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Boston, Massachusetts, United States | SELF

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | SELF
Band Rock Punk




"Dead Cats Dead Rats on TBLMS"

The Who. Pink Floyd. The Velvet Underground. Sonic Youth. The Dead Kennedys. Mary Tyler Morphine. What do all these bands have in common? Are they the greatest bands of all time?... Well, some of them. Are opiates their drug of choice?... Probably, but that's not it. Hmm... Do they have some of the most badass, bitchin' names of all time? Bingo! However, the names of most of the best bands out there fall considerably short to their impressive body of work like The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Raffi, etc. (and alternatively, shitty bands usually have really sweet names). Which leads us to Dead Cats Dead Rats. The name certainly strikes that perfect balance of poetry, snap and grit. But does the material stack up? With ear catching doses of delicious grunge pop, they definitely pass the test. Also, their drug of choice is Motor Mind often having to split one among each other (such lightweights) to give them the focus to crank out a spicy set. At UNregular, we're damn proud to be their pushermen to fuel their melodious moxie.
So, how did they find the inspiration deep within themselves to brew up such a tasty alias? Well... that was sorta outsourced (not by an Indian guy on Elance). Originally the name came from Rob, close friend of the band, when he was involved in a side project with the guys before the "real" Dead Cats Dead Rats formed. When the "real" but nameless beginnings DCDR started to materialize and the "estranged, lost in its way, pre-pubescent" DCDR fizzled, the boys of what would be known as DCDR needed a new and shiny moniker (did that make any sense?). Falling so deeply, unconditionally and "I want to fuck you so badly" in love with the name Dead Cats Dead Rats, the three boys batted their eyelashes at Rob to charm their way into having it for the new band. Being a real mensch, Rob allowed them to take it as long as they fucked it so gently. But don't feel too bad for him, his name making savvy delivered an equally tasty zinger for his own band, Gallow Hounds. He even came up with "Rocket Seed" and "Coil Eyes" when the band desperately needed a humdinger shortly before releasing new tracks (is he their Randy Fitzsimmons?).

As far as a crazy gig they once had, one night they were in Cranston, Rhode Island at a divey club that could have easily been a former prostitution ring. Everyone there, dawning hulky suits with names like Jimmy, Tony and Mario, seemed to have some kind of tie to the mob. As the guys were getting ready to play their set, they waited behind a screen on stage to a DVD playing a live concert of Creed. That's right, a huge, larger than life, highly magnified, mirror imaged crotch of Scott Stapp greeted them for a long while before they were unveiled before the crowd. If that doesn't loosen you up, then that's probably a good thing.
Enough of all this peripheral, non-essential talk... onto the music. DCDR rocked the confines of the UNregular studio on Thursday. A near studio quality, polished live sound but still evoking the ambiance of a raw, sweaty basement with some people moshing, some puking, some doing both (in the best sense of it). These guys aren't too mighty to not talk openly about their influences, the sound they're trying to achieve and a little pigeonholing from time to time (not the sex act). They half-jokingly admitted the only bands they knew were Nirvanna, Misfits, The Living End and Queens of the Stone Age. Their material is a little dark but not too maudlin (SAT WORD FTW!). It has angsty vibe but not suicidal. It's spirited in the way that ACDC might be shouting about destruction, catastrophes and over-hyped tropical storms but are still super pumped about it. It'll all make sense once you press play to "No Money No Honey" underneath.
Even though the music is aggressively upbeat, Matt (Guitar and Vocals) admits that a few playful shades of stalkerdom may insinuate itself lyrically during an eerie spell (a light blend of There's Something About Mary and Cape Fear). He may write the lyrics but the three of them hash out the musicality of the songs. Sometimes they strike gold with Chris (Bass) arranging a wicked chord progression or riff, Travis (Drums) laying down nasty beat and Matt crooning melodies. Other times they know when the muse isn't speaking to them and they crack open a sixer from the fridge. When asked if songs are ever created independently from the group, Matt explained quite aptly (if I do say so myself) that if they were, it wouldn't be the Dead Cats Dead Rats sound. Letting all the members play a role from start to finish gives it their signature touch. To be finessed by that sensual caress, I'd recommend checking out this new untitled track below.
Check out their album, Monsters, which they recorded in an shocking 3 days (Motor Mind?). It's got 10 scrumptiously punchy tracks. They also have lots of new, unreleased material, so definitely check them out live. I salute these boys since they take their music higher... to a place where blind men see. - Unregular Radio

"CD Review - Dead Cats Dead Rats - Riff"

I was asked by Vince from Studs & Punks if I could help him out by reviewing a CD for him as he had a stack building up and didn't to get too far behind.

