BEST ROCK BAND (2001)
Too pigheaded to admit that they are no match against Yahweh, too popular to play the basement shows that made them legendary, and probably too proud (or punk) to accept this award from your favorite alt-weekly behemoth, Dillinger Four are more themselves than ever in 2001. They teach the children well, announcing on last year's Versus God (Hopeless Records), "We are your slap in the face," while suggesting that we buy nothing rather than buy into nothingness--e.g., consumerism, coolness, conservatism. Organized religion can't be far down their hit list: They named the album for when their tour trailer lost an axle in front of a church on Sunday. But mostly they fight the Bush-Clinton-Bush "end of history" as assiduously as Lifter Puller once fought the end of the evening. In other words, D4's sense of purpose is as unflagging (and fun) as their sense of scream-real-loud pop-punk. And the impossibly tight live version--bared flesh and all--has justifiably endeared them to seemingly every punk on the planet, including Green Day, Maximum Rocknroll, Japanese fans, your cousin in Toledo, Epitaph Records (who may sign D4), and every last corner of the stratified local scene. Call them the uniters, not dividers, of a forgotten culture suddenly feeling its oats.