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Dirty Three is an instrumental rock band, formed in 1993, in Melbourne, Australia by Warren Ellis (violin), Mick Turner (electric guitar), and Jim White (drums).
Their music has elements of folk melody, rock energy, and 20th century classical music. Their early albums offered many aggressive, ferociously emotional songs, but since their fourth album, Ocean Songs, Dirty Three have gradually shifted their focus towards a slower, arguably more melancholy, style of playing.
Dirty Three have released albums on Touch & Go Records and have toured with Sonic Youth, Pavement, Throwing Muses, Cat Power, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Devendra Banhart and Shannon Wright to name just a few.
Since 1996, Ellis has been a member of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Ellis and Turner have both released solo albums. In addition, Turner and White have released several EPs as The Tren Brothers, and appear as backing musicians on albums by Cat Power and Bonnie 'Prince' Billy. Turner also runs the band's own record label Anchor & Hope. In 1999, Dirty Three joined forces with Low to record an In The Fishtank session for Konkurrent records; the result has been called "some of the best material either unit has produced."
In late 2005, the band released their seventh major album, Cinder, which, though following in the spirit of Ocean Songs, drastically diverges from all of their previous works on several points. It is the first Dirty Three album since Horse Stories to feature vocals (those of Chan Marshall aka Cat Power and Sally Timms of The Mekons), if only on two of nineteen songs. The songs are also generally much shorter and more concise than their early work, which allows for the rather large number of tracks. Perhaps most notably, instead of the usual recording live technique, they opted, for the first time in their career, to record in the studio individually.