So a jiffy bag arrived through the post containing the aforementioned CD a few days later.

As I always do with CD's from bands I do not know anything about I put the CD in to the PC, popped on the head phones and wondered what was I about to hear?

What ever I may have thought it might be, it certainly wasn't what I got. So having been taken aback by the first track I proceeded to listen to the rest of the CD full of anticipation. With my curiosity well and truly peeked I went a did a bit of digging and found out that DEAD CATS DEAD RATS are a 3 piece from North Shore, Massachusetts.
They are not an out and out punk band. In fact they seem to frequent that hinterland between ROCK, GRUNGE, GARAGE & PUNK with emphasis more toward the GRUNGE.

They obviously draw their influences from a range of sources you can hear concepts that lean heavily toward Nirvana, but there are touches of Drop Kick Murphys, Josh Homme, and listen heard enough and you can pick The Rembrandts and The Fratellis.

The CD opens with SHIPWRECK(1:57) a fast paced song with a rumbling bass line and driving drum beat over which are layered some nice jangly guitar sound. An angsty vocal delivery for the verse is countered with a slightly more melodic vocal during the chorus.

The second track CHUNCKY(2:11) takes the foot of the gas a little in terms of pace, but is a piece of pure grunge. The vocal delivery of the verse is softer but cometh the chorus cometh the angst but controlled angst as it would be all too easy to slip in to full on screamo mode.

Next comes SUBTERRANEAN(2:52) a bit Queens of The Stone Age (particularly the intro) meets Nirvana. An urgent bass line coupled with a simple drum beat provides the foundation for overlayed guitars, providing the back drop for a vocal that talks of the wish to live in a hole in the ground after being made crazy by the loss of his lady.

YEAH YEAH YEAH(1:57) follows and is another full on grunge laden tune. Clever of use of time signatures means you can't take the song for granted, you have to listen, and coupled with the angry vocal makes it a slightly uncomfortable experience. So far my favourite track.

MISTER MISFIT(2:11) changes the mood with its more melodic rock n roll based motif and upbeat vocal.

JUNGLE CARPET(1:46) then it’s as you were with an oft repeated guitar/bass riff, simple thumping drum beat and angst laden vocal.

SIT ON MY FACEBOOK(2:12) an intriguing title. An intriguing song. The harsh slightly discordant intro sets the tone and the jangling guitar sound adds added urgency. Another fairly pacey number driven forward by pumping drum and bass.

HOOK(2:32) I love the deep over driven bass sound used on this song which with the rich dirty grungy guitar sound paints a very bleak framework for the lyrics to sit on and as the topic of the song is heroin and addiction (or at least appears to be). DARK and DELICIOUS.

and finally:

The band leaves us with FRITTER BLUES(1:44) a piece of deep fried southern blues with a side order of grungy rock. I'm particularly partial to the layered vocal which has faint touches of The Fratellis about it. They say you should leave the best 'til last and this is certainly true in this case as for me this is my track of the album.

If I have a criticism its to do with the CD's packaging and although there is a Jewel Case the inserts don't exactly set the senses a fire, and where the front insert has been cut the first letters of the various titles etc have been all but obliterated. I DO APPRECIATE that producing a CD is not a cheap affair and bands do look for ways to keep the cost down. Also I do like to see a lyric sheet as my ears aren't what they once were. You may think this a bit petty, but certainly for the next release I would suggest something to think about.

I notice that this is the bands second album so I would be interested in taking a listen to the first one.

Respectfully Submitted By
A Man Called Moose - Studs and Punks

"Up and Autumn!"

North Shore scuzz trio Dead Cats Dead Rats have been wrecking rooms all year with their fitful grunge punk, and we'll finally have a souvenir once they self-release their nine-song debut, Riff. DCDR sound like a gnarled mix of '80s Northwest noisemongers like Tad and the Wipers with speed-crazed, rubber-band vocals that haven't really been touched by anyone since Bad Brains. - The Boston Phoenix

"Bedroom Community"

Okay, so Dead Cats Dead Rats are not actually from Boston. In this instance, both band and city benefit from a mild skewing of the truth. As those of us who hail from our fair metropolis's numerous satellite communities can attest, no one outside this state knows what you're talking about if you tell them you're from Everett, or Quincy.

