Last November, local band Filthy Beast released their highly-anticipated debut album. The release show was held at Northside Tavern with Cincinnati natives Suck the Honey and Mr. Phylzzz. After nearly four years in the making, Filthy Beast celebrated their accomplishment in the best way possible; brain-melting riffs and beer at a crowded bar full of their dearest fans.
The self-titled album features songs with attitude, depth, and sonic textures evoking a full range of emotion in the listener. With influences from the the garage-rock/blues revival of the late 90’s and early 2000’s, Filthy Beast writes songs that are heavy, loud, and full of the soul that modern music lacks. However, it is the details and subtlety of tone and production that allow this album to stand out among the others in the genre. The music offers a listening experience that is impeccable, by grabbing the attention of the listener, and forcing them into an alternate realm of sound and color that varies by each song. It rocks hard and rocks smart, with beauty in the spaces between the heavy riffs, creating an entire atmosphere existing between heaven and hell; where angels ride on riffs and leave the devil in the details.
The path leading to the release of their debut album has many twists and turns that ultimately lead to a stacked line-up of native Cincinnati musicians, friends, and fans. Lead singer and guitarist of Filthy Beast, Luke Darling, initially played in THE DUKES ARE DEAD with bandmates Lucas Frazier, Steven Ramsey, and Dave Reid. Though they each went their separate ways in 2012, each of them went on to form bands that all reached high acclaim in Cincinnati, such as Electric Citizen, Pop Goes the Evil, The Sundresses, Suck the Honey, and now, Filthy Beast.
After THE DUKES ARE DEAD, Darling and Reid initially began playing as a two-piece. Later on, through mutual friends and long time fans of the band, Zach Madden (bass) and Noah Spradlin (guitar) would be added to the line-up. In 2013 “Filthy Beast” was writing and performing the proto-type of songs that would be recorded and released years later.
“The writing happened over a long period of time,” says Luke Darling. “I think most of the time I have a song, or a riff, and then we’ll just play it, and keep working on it, and then I’ll start just making up lyrics at points, and then do that a bunch. Eventually there’s lyrics, and then we just find a structure.”
The organic and authentic creative process is evident throughout the album. The pieces of the puzzle fit together smoothly, and you can hear the blending of styles and influence of each member in the compositionally unique sound.
“I think every song we’ve got so far is Luke bringing some kind of riff to the table,” says Noah Spradlin. “Sometimes a full song, and then we all get on it, morph it, and shape it into a collective kind of thing.”
The songwriting and distinct tone of the album are matched with impeccable production. The album was recorded with infamous local icon Brian Olive at The Diamonds studio in Northside. As an original member of highly acclaimed band “The Greenhornes”, Olive has worked with the likes of Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys, and The Soledad Brothers, who have collaborated with Jack White. In 2013, Olive co-wrote and performed alongside Auerbach and New Orleans R&B artist Dr. John to create a record entitled “Locked Down”, which would eventually receive the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Blues Album. Olive’s production is fierce, utilizing analog recording techniques to allow the songs to breath and punch with the classic sound from the albums we all love.
“I’ve listened to him for a long time,” says Darling, who has been a long time fan of Olive. “That era of the music scene, like the garage rock/blues rock revival very late 90’s early 2000’s. That’s when I was like, man, I’ve been playing guitar for a while but I want to play like that.”
“Getting in there and working with him, it was so smooth” added Spradlin. “He’s crazy musician, he’s a wizard. It was a great time recording with him.”
When asked about their current musical influences, Spradlin and Darling were quick to say that their own band members, and the fertile music scene of Cincinnati, has shaped much of their music. Cincinnati’s network of musicians and eclectic artists gives them motivation to continue pushing and inspiring each other to new heights.
“There’s places like MOTR and Northside Tavern that everybody comes together and its always so fucking awesome. I love the scene here, It’s like a family,” says Noah.
That being said, a couple months ago, Zach Madden (bassist) had his equipment stolen. After creating a Kickstarter campaign, the community had raised over $700 to compensate what was taken.
“That’s a good example of the Cincinnati music scene, and that’s what I love about it,” says Spradlin.
“A lot of people are just willing to work together, man, and that’s what is nice to see,” added Luke. “There’s a lot of great people that play music here.”
Now that their album is released, Filthy Beast is taking a small break for drummer Dave Reid to become a dad. However, they are already itching to write and record again.
“We’re ready to start pushing some new stuff. We have it, too, we just can’t play it all right now. We’ll take a break so Dave can become a Dad, and then adjust and start practicing again,” said Darling.
In the meantime, you can listen to their album in its entirety online. If you happened to miss their performance at Northside Tavern with Suck the Honey and Mr. Phylzzz, you can watch footage of the performances online on their Facebook page.