale," "Mix Around," and "Dear John" (one of three tracks with Tracy on lead vox) and, of course, that badass "Shock the Monkey" cover found smack-dab in the center of the album. "We had been playing that one live for awhile, but luckily our manager reminded us about it and recommended we get it on there," said Shawn.

The Garritys are gearing up for yet another nationwide tour, and at this point in their musical career there's no time for petty sibling quarrels. Still, I could never envision my younger sister and I traveling cross-country for weeks at a time.

"It's definitely challenging, but I guess we have an unspoken understanding that we need to make this work," Shawn said.

"We get on each other's nerves from time to time, but we also love performing and work really hard at making each tour happen.

"The last thing either of us would want to do is screw it up.

"Our main goal remains unchanged — having fun via playing music," Shawn humbly declared. "There's something about unfettered self-expression that gives people hope or inspiration," he said, "or at least helps them forget what a crappy week they had.

"We get to see that firsthand every time we play a show. It's pretty addictive."

VULGARRITY + SEXCOFFEE + ARMA + ECHO SON | Friday, October 22 @ 7 pm | The Colosseum, 180 Pine Street, Providence | $10, all ages | vulgarrity.com

  Topics: Music Features , Music, Queens of the Stone Age, Shawn Garrity,  More more >
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