So as a nation-trotting rock-and-roll crime spree, Dead Cats Dead Rats — who play the Middle East on Wednesday — spare themselves a lot of hassle by identifying themselves as Hub denizens on their MySpace page. Besides, why should we let the North Shore claim them just because that's where they sleep most of the time?

"When I was searching for bands to play with on tour, I would type in 'Atlanta,' or whatever, and a few would come up," Matt Reppucci explains between bites of a burger at Charlie's Kitchen in Harvard Square. "Nobody searching for a band in Boston would type in 'Middleton' or 'Boxford.' And all our shows are in Boston, anyways."

Punk shows at the Gloucester Artspace — where vox/geet dude Reppucci and bassist Chris Wolz first encountered drummer Travis Tenney — ended for good a few years ago. Since then, DCDR haven't noticed much of a North Shore scene apart from cover bands lurking in Beverly and Salem.

"For the most part, it's not even worth it to play up there," comments Reppucci. "Right now, we get a lot more people here than up there, and it's just a 20-minute drive."

I don't get the first part of that. Almost every review of their much lauded, self-released Riff (2009) lazily namechecks Nirvana. What those reviews are trying to say is: DCDR play dynamic garage pop with a healthy portion of brooding. You'd think kids in the suburbs would be all over it.

Well, their loss is Boston's gain. DCDR's gleefully acidic gnarly jams strike a pleasant balance between punk abandon and songcraft while waxing thoughtful on such topics as pirates and murder. Consider them architects of anthems for anyone who likes to tell hilarious anecdotes ending with trips to the emergency room and/or prison.

Reppucci and Wolz have collaborated on numerous projects since the tender age of about 16 — and that includes time at UMass Amherst. But it wasn't until the summer of '07, when Reppucci began his post-graduation trajectory and Wolz wrapped up his collegiate career, that DCDR officially commenced. With their original drummer still at college in Florida, they could perform only a smattering of shows during school breaks.

"Another reason for that," recalls Wolz, "was we were busy recording CDs, which we would promote as much as possible when we weren't playing out, because we couldn't play out. So we recorded a ton early on. Which, I don't know, is that a bad thing? A good thing?"

Well, a far more common scenario for new bands is playing so many vbad shows before they get their act together that no one's paying attention by the time they're worth listening to. So perhaps DCDR were wise to spend their formative period in the studio. They also continue to live with their 'rents, and they use Tenney's mom's basement for a practice space.
"My mom is all about it," says Tenney, with a grin. "She loves the random kids coming through the house. She says it's like the house is alive!"

Although they owe their nomenclature to the Doors, DCDR do not consider Morrison and company influences, and neither did they ever intend to become a Doors cover band. Not that suburban Boston couldn't use a few more cover bands . . . right?

"I call bullshit on bands with a list of influences on MySpace that you have to scroll down," Wolz declares. "A lot of the time, once I've listen to them, out of the 200 bands they listed, I know they're really only influenced by two."

Reppucci: "Yeah, it's like, ooooh, you listed Captain Beefheart because he's supposed to be cool, but no one really likes that fucking guy. At least, I don't."

Wolz continues, "Or some hardcore metal band with Joni Mitchell listed in their influences. It's like, c'mon." - The Boston Phoenix

"Jewel Case Reviews"

Dead Cats Dead Rats were recently nominated for the Boston punk category of the annual Boston Phoenix Best Music Poll, a poll that offers great recognition and exposure for local acts. Hailing from just outside the city, the trio treks to and from various bars and clubs in the metro area, playing to crowds big or small and having fun doing it. Rocking out and packing up for the haul on many a late night, these guys are hereby judged worthy as a best Boston act… not to mention their music is slammin’. Riff is the band’s second full-length album and features more of the grunge and punk sounds heard in their self-titled debut. They’ve probably heard enough Nirvana comparisons by now, and those are undeniable, but there’s more to their essence. Like before, most of the songs are not more than two minutes long and are played with a relative urgency, much like early Wildhearts stuff – it rocks! There aren’t any lulls, and it’s a rich, full sound with prominent bass tone (“Chuncky” is a song title sure enough). The bass, as a second guitar, really helps make this band what they are. “Jungle Carpet” is perhaps my favorite song with a trivial-yet-cool drum intro, classic raspy vocals, and dueling guitar and bass. There’s even a jammy bridge towards the end that defies tradition for their standards (they’re not really the jam types). “Fritter Blues” is kind of the black swan of Riff. It’s a bluesy/rockabilly rock number; totally unexpected. I like it as the last song of the album. Frankly, I’ll be baffled if Dead Cats Dead Rats don’t receive the title for best Boston punk act, but either way they are not to be overlooked. Win or lose, do yourself a favor and check them out. -

