D.C.-area punk trio Dudes has been around for barely a month, with only two shows under its belt. But it’s already got a debut album, and it decided on a title that takes a sardonic jab at its own youth: The full-length is called Greatest Hits, and it came out just last week on Bandcamp.
Guitarist and singer Francy Graham, who plays with Chain & the Gang, and bassist Laurie Spector, formerly the drummer of Foul Swoops, have collaborated in the past, and they’re both longtime friends with drummer Luke Reddick. One night they all convened at a show, talked shop, and made tentative plans to record. “We were like ‘Lets play together,'” Graham says. “Then I didn’t think we actually would, but we did, and it ended up being really great.”
With Greatest Hits, Dudes makes its formal entree into a D.C. punk scene that’s getting younger, scrappier, and more open-minded than it’s been in a long time, led by bands like Priests, Foul Swoops, and the rotating, frequently teenage members of Ian Svenonius‘ Chain & the Gang. The record is punk in attitude, but Graham wanted it to toy with a variety of genres and sounds, too. She even calls the record’s quasi-centerpiece “Church Youth Group“—-with its distorted organ and pleas to “repent your sins”—-Dudes’ stoner-metal song.
When laying down tracks for Greatest Hits, Graham, Spector, and Reddick embraced a sense of sloppy improvisation. They built the minimalist strut of album closer “Don’t Give” on the spot. (Its lyrics sound thrown together, too, in the punkest of ways. Reddick deadpans: “Walkin’ around town like, I don’t give a fuck. Walkin’ all around like, I don’t give a fuck. Starin’ at the wall like, I don’t give a fuck. … Oh man, I don’t give one fuck.”) And while the band hasn’t gotten many chances to play for an audience yet, Dudes promises to take a similarly flexible approach live. “Lyrically, I think the shows are going to be different,” says Graham. “In that way we try and keep it loose.”
As of now, the band has no grand plans for the future other than a few shows here and there. Geographically, they’re spread out: Graham lives in Baltimore, Spector is currently based in Bethesda, and Reddick is finishing up high school in Virginia. But, just like their approach to recording and performing, it’s all subject to change.
“We just hope to keep making tunes that make people feel weird,” says Graham.