The Dirty Pennies
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The Dirty Pennies

Rochester, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012

Rochester, New York, United States
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Rock Garage Rock




"New Track: The Dirty Pennies ” Things You Say “"

The vision I got when I heard garage rockers Dirty Pennies second single Things You Say, is a late night on the Sunset Strip, back when The Whiskey was really a go-go bar..the girls dancing to fast guitar bands, a haze of smoke from cigarettes seemed to linger right above your head… That is because Things You Say takes cues from the past, with the strident reverbed guitar riffs and gut-busting drumming. It is the perfect song to dance to,or to sit and bop your head to while you sip your beer. It is a song you need for a night out, or if you are feeling a bit nostalgic. - The Girls at the Rock Show


The Dirty Pennies spent the last 2 years honing their Garage/Indie Rock sound into what is now a more definitive and focused experience comparable to Thee Oh Sees, The Black Keys and The White Stripes.
The band released a new EP earlier this month titled…EP. There’s some grittiness to the songs. Yet they’re somehow bouncy. It’s a sound and feel akin to The Strokes’ Is This It.
“I’m your poor man’s blues” vocalist Ryan Klem exclaims on “I’m Giving Up”.
There is a ton of blues influence throughout this release but it doesn’t come across forced.
The Dirty Pennies make the type of songs you hear in a bar and HAVE to investigate because they’re stuck in your head.
There’s a really relaxing element to this short 3 song EP. Both in the vocal delivery and the wavy, west coast beach-y guitar riffs.
Make sure you listen all the way through because the breakdown at the 3 minute mark of “Kingpin” is truly something of legend.
Relax and celebrate this 4/20 with The Dirty Pennies! - Teal Cheese

"The Dirty Pennies Album Review"

The Dirty Pennies are a local Rochester band that infuses blues with alternative rock sounds and a touch of folk. The Dirty Pennies are comprised of Ryan Klem, who is the lead guitarist and vocalist, Lucas Howe, who plays the drums, and Joe Mungo, who plays bass. Their new album Kick Out The Rocks was released this past Friday and I had the pleasure of listening to it!

If you are a fan of The Black Keys then you will definitely hear their influence while listening to this album, especially the songs “Blood of Me” and “Woman of Mine”. The raw gritty vocals are similar to that of Dan Auerbach’s. Each song on the album brings about a new exploration of alternative rock and blues. I couldn't find a song that wasn't catchy, nor could stop myself from dancing to every single beat! The musical skill this band possesses is astounding and you can absolutely hear it while listening to the intricate guitar solo in the beginning of “Water so Cold”. My favorite songs on the album happen to be “Man on a Wire” and “Blue Hospital”. The beautiful acoustic beginning to “Man on a Wire” with the later addition of the harmonica is the perfect touch. While the slow building guitar and rhythm in “Blue Hospital” lead to heart-wrenching emotion filled lyrics which build ever so slightly.

Variety is what this album is all about, the purely instrumental jam song “Steve’s Song” is the perfect break in the middle of the album. Songs like “Devil Springs” have grittier rock vocals and an ear-melting guitar solo. While the rockin' bar anthem, “The Drinking Song”, has a bit of humor in the lyrics, “I raise my head up tall when I bang it against the wall”, proves that this band has the ability to make any song sound great by adding their own flavor.

I believe that this band will reach new heights in the music industry because of their diverse sound. The range between alternative rock and blues that the band plays does not bore the listener. When I listen to this music I imagine myself in a rustic biker bar in the midwest, everyone standing and swaying or toe-tapping along with the music as the band plays.

I would love to see The Dirty Pennies open up for The Black Keys and I bet they would love the opportunity as the band is listed as one of their influences, which is not hard to hear while listening to the album. Keep an eye and ear out for The Dirty Pennies because I expect they will make it big; I couldn’t imagine a band with this skill, diversity, and unique sound to not break into the industry! I devoured this album, can’t stop listening to it on repeat, and I am ready for what this band produces next!

by: Hillary Bosy - FLOATED: Alternative Culture Magazine

"The Dirty Pennies is keeping the blues relevant"

Even The Dirty Pennies gets the blues. The Rochester trio is part of a nouveaux approach that's gonna keep those blues alive and relevant. Often the genre gets steam-rolled by who plays it and how it's being played, but not with The Dirty Pennies. It's simple: the band is primitive with a mean gutbucket guitar riff, the driving beat of the drums, and a bass that swings sassy and precarious.

