Vegas’ The Fat Dukes evolve on tight new record

It’s close to 6 p.m. on a Tuesday, time for some trash-culture dumpster diving.

The dudes packed into a booth at westside bar O’Aces are epicureans of camp.

They lead the way, expertly.

“I do find that I love to hate things more than I like to love things,” acknowledges Jeremy Brenton, drummer for Vegas alt-everything rockers The Fat Dukes. “Most of the TV shows I watch, I hate them so much that I have fun hating them.”

“Oh, yeah,” seconds singer-guitarist Brent Lynch. “I’ll watch the ‘Real Housewives’ with my wife. ‘I want to murder everyone on this show. When’s the next episode?’ ”

From here, the talk turns to the pleasures and perils of seeing South African hip-hop subverts Die Antwoord on hallucinogens, a revisionist assessment of hair metal and the joys of seeing Corey Feldman’s band (“It was legit one of the best times I’ve had at a live show, maybe in my whole life,” Brenton acknowledges).

The conversation is an encapsulation of The Dukes and, by extension, their music: forever tongue-in-cheek, playfully antagonistic, artfully out there.

Way out there.

All of this is palpable on the band’s awesomely all-over-the-place new record, “A Compendium of Desperation, Morality and (Wiener) Jokes.”

Now, plunging down a rabbit hole of righteous weirdness has always been a part of The Fat Dukes experience, but this time around, there’s a few more things to latch on to during said free fall.

Early on in the band’s career, when they were just a duo consisting of Lynch and guitarist Jarrod Miller, their records were loose pastiches of noise, samples and Butthole Surfers-worthy sonic left turns guaranteed to annoy the neighbors more than setting fire to their front lawn.

The Surfers comparisons are no longer apt — they’ve far outgrown them. But there’s a parallel in the way the Surfers evolved on their 1993 breakout, “Independent Worm Saloon,” keeping their adventurousness intact while grounding it all in more tightly honed songs.

While “Compendium” is still plenty unhinged — and will leave those with polite sensibilities haunted by night terrors — it’s also The Dukes’ most cohesive collection of jams yet.

There are riff-driven ragers with “Guitar Hero” leads (“Whiskey and Bath Water”), proggy instrumental excursions (“Tasteful Ray”), 30-second punk-metal tantrums (“Kodiak Arrest”), Faith No More-esque funk-lite (“Mother of Rhea Pearlman”), harmony-heavy hymnals (“Promise Keepers) and perhaps the most majestic-sounding ode to wife swapping ever (“No Single Man”).

Recorded at L.A.’s Sound of Silence Studios, the album was produced by Deaf Nephews (aka Melvins drummer Dale Crover and Big Business guitarist Toshi Kasai, both of whom play on “Compendium”). Also contributing to the record are Jesus Lizard wild man David Yow (who did the album art as well, a portrait of bassist Jason Lamb) and members of noise rockers Qui.

“With this one, there’s a lot more thought put into it because we had to actually go record somewhere,” explains Lynch, flush with tattoos and facial hair. “So we had to figure out what songs were doing and get them down.”

“The other stuff we just kind of recorded it as we went,” adds Brenton, who also drums in Vegas doom standouts Demon Lung. “This one we had to have it ready so we didn’t make fools of ourselves in front of people that we respect.”

The result is a dense, heavily-textured album.

“We did layers and layers on that thing,” Miller says.

Basically, they took the recording process more seriously than ever.

Everything else?

Not so much.

“We put a lot of thought into stuff, but not the stuff you would think,” Lynch explains. “The thought goes into the dumb stuff.”

Contact Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476. Follow @JasonBracelin on Twitter.

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