Joe Sutkowski (Dirt Buyer)’s new album is a documentation of making it to the other
side. Sutkowski grew up in New Jersey, and although he lives in Brooklyn now, he remains “an emo kid at heart,” garnering inspiration from bands like My Chemical Romance and Muse, the latter of whose theatrical, dramatic performances inspired the band’s own vocal-forward,soaring takes. Initially working together as a duo while Sutkowski and Ruben Radlauer(Model/Actriz) were at school in Berklee, the band’s self-titled 2019 debut album was recorded on an IPhone in their practice room on just drums and guitar, and the quietly striking, nuanced stylings earned them accolades far beyond the “fake record label” the two made up to originally release their music.
The band’s new album, Dirt Buyer II (their first on Bayonet), was recorded in February
2020, and represents a foray into heavier material that marks a deeper shift for the band. Now working as a trio, Sutkowski is flanked by Tristan Allen on bass (who is a puppeteer by trade building marionettes for their own solo project), and Mike Costa on drums, a fellow Berklee grad who cut his teeth playing in bands across Boston including past collaborations with Sutkowski. Half-recorded while the band was on tour with Surf Curse, the record finds Sutkowski reaching out for places, people and beliefs to ground him. Reeling from the aftermath of a short, intense relationship, he wrote the songs that would become Dirt Buyer II while his bandmates were out
and he was bouncing from house to house on tour.