-- UPDATE, MARCH 4 2013 --
The Suicide Dolls have just been announced as one of the 24 participants in the 2013 Rock -n- Roll Rumble, a celebration of the Boston Music Scene now in its' 34th year. The nine day fest takes place in Cambridge MA in April, and has had some of Boston's finest perform in past years. Bands like Mission of Burma, The Lemonheads, Til Tuesday, Morphine, Blake Babies, Cave In and The Dresden Dolls have all participated in this most beloved Boston Music festival.
-- DEC 2012 / JAN 2013 UPDATE --
The Suicide Dolls were included in a few Year End 'Best Of' lists in Boston, including The Boston Phoenix, Boston Accents on WFNX Radio, Boston Emissions with Angelle Wood on WZLX, and Mass Ave and Beyond on WZBC. They were also the top pick for many interviewed in WailingCity.com's Year End survey of CT Music, and they were included in the Best of 2012 IN CT by LSG Original on Local Band Review.com.
| | | Mixing noise in with Rock, Punk & Pop structures, drawing influence from bands in scattered genres like post-punk, no-wave, 70s/80s punk, alternative and pop, The Suicide Dolls have worked hard over the years to put their own spin on the classic alternative sound. The band was named 'Best Rock Band' in the state of CT at the CT Music Awards, Held at the Bushnell Theater for the Performing Arts in Hartford on September 12, 2012.
| | | The trio are currently featured on American Laundromat Records latest release, "A Tribute to Repo Man" covering the Circle Jerks anthem 'When the Shit Hits the Fan'. This tribute album to the 1980s cult classic film 'Repo Man' features other artists such as Frank Black (Pixies), Amanda Palmer, Mike Watt (Stooges/Minutemen), Matthew Sweet, Those Darlins, Weekend and more. It was released on September 18th 2012, and has received enthusiastic reviews from blogs like MXDWN.com, Three Imaginary Girls, About.Com, Examiner.com, Stereogum and Sloucher.org. AMP Magazine featured a huge article on this tribute album in December of 2012, and in that same month, the publication published a separate large feature on the Suicide Dolls themselves.
| | | The Suicide Dolls have shared the stage with bands spanning many genres, including:
The Fixx, Jay Reatard, Ceremony, Titus Andronicus, Hospitality, Bear Hands, Exit Music, Dom, Aloke (who went on to form Grouplove), Slam Donahue, Earl Greyhound, Screen Vinyl Image, Radical Dads, White Fence, Grandchildren, Oneida, Goes Cube, Freshkills, the Spores, Martha Wanwright, Kidz in the Hall, The Sound of Urchin, Radar Eyes, Quiet Loudly, Gold Streets and many, many others. The span of genres they can play with is quite large. (Twice in 2012 they were scheduled to support Screaming Females, but Screaming Females canceled both national tours).
| | | On the "Repo Man" Tribute Album:
"A gloriously sleazy gutter-punk-junk version of ‘When The Shit Hits The Fan’ by the Suicide Dolls is a lethargically drawled pleasure."
--Ged Babey, Louder Than War
"The Suicide Dolls take on the most challenging task, in my opinion, by trying to blend both the original punk rock feel of the Circle Jerks' "When The Shits The Fan" with the band's own lounge parody of it. Instead, they change it into an X-style rave up that expresses both the burn out of living in Hollywood along with the energy of hope of moving there in the first place." --Christ Estey, Three Imaginary Girls
"Make me choose three tracks as the best ones in this collection and I’ll go for The Suicide Dolls, Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra and Weekend."
--Sam J. Valdés López, Sloucher.org
"The Suicide Dolls cover the Circle Jerks' "When The Shit Hits The Fan" (which the band performed as a lounge act in the film) in a fuzzed-out approach that sounds almost exactly how I'd expect the Vaselines to take on the punk classic"
-- Ryan Cooper, About.com Guide
| | | The Band recently self-released their new full length album, "Prayers in Parking Lots", which was co-produced by Justin Pizzoferrato, engineer for the likes of Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth, J Mascis and Thurston Moore (solo), and Thurston Moore's new band, Chelsea Light Moving among many others.
It was recorded over 4 days (additional 3 to mix) at Q Division Studios in Boston, MA, where artists like Mission of Burma, Pixies, Aimee Mann, Dropkick Murphys, Franz Ferdinand and Morphine have also recorded.
