Casual Victim Pile

Hometown SXSW showcasing sampler

Casual Victim Pile
Photo by John Anderson

Dikes of Holland

SXSW showcase: Wednesday, March 17, Headhunters, 12:30am

Matador Records co-owner Gerard Cosloy didn't hesitate when asked about the impetus for his Red River sampler, Casual Victim Pile.

"There was a particular moment in 2008, probably after seeing Dikes of Holland play too many shows in front of too tiny of crowds," he told the Chronicle (see "Slanted & Enchanted," Music, Jan. 22). "I had this gnawing feeling that someone needed to take a snapshot of this before it isn't here anymore."

Dikes of Holland's live shows have that effect on people. They're a psychotic merry-go-round of skeletal No Wave, led by a rotating cast of singers – Trey Reimer, John Paul Bohon, and Chris Stephenson – trading duties on guitar, bass, and drums, without ever missing a beat. Imagine the three-pronged attack of early Sonic Youth paired with the post-punk psychosis of Aussies the Birthday Party and the Scientists. Then there's vixen Liz Herrera, whose squalling theatrics and occasional vocals add a strange otherness to the procession.

"We're pretty used to playing to nobody," Bohon relates over a roundtable discussion at Shangri-La. "But that's not why we do it."

"We give the same set at practice," echoes Reimer. "We just like to play music."

In fact, Dikes of Holland, which formed out of the ashes of local instrumental noise-rock outfit Fire vs. Extinguisher, never really separates itself from the music. With the exception of multi-instrumentalist Phillip Dunne, the quintet shares a home in Southeast Austin that also serves as the band's rehearsal space and studio. DOH self-recorded its Casual Victim Pile cut, Reimer's "Little City Girl," along with a split 7-inch with Oklahoma's the Mean Spirits and a new single, "Into the Ditches" b/w "Church on Fire." An LP is scheduled for April on local indie label Sundae Records.

"I've noticed that riff ideas travel between the three us," muses Stephenson. "It kind of gets batted around, and I think that's what helps unify our sound."

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