Introducing: Dirty Rivals

There’s probably not too many cooler places to be in a rock band than Florida (at least to this writer sitting in the quaint English countryside). And South Florida band Dirty Rivals absolutely ooze in coolness with their high-energy hard rock meets alternative rock with drizzles of indie influences, which they describe as “energetic, aggressive at times, and catchy.”

The quartet of singer/guitarist Jacob Maicol, guitarist Nelson Brockwell, drummer Steven Salguero and bassist Ant Corredor formed just over two years ago, but have only been public for around a year. The band actually started the month before the pandemic began, which probably wasn’t ideal. Jacob and Steven knew each other from previous bands, started writing together and instantly clicked. They met Nelson through what they describe as “Tinder for musicians” then completed the lineup with Ant, who Steven met at another band’s show.

On the sound they’ve honed since, Jacob tells us: “Energetic, sleek, aggressive, riffy rock and roll with catchy melodies and a modern twist. We’re a rock band at heart, and it’s hard to really put our sound in a specific box. We are musically versatile on the individual level, so we have a lot of different styles of rock that kind of blend into our sound, including hard rock, alternative rock, indie rock, emo, and even pop.

“We definitely wanted to go for a harder feel while maintaining a polished sound with a scrappier, dirtier attitude. We all have different influences musically that seem to blend pretty well; Nelson grew up on the beach, so his influences have a lot more surf/skate rock – which pertains to the ‘scrappy’ nature of the sound.”

Our latest taster for this is their debut EP Wreck Entertainment, which was released in April. On the record, Jacob says: “The reception for Wreck Entertainment has been pretty great. It’s the five songs that we feel really encompass our sound as a band thus far, and contains a very defined image of our influences. It’s pretty upbeat, and doesn’t really slow down much. We wanted to have an EP and first release that was fast-paced to really show off who we are and catch people’s ears.”

The EP opens up with a building riff in the intro to Wreck, which continues into a smash of guitars and drums. That gives way to a lively opening verse that flows into a catchy chorus which, second time around, drops into a guitar solo. The pace suddenly drops with lighter vocals supported by little drum rolls, before bursting into a final blast of the chorus. Check it out here:

There’s no relenting as it feeds into Nineteen, which opens up with a cool riff and a more laid-back verse supported by stabbing guitars. A second verse ends on big cries of “Even when I’m right, Even when I’m wrong, Even when I’m trying to let go I still hold on.” And it develops into a funky guitar solo, which drops into a final chorus. I KNOW opens up with a seriously cool riff that gives way to Jacob’s engaging vocals supported by stabbing guitars and a noodling lick. It develops into a lively chorus that ends with the opening riff returning, and keep an eye out for a funky little solo later in the track.

That’s followed by their debut single Red, which starts out with a cool riff supported by driving drums. Laid-back vocals take over and intensify as they build to an engaging chorus that features cool harmonic guitars and ends on a big chunky smash of guitar chords. A piercing guitar lick follows the second verse, developing into a raucous conclusion. Check it out here:

The delicious riffing continues unabated to open up the final track Let You Down, which may well be my favourite on the record. The verse features a cool noodling guitar lick, then light vocals build up to what turns out to be a precursor for the chorus, featuring the line “Down, down, afraid to let you down.” The pace drops again in the verse, but this time it kicks into a really catchy chorus that ends in the aforementioned line – which feels really nicely worked. That drops into cool stabbing guitars and a funky little riff then piercing guitars under repeats of “let you down” as it builds into instrumentals that tee up a big final chorus. Give it a listen here:

Dirty Rivals share influences like Foo Fighters, Nothing But Thieves, Royal Blood, Rage Against The Machine and Queens of the Stone Age. But their members bring a range of musical interests: Nelson grew up on reggae and heavy metal, Steven grew up on hard rock, Ant’s got a lot of Flea/Chili Peppers influence, and Jacob grew up on a lot of 70s rock – and his favorite band as a kid was Boston.  

And on what inspires their music, Jacob tells us: “We honestly write about whatever is on our mind at the moment, and what we think will complement the song in the best way. Usually, we start out a song with a riff or musical idea, but also each bring individual ideas at times. It’s a very open-minded writing environment. The more we write music, the more we want to write MORE music. Making music really is an addiction.”

The band is intent on solidifying itself in their local scene, on which they tell us: “The South Florida music scene is great. It’s very tight-knit. There’s a lot of bands that have recently formed who all do shows together and throw house parties and do DIY shows and they’re a lot of fun.”

Dirty Rivals are currently working on recording new music and you’ll be able to catch them playing across Florida, and hopefully beyond very soon.

You can follow Dirty Rivals on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and check out their music on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, Amazon and YouTube.

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