"Pizzoferrato nails the sound the band is obviously going for, as it conjures the unmistakable influence of their favorite bands. The music has that driving force of You’re Living All Over Me (Dinosaur Jr) and the experimental edge of Daydream Nation (Sonic Youth)." -- Verbicide Magazine
"It’s a confident album with a big, bristling sound: Montavon’s basslines charge along in lockstep with Covey’s pounding drums, while Albano delivers tough guitar riffs that seethe with tension." -- Eric Danton, The Hartford Courant
"The song’s overture ignited with the sounds of thumping, almost tribal drums and a bass that moves like a power forward dribbling a basketball, except the basketball is on fire and made out of lead." (Review of the song "Smash") -- C.D. Di Guardia, Boston Band Crush
"Songs like "Pretty Lie" buck and heave with all the tenacity and grit of Sonic Youth in their prime, with grimy drums pounding away against sludgy, serrated guitars. Singer Michelle Montavon recreates the growling panache of Courtney Love minus the prom dresses, as her revenge-fantasy lyrics add an extra dose of bile to the song's monstrous, dirty presence." -- The Brown Noise
"If one thing were lacking in the general rock genre these days, it is the uniqueness and wholly original sound that can be found in an album like this one."
-- Boston Bloghead
| | | Due to their highly energetic and emotional live sets, the Suicide Dolls have begun generating buzz and great reviews from their strong performances and frequent live shows.
"With virtually no breaks between songs, the Dolls ripped through an almost 45 minute set. I sensed a strong vibe of ‘80s dark wave and ‘90s noise rock in their songs, especially in Albano’s guitar sound, and it gave the Dolls one of the more interesting sounds I’ve heard in awhile."
--Paul J. Comeau, Razorcake
"Stand up and be counted, for what you are about to receive. Gadzooks. It's gigs like this that make us wish we had our own gig rating system... these bands are going to blow your face clean off your head, in the nicest way possible."
--Jay Brietling, Clicky Clicky Music Blog
"Their focus and attention to detail is apparent as they were able to deliver an intense performance, carefully executing with surgical precision." -- Knitting Factory Blog
"The Suicide Dolls mesmerize you with sound, the songs smash into each other and the mood is intense sensory overload...The Connecticut are tight the way a jazz trio can be tight, the way Ornette Coleman can use harmolodics to be tight. They are in process of collapsing and rebuilding as a constant flux and is both exciting and, oddly, a little enervating to watch: the power of the sound seems to be coming from somewhere else, and, like ambient music, you can both drift and be stilled."
--Iman Lababedi, (formerly of Creme Magazine), currently with Rock NYC Live and Recorded
"Live, this band constructs their sets to take you on an emotional journey, a roller coaster of sound! They are GREAT, tried & true, kick-ass pounding, tight as f***, pure rock n roll! "
-- Mark Sheehan, Former Booker for IHEG, Northampton, MA
From Rock to New Wave, Indie to Shoegaze and beyond, The Suicide Dolls' sound has been embraced by many types of music fans. They look forward to spanning as many different genres as they can, one show at a time.
* * * Other accolades throughout 2011/2012 include:
*Successful CMJ showcase in NYC for The Deli Magazine October 2011
*'Artist of the Month' for The Deli Magazine - New England December 2011
*Picked by Verbicide Magazine as one of the Best Unsigned Bands in the country
*'Best New Act of 2011' at the New England Music Awards, held at the Hard Rock Cafe in Boston
*Song "Drive" was used as the soundtrack for an episode of the web-based series Where The Paintball Takes Us
* Songs "Want" and "Shoo" were picked up for the movie 5 Souls, which was shown at the Cannes Film Festival, (among other film festivals)
*Top prize of "Album of the Year" for 'Prayers in Parking Lots' and "Best Alternative Song' for their song "Smash" at the New London, CT Whalie Awards in May 2012 (a local Grammy-type awards show with over 100 bands/artists nominated)
* "Best Rock Band" at the Connecticut Music Awards
*Feature Article in AMP Magazine
* * * The Suicide Dolls have been featured in blogs and publications like The Boston Phoenix, Razorcake, Performer Magazine, Verbicide Magazine, Boston.Com, The Deli, Beneath Everything, Boston Band Crush, Allston Pudding (voted 'best blog' at the Boston Music Awards), CT.Com, the Hartford Courant, and AMP Magazine (among others)
| | | The Band | | |
Brian James Albano: Guitar/Vox
Michelle Montavon: Bass/Vox
Matt Covey: Drums
Ben LaRose: Drums (often subs for Matt)
| | | Very Short BIO | | |
While the Suicide Dolls officially recorded their first 4 song demo in 2003 and another 9 song demo recorded at Semaphore Studios in Chicago, 2005, it wasn't until 2006 that they really became known for their live shows and dedicated work ethic.
Since that time, they have embraced the DIY spirit and have been on a regular schedule of regional shows, with a few national tours under their belts.
