Editors’ Notes Fun was in pretty short supply in 2020, so Dundas, Ontario, alt-rockers The Dirty Nil chose to usher in 2021 with a record to lift spirits. F*** Art, the trio’s third full-length, is as likely to leave you chuckling as it is to leave many a glorious chorus lodged in your brain. “There’s a bit of a gallows sense of humor that pervades everything that we do,” singer/guitarist Luke Bentham tells Apple Music. “And we try and make each other laugh with our music while we’re making it. When we’re coming up with thrash-metal breakdowns and stuff, it’s not to try and push the envelope musically–it’s to try and amuse each other at our practice space. Same thing with the lyrics. I think when something has the quality of, like, a smirk to it, it feels right for us. There’s a lot of assholes that take themselves way too seriously. I think if you’re playing an electric guitar in the year 2020, you’ve got to have a sense of humor about it.” Unsurprisingly, then, Bentham proves an entertaining tour guide as he steers us through each of the songs on F*** Art.

Doom Boy
“It’s based around my mom's black Dodge Caravan that we all ride around in together. And we did actually listen to Reign in Blood by Slayer heavily because that was the CD that was stuck in the player. So that kind of spawned that song. It's a delightful ode to chivalry and first-wave thrash and some other bands that we love. In the spirit of not taking yourself too seriously, that song was actually, like, five minutes long because we tried to jam even more thrash-metal breakdowns and stuff into it. And then we kind of trimmed it back. Our producer, John Goodmanson, called this version the ‘civilized’ version, but there’s an uncivilized version of that song that we’ll release sometime.”

Blunt Force Concussion
“Here’s a tidbit: While filming a music video for this song, I had an extreme allergic reaction to horses and my face blew up. I learned the hard way. We were out in a field full of flowers trying to make a music video where we were like, ‘Let's not have any explosions for one video. Let’s just make a nice, safe video where you don’t get hurt.’ And it turns out that we’re not capable of doing stuff like that.”

Elvis ’77
“We went out drinking one time after we had finished [2018’s] Master Volume and we found this big poster of late-stage fat Elvis on the ground when we were walking home from the bar. We were all living together, so I put that poster up on our wall and it’s a really destroyed photo of, as I said, a very destroyed Elvis. So I saw that picture and I tried to imagine what Elvis’ thoughts were when he was dying on the toilet. And those are the lyrics for that song.”

Done With Drugs
“The common misconception is that this is some sort of confessional by me, but this is actually not that. This is actually my commentary on people’s interactions with social media and posting all their resolutions and stuff on the internet, which I just find fascinating. I think it’s a really interesting thing how much people try to appeal to the void for strength rather than just making life decisions for themselves and being private about it, which just appeals to me as a more sensible way of making changes in your life. But people go on all these diatribes online saying, ‘Well, I’m done with fast food and here’s my big seven-page essay about it.’”

Ride or Die
“It’s not a thrash-metal love song. We’d just watched that Bonnie and Clyde movie and I wrote those lyrics really fast and then I came up with a couple of sick riffs and then we just jammed it out. It came together really quickly, but I had a pretty distinct vision for that one right from the very beginning as a ‘bash your head through the drywall’ kind of ripper. And I’m very happy with how it came out.”

Hang Yer Moon
“I remember we’d had a bunch of beers and then I woke up early and everyone else was still sleeping and I was pretty hung over, but I just had to wake up and do something. And I kind of tried to capture what it felt like to be hung over. At the end of that song, there’s a kind of lazy Mac DeMarco riff thing that was my best attempt to capture what it feels like to have a pounding, like, zillion-pint headache.”

Damage Control
“It’s kind of got an ‘all’s fair in love and war’-type theme. When you break up, people think that you owe them an explanation about everything, and I reject that sentiment outright. I think that if you break up with somebody, then that’s it—you go your separate ways, and there you go. We don’t owe people explanations for this life always.”

Hello Jealousy
“I remember just having a day where I was actually, if I'm being totally truthful, very much unable to escape my acute jealousy for another musical artist for something that they had achieved that I had always wanted to achieve. For obvious reasons, I shall leave those details out–they do not matter–but I just tried to do my best to capture what it feels like to be really dumb and jealous in one moment. And then I wrote that song and I felt better and then I didn’t feel jealous anymore. So it was, in the classic, stereotypical way, a very stupid, cathartic little song.”

Possession
“We try to pull some stadium-rock cheese moves in this one–some Rick Springfield/’80s/big-chorus/Bon Jovi kind of stuff, but with obvious cursing.”

To the Guy Who Stole My Bike
“I was working at a bar shortly after the completion of Master Volume, before we had released it. And I had this one terrible night where I not only got locked out of the bar because I was the only person there cleaning up, but I went around to the front and my bike had been stolen. So on the walk home from the bar to my house at, like, 2:00 in the morning, I wrote the lyrics to this song. It’s just kind of a funny little revenge ballad.”

One More and the Bill
“I was with my dad and his friends, and he used to be a crown attorney prosecutor and his friends are all judges, and at, like, 1:58 am, his one friend would say, ‘One more and the bill, please.’ And that means one more round for everyone and the bill. He’s trying to sound like he’s responsible, but it’s like, ‘I'll take the bill, please, we're done. But also, before that, let’s drink more.’ So I loved that statement because, as I said, it’s meant to sound responsible, but really it’s like, ‘Let's keep drinking.’ Something about that captured my imagination.”

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