Allyson Baker doesn't scare easily. Back in the '90s, she was sneaking into Dwarves shows and frequenting mosh pits before she was barely out of junior high; by age of 17, she was playing guitar for some of Toronto's most notorious punk and hardcore bands (Teen Crud Combo R.I.P.), before leaving her friends and family behind in 2000 to shake some action in San Francisco. And yet, for all her apparent fearlessness, Allyson is very much haunted by forces beyond her control. Dirty Ghosts may be her new band, but it's the five-years-in-the-making product of a habit she just can't quit, a sound and vision thatdespite numerous obstacles along the wayjust had to be unleashed.
True to their name, Dirty Ghosts rose from the ashes of San Francisco sludge-blues combo Parchman Farm in 2006; as an antidote to that bands wall of squall, Baker and fellow Parchman Farm exile Carson Binks (another Toronto expat) launched Dirty Ghosts as a stripped-down duo, writing rhythmically driven new songs built around intricate drum loops pieced together by Aesop Rock. And as if this relaxed, more experimental ethic wasn't a radical enough shift for these life-long punk-rockers, for the first time in her musical career, Allyson was forced to add vocalist to her rsum.
"Everything that happened with this band was totally out of necessity," she relates. "Post-Parchman Farm, Carson and I had spent about a year looking around for a singer. And then I felt like I was going to lose Carson and the whole thing if I didn't decide to just do it myself. I had all the songs and vocals in my head, I just didn't want to do itthe idea of being a singer just wasnt appealing to me at all! But then I was just like, 'Fuck it.'"