"Album review: Dead Cats Dead Rats - Dead Cats Dead Rats"

The place is dark, poorly lit. A few townies sit hunched over at the bar cradling their pint glasses. On the floor there are a few interlopers bearing flannel shirts and tattered jeans amongst a standing, waiting crowd of friends and random comers. Cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon are nursed inside while outside people smoke cigarettes waiting for the next rockers to go on. This is the scene.

Dead Cats Dead Rats (yeah, you know, like The Doors tune) hail from the North Shore of Massachusetts, and while just a trio, they pack a sick, grungy sound that would indicate they’ve been doing this thing for awhile. How long have they been together? Don’t know; they have just the self-titled release and a quality music video for “Marla” which can be viewed at their web site and YouTube. They have also been esteemed as contestants for the highly-renowned WBCN Rock N’ Roll Rumble.

The band’s sound is a concoction of grunge, punk, and garage rock. Singer/guitarist Matt Reppucci’s delivery and angst is much like that of Kurt Cobain – a little raspy, a little screechy at times. This fits the hasty Misfits-esque riffing of songs that average about two minutes in length. It honestly wouldn’t be the same if the songs were any longer. They need to be quick and in your face to be effective. And there aren’t any solos. It’s just rock, a lot of it really catchy, and there literally isn’t enough time to squeeze in fancy doodling.

What I like most about Dead Cats’ style is that the bass is so prominent. This isn’t to say it’s the focal point, but it’s not muddled out by the guitar and drums like so many bands unfortunately do to the instrument. The bass is not just a foundation here. It’s tasty and heavy in numbers like “Donkey Lips” and “Cross Bones” and there’s tapping or something to begin “Marla.” Both guitar and bass together make for that grungy, dirty tone.

Of all the bands in the Boston area, Dead Cats Dead Rats are one of my favorites. Make them one of your’s. - wow, you're tall

"Dead Cats Dead Rats - Boston Band Briefs"

Lying somewhere between punk, hard rock, and even at times metal, Dead Cats Dead Rats are a musical force to be reckoned with. They have all the trappings of your prototypical punk act—raucous vocals, crunchy guitars, growling bass, reckless drumming—but they distinguish themselves from the pack simply by doing what they do very well. Their sound harkens back to days of moshpits, bottom-shelf vodka, and getting a ride to band practice from your Mom. Their tracks are largely straight-ahead punk rockers like “Yellow Fever,” which manages to get the job done just under the two-minute mark. Similarly with the whining guitar and Nirvana-tinged vocals of “Donkey Lips.”

That is not to say that DCDR is averse to stretching out a bit; take “Concrete Pillow,” which utilizes to perfection a guitar-vox unison line as well as—out of nowhere—an honest-to-God coda. Not the kind of stuff you usually see among the Fender Squier set. Or “Helevator,” whose rumbling bass opening could have come straight out of a Primus jam session. Granted, like most punk acts committed to the cause, DCDR doesn’t have all the diversity of sound you might like to hear, if only for a palate cleanser; please apply elsewhere for your catchy hooks and acoustic balladry. But Dead Cats Dead Rats clearly has a firm handle on the punk-rock trio sound, and from the looks of it, they’re not going to give it up without a fight.

- Knocks From The Underground

"Dead Cats Dead Rats - Riff"

If you miss Nirvana and have ADD –who doesn’t? – check out Dead Cats Dead Rats’ latest album, Riff. The longest of the nine tracks clocks in at 2:52, and it all sounds more like 1989 Seattle than 2010 Massachusetts.

The first five tracks are flat out good. They’re so good, in fact, that it takes a few laps around the album before you catch your breath and realize that the second half drops off a bit. Still, I’ve been listening to the album nonstop for a week now and I’m not skipping any tracks.

Track four, “Yeah Yeah Yeah,” starts with one of the catchiest hooks I’ve heard in a while, a lazy little backbeat job that’s perfectly placed to follow the howling crescendo at the end of track three, “Subterranean.”