The Dirty Pennies launched as a duo in 2012 with Ryan Klem singing and playing guitar and Lucas Howe on drums. But the outfit just couldn't acquire any momentum; it was a slow start, playing music for crowds that they outnumbered.

"We were just sort of dicking around," Klem says. "We started jamming, just trying to find any place to play ... playing for two people at the Bug Jar on a Wednesday night."

Klem wanted to play blues-rock like Derek Trucks, "even though we don't sound like that at all," he says. He also cites BB King and Buddy Guy "and just straight-ahead blues-rock" as done by bands like The White Stripes and The Black Keys. It's kind of a Southern rock mix; a sound you'd expect from artists on the Fat Possum Records label, like Kenny Brown.

Still, the whole two-man thing had them stymied. A promoter in Cleveland suggested that adding a third piece might make bookings easier. The Dirty Pennies boosters balked. "A lot of people were like, 'Why are you putting in a bass?'" Klem says. "'It already sounds like you have enough.'"

"But it helped us to move forward," Howe adds.

Bassist Joseph Mungo moved up to Rochester from Geneva where he'd been playing Drum & Bass. He had seen The Dirty Pennies a few times and was struck.

"I wanted to make music like these guys were putting out," he says. "I said, 'We should jam sometime. I think I can bring something.' So I came in and we almost immediately started writing new stuff. Then slowly we started in on the old stuff."

So then there were three.

The new music flowed in fluently and consistently with older tracks. The Dirty Pennies plans on a merger, throwing the stuff recorded on its eponymous EP in as additional tracks on its new album, "Kick out the Rocks," which was recorded with Jesse Sprinkle at Bluebrick Studios, and is slated to hit the street March 24.

"As a writer," Klem says. "I'd say the stuff we're doing on this new album is the type of music we've tried to put out for a long, long time. I think we've found a really good formula."

And despite the guitar's sinister, lower-register grind and moan, Klem doesn't drop his tuning down, he's strictly an A-440 man and doesn't overthink his approach.

"I use hollow bodies," he says, "and heavy reverb on a solid-state amp. I'm not that much of a gear head. I have one fuzz pedal. I used to write more singer-songwriter stuff like Josh Ritter and just brought it to the electric stage, which was really weird and difficult for both of us to get together on. We came from two very different backgrounds in music."

"I like a lot of everything now," Howe says. "Playing in this band has broadened my taste in music like crazy. What I played before was like Megadeth, Slayer, and all that type of stuff. This music is more fun, in my opinion, to play. I'll still jam on some metal when I'm playing alone, but this stuff is more groove-y and more fun. It's big, and we play big."

By: Frank DeBlase - CITY: Rochester

"Interview: The Dirty Pennies on Developing Their Own Style of Blues"

The Dirty Pennies play a mean twelve bar blues. However, they don’t box themselves into the genre. They use the blues as a springboard to launch into other musical directions. Their debut album Kick Out The Rocks demonstrates this versatility – from the boogie-woogie title track to the alt rock “Explosions” and the folk ballad “Man on a Wire.” The Dirty Pennies started as a duo five years ago, with Ryan Klem on vocals and lead guitar and Lucas Howe on Drums. Last year, bassist Joe Mungo joined the group. NYS Music sat down with the trio at Boulder Coffee Co. in their hometown of Rochester to discuss the evolution of the band and their sound.
Paula Cummings: Ryan and Lucas, you started as a duo about 5 years ago. How did you meet & decide to start a band?

Lucas Howe: We played in another band before that wasn’t really our cup of tea, you could say, and then we both decided to jam and start our own thing.

Ryan Klem: I remember when we were playing in the band, but we both had different writing styles. I came from the singer-songwriter style. We came up with a happy medium of sound, bringing in that twelve-bar blues like The White Stripes, The Black Keys.

PC: Tell me about how you became a trio.

