Dirty Ghosts – “Ropes That Way”

Like dirty ghosts, Allyson Baker and Carson Binks, two Toronto expats, rose from the ashes of their old San Francisco-based band Parchman Farm and formed Dirty Ghosts in 2006, a stripped down form of gritty garage and psychedelia with drum loop-y programming by hip-hop recording artist and producer — and Baker’s husband — Aesop Rock.

After looking for a singer with no luck, Baker finally and reluctantly said “fuck it” and has since added vocalist to her resume. But when she lost Binks in 2011 to Oakland stoner metal band Saviours, she had to take matters further, by re-working and re-recording the sound and amassing a new line-up featuring Erin McDermott, Nick Andre, and Ben Tuttle. The sound is pretty funky and new wave rock-y with Speak & Spell-era Depeche Mode beats in the background. Baker’s powerful vocals are heartfelt and prominent, not awash in reverb as so many singers are these days — pretty ballsy for someone who never wanted to be a vocalist.

The band’s debut LP Metal Moon is out February 21 on Last Gang Records. With a West Coast tour and appearances at both Noise Pop and SXSW festivals, as well as a concerted effort to get new with their style and stay fresh, Dirty Ghosts are worth keeping your eye on in 2012.

Locals can see Dirty Ghosts play Noise Pop with Bare Wires, Chapter 24, and Chains of Love on February 23 at the Brick and Mortar Music Hall.