"Top 5 Hottest Albums of the Year"

Arizona Independent Music Scene Magazine

January 2022

Written By: Jen Phillips

#2: Harmonies from the Hamper - by Dirty Laundry

Coming in at number two is a local throwback from the punk rock band, Dirty Laundry. Harmonies from the Hamper is a limited edition box set that features all of the bands music on three CD’s, plus they included a bunch of other goodies!

Dirty Laundry had a revolving door of members throughout their career, including members from Numbers On Napkins, who ranked in the number three spot this year with the release of their final album, NON Essentials. NoN’s drummer, Tad Gurthman, was a part of the bands last lineup, and plays drums on a handful of tracks. NoN’s bassist and co-frontman, Chase Stain, is the only member of Dirty Laundry that was a part of the original lineup, as well as the final lineup, and switched roles throughout the bands career, usually playing bass, but also spending a year as the bands guitarist. Stain was also the lead vocalist on many tracks, although the band had several other lead vocalists, including Marcus Looman who was the first member to step foot into the role, and J-Sin Daily who was the lead vocalist during the tail end of the bands career.

Harmonies from the Hamper contains over three hours of music, and shows how much the band progressed throughout their history. The bands early material had a very raw punk rock sound, and although the recording quality is rough, the music has a genuine punk feeling to it, and I understand why Dirty Laundry had such a strong and loyal fan base in the 90’s and early 2000’s. The band formed in 1993, and released two EP’s and a live album in the first two years. As the band continued to grow and change members, their sound started to change as well, and they started playing more skate punk and pop punk. In 1997, when Dirty Laundry released their second full length, bassist Chase Stain ended up becoming the bands full time lead vocalist. Prior to the release, Stain shared the role as lead vocalist with Brandon (B-Hound) Jamison, who sang flat in a style that was similar to something like Ben Weasel from Screeching Weasel and Fat Mike from NOFX. When Stain took over as lead vocalist, the bands music also changed as well, becoming much more hardcore punk, although they also continued playing pop punk and skate punk tunes as well. Stain’s shout style vocals displayed anger and frustration, and the band shines during the late 90’s.

The strongest period of the band was during the early 2000’s, when they released a Christmas album featuring several catchy pop punk tunes that are true punk rock Christmas songs. The Christmas songs are very comical, starting off with the song, “I Caught Santa Claus Fucking my Dog”, and the title really says it all. “Christmas Eve on the Drunken Sea” is a unique and simple tune that sounds like something you would hear while riding Pirates of the Caribbean during the holiday season. “The Night Before Christmas in South Phoenix” is a hilarious punk rock song that features lyrics that are a poor man’s version of “The Night Before Christmas”. “The Night Santa Got a D.U.I.” is a poppy punk track that tells a comical tale of Santa getting arrested for D.U.I. on Christmas Eve, and “Stuffing my Stocking with a Lump of Coal” is the only song on the Christmas themed portion of the album that doesn’t focus on humor, and has romantic lyrics about the struggles of touring throughout the year and coming home to that special someone on Christmas.

The box set also has several unreleased tracks from Dirty Laundry that the band planned to release on a full length album, and those songs have the best production quality, as well as a more commercial friendly sound. You can really tell how much Dirty Laundry progressed when you hear how the band sounds at the end of their career, and the lead and backup vocals are very polished, featuring melodic harmonies that are well executed. The songs are catchy and poppy, and force you to tap your foot as they dig into your brain and get stuck in a loop.

The music is great, and it’s also great to hear a bit of local history. Dirty Laundry was active between 1993 and 2002, and it was a wonderful experience to listen to a popular local band from a time long ago. Dirty Laundry formed two years before I was born, and I had never heard of the band until I got the box set, and it gave me a new appreciation for Arizona’s local underground punk scene.

Another thing that was great about the Harmonies from the Hamper box set was the collection of assorted items that the band included. In addition to three CD’s, the box set also includes an official biography of the band that was written by Chase Stain. The bio is extremely interesting, and Stain includes various stories of how band members came and went, and talks about the assorted shows that the band performed over the years. The bio is a great story, and it also contains several photo’s of the band, as well as old concert flyers, helping to paint a picture of the local punk scene years ago.

The box set also contains a discography booklet with information about all of the bands releases throughout their career, a booklet that contains detailed information about each of the band members throughout their history, a booklet filled with song lyrics for all of the tracks, a booklet with album and recording credits, as well as promotional posters, stickers, and more!

The Phoenix based independent record label, Bad Stain Records, released Harmonies from the Hamper in early 2021, and made the box set a limited edition release. Bad Stain Records only pressed 2,000 copies of the box set, and spanned the release over five pressings. The first pressing is limited to 100 copies, and each copy is hand numbered. The second pressing is 200 copies, third has 300 copies, and fourth has 400 copies, and each copy from each pressing is individually hand numbered. The fifth and final pressing is 1,000 copies. The fact that the box set is a special collector’s edition release with a limited pressing is the perfect way to release the box set, because it stays true to the bands punk rock beliefs. All of the bands previous albums were also limited edition releases and have been out of print since the early 2000’s. Dirty Laundry also refused to allow any digital distribution for their music in the past, so Harmonies from the Hamper is the first time that fans have been able to listen to the bands music in decades. Dirty Laundry did permit their entire catalog of music to be released digitally with the release of the box set, so fans can now finally download or stream songs from the band at various sites ranging from Spotify to I-Tunes for the first time ever!

Harmonies from the Hamper is an album that anyone who supports the local music scene will enjoy. Pick up a copy fast, because it’s only a matter of time before the box set will sell out!