Joe Mungo: When I moved out here three years ago, I started working with Ryan. The first weekend out here I saw them play a show. So I approached him a couple days later at work and said, “Hey, man, if you ever want to jam or anything sometime, I’d be interested in playing with you guys.” The first time we played collectively, after practice they were like, “Okay, you’re in. Let’s do this.”

RK: We had someone working with us from Cleveland for a while who said, “You guys should get a bassist.” We also had enough people coming up to us after shows saying “You guys sound like the Black Keys” or “You guys sound like the White Stripes.” I don’t want to sound just like The Black Keys and The White Stripes, so bringing in another element has been able to…

LH: It opens up a lot more.

RK: What we were doing was straightforward, what we were able to do. There was a big margin where we could write what we wanted, but there was only so much we could do with a guitar and drums. With a bass now, we can touch indie rock, we can touch country… we can touch lots of different things.
PC: You’ve been a live band for so long, what was it like when you finally got into the studio?

RK: It’s strange because people think of us as a live band, but we did an EP that took the course of three years. I was up at school, living in the Adirondacks, and I would come back and just play a show every once in a while, not really knowing where all of this was going. But what I will say is Kick Out The Rocks was the first time I’ve felt like going into the studio and hammering something out.

JM: For me it was return-to-my-roots. When I lived in Geneva, my hometown, I was in another band, my friend and I, and we were setting up a studio. It was a very grassroots thing in a basement. I think we played four shows total, so all the time we were playing it was in the studio setting. So it was nice to go back to that. But it was a completely different experience because Blue Brick Recordings is a legitimate studio with different rooms and things set up. It was really fun to have the professional setting.

LH: I still think I like that people look at us as a live band. You hear the songs on the record, but I think you don’t get the same experience… I like to go nuts.

RK: Right, live is different.

JM: Recording in the studio, one thing that trips me up a bit is “Okay, I need to nail it this time.”

LH: It’s really stressful.

JM: It gets really frustrating if you can’t get it after a few tries. You get frustrated and you just want to move on for the day. But live, it doesn’t have to be the same every time.

PC: The album has strong blues overtones, but also blends a wide range of sounds. Who are some of the bands that inspire you?

RK: I like Wilco.

LH: Deer Tick is pretty sweet.

JM: If I had to name a band that’s currently out, I’d say Houndmouth has a similar sound to us.
RK: I feel like we’re always listening. It’s harder now to find your style. If you’re someone who really grasps onto music – you want to listen to music, you want to play music – there’s just so much of it out there.

JM: The more cool stuff you hear, it’s like, “Let’s do something like that.”

RK: And then it will change and I’ll be like, “Why do I like so much reggae stuff now?”

PC: What is your favorite comment by someone who reviewed your album?

JM: Frank DeBlase (City Newspaper) gave me my best one. He said my bass was “sassy and precarious.” I really liked that comment, sassy and precarious.

LH: I mainly liked that it seems like everyone that wrote about us said you can’t find one song that’s not catchy, that you can’t tap your foot to. We always hear that it’s catchy music.

RK: The thing is that you get a little of everything. That’s what we’re trying to do, a little of everything.

LH: That’s important to do, to split up the album – not just have it all grunge garage blues the whole time.

RK: I think we touch on all of our strengths on the album, which is nice. We all have different backgrounds in music. In the twelve songs we have, I can name one song in particular in each of our styles where we really honed in on that track specifically. And it’s very cool we all got to do that. We compromise in a sense but we also stay unique through it, which is really hard to do sometimes.
PC: What’s on the horizon for The Dirty Pennies?

LH: We’re touring in mid-August.

RK: Other than that, we’re writing new stuff.

JM: I think that’s the focus right now – new music.

RK: I love our record, but I’m ready for new stuff already.

LH: We have been playing some new songs in practice that we haven’t really played live or are obviously not on the record.

JM: We’ve got three or four new ones that are almost there.

LH: It’s always nice to write new stuff. It’s nice to go in other directions.

PC: What else would you like our readers to know about you?