They are known in music scenes all over the country for their energetic live shows, their willingness to help other bands, bridging the gap and bringing together different regions and scenes, and for booking exciting shows with interesting lineups for themselves and for others.
" I could do a festival called "Suicide Dolls' Openers Fest" and it would be chock full of incredible breaking bands!"
--Sean Murray, Talent Buyer/Promoter for the I AM FESTIVAL and The Oasis Pub, New London, CT
* * * The band is receiving regular airplay on various radio stations throughout Boston, MA and CT, such as: WFNX, WZBC, WBCN, WZLX, WCNI, WESU, WPKN, WECS, WMWM, and a touch of play on WFMU NJ.
Brian Albano - Guitar and VOX
Michelle Montavon - Bass and Vox
Matt Covey - the drums
--A Tribute To Repo Man--
American Laundromat Records
Released: September 12, 2012
-- New Full Length -- 'Prayers In Parking Lots'
Released: June 28, 2012
2005 - The Suicide Dolls - Recorded at Semaphore Studios,
2007 - Thank You, Trooper! EP
CosmoSingles 2009 - (released by the cosmodemonic telegraph)
CosmoSingles 2010 - (released by the cosmodemonic telegraph)
CosmoSingles 2011 - (released by the cosmodemonic telegraph)
There are approximately 100 internet radio stations that have our songs playing in rotation.
THE SUICIDE DOLLS talk about their album and their improbable wins at local music awards shows where they’re totally out-of-place ultra-cool underdogs
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THE SUICIDE DOLLS talk about their album and their improbable wins at local music awards shows where they’re totally out-of-place ultra-cool underdogs
Tony Shrum December 13, 2012 0
Photo by Meghan Killimade
THE SUICIDE DOLLS
Interview with vocalist/bassist Michelle Montavon and vocalist/guitarist Brian Albano
By Janelle Jones
After speaking with SUICIDE DOLLS bassist/vocalist Michelle Montavon for my piece on the A Tribute To Repo Man record and finally hearing their latest album, Prayers In Parking Lots, I had to talk to her again about her band in detail. So, along with speaking to Michelle I also got to talk to guitarist/vocalist Brian Albanothis time around and had so much fun in the process. Two old-school-punk, hardworking, DIY rockers who also play with drummer Matt Covey (SHAI HULUD), we discussed their improbable (!) wins at local music awards shows where they’re totally out-of-place ultra-cool underdogs and their album, recorded by Justin Pizzoferrato (Thurston Moore, DINOSAUR JR., FREE KITTEN), quite possibly my favorite record of 2012.
You were going to that awards show the day after I talked to you. How did that go?
Michelle: It was interesting because we got nominated for it, top five rock bands in Connecticut. We weren’t gonna go and then we went and we ended up winning it.
Brian: We won best rock [band] and we were sitting in the aisle cracking jokes with each other, and all these awards shows we’ve been going to-we’re usually these rogue misfits and now we keep going to these awards and we keep winning. We went to this one award show in our town so it was cool but we’ve been going all over the East Coast and these awards shows are no different than any sort of how everything’s sort of rock scene cliquish right now. We go to these awards shows and everybody knows each other except us. So it’s funny too because every time we go everyone looks at us like, “What?!” [Laughs] It’s four bands that know each other and then us. And when we win they’re all looking at each other like, “Something’s wrong!”
I got to hear this last awesome record, and you’re still putting it all out on your own. Are the other bands you’re competing against DIY too? Or…?
Michelle: We’re not sure. And that’s the weird thing because it’s true what he said, we got there and there’s a lot of bands we’ve never heard of and it’s weird because we feel like we know so many bands from the whole area from three or four or five states over just because we’ve been so active for the last few years. So they did a thing where we had to perform with a bunch of the finalists and winners. And there’s a reason why we didn’t know. It’s just not the same thing. It was like taking us out of the underground and putting us on Main Street for a night. So we just stuck out like a sore thumb. We were so different from everyone else. Everything was very radio-friendly, just not what I’ve ever played with before. A couple people who were the finalists in the rock category were like if STAIND and 311 had a baby. I’m like, “No. That’s not what we do!” We went on after them, we were one of the headliners, and I could just see them looking at us like, “Are you serious? This is what won?” And it’s like, yeah, our little grubby three-piece.
Brian: The bass player from LIVING COLOUR was the one that announced it. [Laughter] But he seemed to know everyone in the Hartford area, so when we won, he even went, “Okay…”
Michelle: “Okay… THE SUICIDE DOLLS.” [Laughter]
That’s cool though.