Track two, “Chuncky” is arguably the best of the album. Opening with the line, “Radio wouldn’t play my song,” it does the soft/hard slow/fast dynamic to perfection, and coupled with Matt Reppucci’s screaming vocals, it’s easy to see why the name “Cobain” comes up in a lot of Dead Cats Dead Rats reviews.

Tracks six and seven are the weakest on the album, but not without value. They just ramble a little and aren’t as memorable as the rest of the album, which closes with a nice little bluesy number titled, appropriately, “Fritter Blues.”

Dead Cats Dead Rats has a lot of talent and a great sound. Since their last release, they’ve gotten tighter and more polished without sacrificing any style or energy. Here’s hoping they keep doing that. - !Upstarter


Known as the band with a knack for giving free CDs at shows, Dead Cats Dead Rats are trying to keep punk alive. That’s admirable and all, but their latest, Monsters, proves that they’re a little too good to keep it up. What I mean is that the first song, “Eventually the Monsters Will Win,” has the fuzzy, rapid guitars and wailing that are the staples of 21st-century punk. Then, the band accidentally reveals themselves to be good musicians and they start sounding—forgive me—like indie rockers. The last track, “Cross Bones,” is an incredibly solid folk song.

Monsters is good, but it’s like DCDR are secretly trying to tunnel out from under punk. The problem is they’d be less ironic if they actually pulled a Steve McQueen, because there’s no room in alt rock for titles like “Pillage the Village” and “Plaidypus.” There’s nothing wrong with being trans-genred, but this is an instance where they should embrace that they’re an indie band in a punk band’s body. - The Weekly Dig

"[awesome video alert] Dead Cats Dead Rats "No Money No Honey""

It’s been an eventful week for DEAD CATS DEAD RATS – the most dangerous entertainers to emerge from North of Boston since John Cena.

Last Wednesday, they collected both the honor of the 2011 Best Music Poll’s Best Boston Punk Act and from us a semi-coherent explanation as to why the Swaggerin’ Growlers were flaunting the defaced local punk trophy all over the Brighton Music Hall and internet).

Within the past two-days-ish, DCDRs debuted what is certainly the greatest running-based music video since Wax’s “California.” (Editor's Note: Maybe). But unlike that buzz-cut of yore, this clip for the exquisitely explosive “No Money No Honey” did not require someone to be set on fire to compensate for a crappy song. Instead, it chronicles two gumshoes who play by their own rules on a quest to bring the putative “Chrysler Killer” to justice. Think Law & Order: SVU meets "Porky’s" meets Scooby-Doo, except with more running. It’s also got the first utterance of “Jeez Louise” I’ve heard since the last time I talked to my mom.

If loud, aggressive rock and roll is your thing, consider catching DCDRs Saturday at the Dodge Street Bar & Grill in Salem and/or July 1 at P.A.’s Lounge in Somerville. These shall be the most kickass DCDRs shows since, uh, the previous DCDRs shows. That is to say, they will kick lots of ass. - The Boston Phoenix


2011 - "Things That Go Bump In The Night" from NOW DOVES FLY HERE compilation

2010 - Monsters

2009 - Riff

2008 - Dead Cats Dead Rats

2007 - Demo



As the sun began to rise over the ravaged waste lands, a loud crack of thunder shot through the ground. The prince of darkness rose from his long slumber and gazed into the sky with eyes of fury and blood lust. "ON THIS CURSED DAY I SHALL CREATE THE GREATEST ROCK BAND OF ALL TIME." Three wise men wandered through the shattered reality of desert and came upon the demon "YOU THREE THERE, YOU SHALLEST SINGITH AND PLAYETYH THE GUITAR BETTER THAN EVEN THE HOLLIEST OF PLAYERS, AND YOU, BASS BETTER THAN ANY MAN WITH FINGERS EVER TO PLAY, AND YOU, YOU SHALL PLAY THE MOST BONE CURDLING OF DRUMS, YOU THREE WILL BLOCK THE SUN ITSELF WITH YOUR ROCK DAMNATION, AND YOU THREE SHALL BE DOTHED DEAD CATS DEAD RATS, THE MOST RAVAGED AND UNCLEAN OF ALL CREATURES" Then just as fast as the mighty demon came he left with an ear piercing laugh.

2011 BEST PUNK ACT - Boston Phoenix Best Music Poll
2010 PUNK ACT OF THE YEAR - Boston Music Awards

Nominated for 2011 Boston Music Awards Punk Act Of The Year, winner announced November 20th.