RK: We’re high-energy. We like to put on a fun live performance.

by: Paula Cummings - NYS MUSIC

"Review: The Dirty Pennies EP (Out April 19th)"

Rock n Roll has been in long need of a straighter posture and The Dirty Pennies seem dead set on replacing it’s spine. On their latest ep our boys deliver a tight set of straight ahead tuneage that’ll keep heads nodding and bodies moving.
Single “I’m Giving Up” has an ear worm you’ll be humming for days but digging further into this collection certainly has its rewards. “Things You Say” shares echoes of both Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and early Brian Jonestown Massacre , while closer “Kingpin” has a super charged rave up mid-section that displays some killer guitar chops not unlike Noel Gallagher.

If your aesthetic is to throw on a fierce outfit, smoke too many cigarettes and look like you seriously don’t care about shit, let The Dirty Pennies be the soundtrack to your Saturday night. 8/10 - With Guitars

"Hearing Aide: The Dirty Pennies ‘EP’"

With 2017’s Kick Out The Rocks, The Dirty Pennies blend blues with other styles of music, feeling out the boundaries of how far they could push the genre. Now with their new EP (aptly entitled EP) they’ve mapped out their niche: grungy rust-belt garage rock, steeped in surf rock and blues.

EP is short, but sweet, containing only three songs. “I’m Giving Up” whets the appetite. The song starts off slow and surreal, but picks up by the end of the first chorus, effectively changing the song from an end-of-the-workday dirge to a happy-hour anthem. The music video for this song is a lot of fun, too. It features the band members breaking free of the drudgery of banal workaday life. “I’m a sad man, too. I’m your poor man’s blues,” sings Ryan Klem with a slight warble. “But I know, yeah I know it ends somewhere.”

“Things You Say” is a heavy-hitter. Drummer Lucas Howe pulls no punches as he shows off with his ability to both unleash the beast within and reel it back in. Joe Mungo holds down the rhythm on bass, keeping the song grounded so Klem can let-fly some lofty guitar riffs.

EP ends with the five-plus-minute ballad “Kingpin.” It’s heavy and heady, with an undulating psychedelic beat. The washy guitar effects and the repetitive lyric “I get up/I get down” leaves the listener entranced. About halfway through, the tempo changes and they’re injecting some good old fashioned rock and roll. The song comes full circle, winding back down. “You can’t stop me. I’m not as easy as they come. Stuck in the same frame, I’m making my way out on my own.”

The Dirty Pennies have come a long way since Kick Out The Rocks. You can still hear elements the members’ various musical interests (including Americana, hard rock, and alternative), but they’ve blended them in such a way as to make a sound all their own. Not some polished newly minted copper, but a sound that befits their namesake.

EP was recorded at Rochester’s Wicked Squid Studios, where it was engineered by Josh Pettinger and mixed and mastered by Greg Thompson. Album artwork credit goes to Mike Turzanski.

Listen to the release in full on Bandcamp. And while you’re there, check out their merch store stocked with copies of EP and Kick Out the Rocks as well as some new t-shirt designs. Copies of EP will also be available at the release party at The Bug Jar in Rochester on Friday April 19. - NYS Music

"Album review: 'EP'"

Looking for a guitar hero? Look no further than The Dirty Pennies, a Rochester trio which, on its new "EP," serves up the songs like cuts of lo-fi beef. It's slick, but it's not showy. It's primal rock 'n' roll with just the right amount of blues to keep it all in place. Picture a less-stuffy Strokes or a more manic Black Keys.

Though I'm totally down with the EP surge going on, in which artists can keep their sound and recorded output more congruent, "EP" is absolutely cruel with the tease of a mere three songs. So, more responsibility lies on the shoulders of the three that made the cut. And the band makes them count. Damn, if this isn't the best stuff I've heard so far this year.

Joined by The Stedwells and Handsome Jack, The Dirty Pennies will play its album release show on Friday, April 19, 9 p.m. at Bug Jar, 219 Monroe Avenue. - CITY


Kick Out the Rocks - The Dirty Pennies (3/24/17)



The Dirty Pennies formed in 2012 when Ryan Klem and Lucas Howe came together to breathe new life into the Rochester, New York music scene. The two hashed out songs with mean gutbucket guitar riffs, addictive driving drums, and folk style singing for a few years before gaining the attention of Joe Mungo in 2015. The three members form a unique sonic experience comprised of high energy Garage Rock, a healthy dose of Indie Rock vibes, and just the right amount of Blues. The band is currently performing and touring in support of their latest EP released in April 2019.

Band Members