Michelle: It is.
Brian: Other than Boston has a really good diverse scene right now, but a lot of scenes even though they’ll have really great equipment and really great haircuts and they got a publicist and stuff, they only play their scene and area. A lot of people don’t venture outside the area anymore. We venture outside many different areas and we don’t belong to one sort of cut-and-paste scene so when we show up at these shows, no one knows who we are. But then they don’t realize we didn’t just pay somebody to let everybody know about us; we’ve been on the phone, we’ve been on the computer, we’ve been playing other cities. We have a bigger fanbase than they realize. We’ve been going night and day with this thing.
Also, now that you’re getting all these accolades, do you think your next record you might go with a label?
Brian: It’s tough because we’re winning all these accolades right now and we got fans in more than one scene and we’re being known on the road in all these places and yet we’re still sorta up against this sort of old dinosaur mentality with the record labels. They see what’s going on. “We like your press. We like what you’re doing. We like your album but we’re not signing your sound right now.” I’ve actually had people going, “Would you be willing to ‘tweak’ yourself?” I’m not gonna tweak myself to sound like everyone else.
Michelle: The thing is that we’re not-and maybe it’s because we’re a little bit older too-and when we were growing up, the stuff that we liked, the alternative music, the old punk music and stuff, we had to go three towns over and it took us an hour to get there because we had to take a bus to find this oddball music that no one else liked. So it means a lot to us and it’s very personal to us. We have the sound we want, we finally have it, and it took us a while to get confident with it and comfortable with it. And so to hear somebody say, “We would really be willing to work with you guys, you have a great story, history; we wouldn’t have to make anything up.” That was actually said. “Maybe you could add a keyboard; maybe you could do something like this.” And it’s like, “No, maybe we can’t.”
Brian: Not only that but when we were kids growing up before we got in a band, not that there was anything extra special about then than it is now, but we used to go when Lollapalooza toured and you’d go to the show and every band sounded different. We wanna sound like a mixture of all these different bands and come up with our unique sound so it can be upsetting for us when people say, “We would prefer it if you sound like these other 12.” There’s just nothing dangerous about cutting-and-pasting bands where everyone is the same. It’s boring, it’s not dangerous. So when a label says, “We like all the accolades that you’re getting but your sound is a little unique and this is what we’re signing right now,” it’s frustrating, and it makes us wanna make the next album even more signature.
Michelle: Because I feel like this is a pretty digestible album and from what we used to do was an all-noise, drone type of thing. We really over the last eight years put a lot of focus into normal song structures. Which sounds oh well, what’s the big deal about that? But we never did it before so we turned our focus onto almost pop-oriented, it’s almost like a concept. So now it’s this weird alternative, noisy, rock-pop type album and it’s borderline concept for us. I think it’s digestible. So to hear people say, “We think the songs are really good and the sound is interesting, but it’s not as acceptable as it should be,” it’s like, well this is about as acceptable as I wanna get. If there was a label who was open to getting behind what we do, I think we’ve done a lot for not being signed. It’s not that we don’t wanna be signed, we do.
Brian: We do. A lot of people are like, “Labels suck.” We don’t think labels suck.
Michelle: And I think with a little bit of financial support and a little bit of support for publicity just to further what we’ve already done, I think we could have a really good shot at doing this. We do this full-time as it is, we don’t have day jobs, but if we had a little bit of support behind us I think we could actually pay back people who’ve been helping to support us because just financially it’s just not there. Obviously we’re not doing it for that but seeing some other bands who are less dedicated get further faster just because they have money for a publicist or something, it’s kinda hard to swallow sometimes. A label would be cool. We’re not shy about saying that would be awesome but I don’t think it’s wrong to want to be appreciated for all the work we’ve already put into it and a little bit of respect for the sound we have because when we’re live and after every show we have all these people singing our praises, “Oh, you’re one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen!” And then you make 100 dollars. [Laughs] I think the type of labels we’d be interested in would be indie but still sort of established and I think you have to have a publicist to even get their attention so it’s kind of a double-edged sword.
Brian: That’s the thing too: Because we do everything indie ourselves-real indie not “rich people indie” that seems to be happening now. We’re not gonna give a publicist ten thousand dollars if they’re just gonna say, “Okay, we’re gonna sell you just like we’re selling everybody else.” No, you have to sell us different. The cool thing we have now is we get accolades for this album, we brought in an accredited engineer, we went to an accredited studio; we did it all basically in four days because that’s what we could afford. We’re getting all this great attention for it and if we could find a label that was going, “You’re getting the accolades we want; you’re not conforming. We’d like you to conform but we’re gonna take a chance.” If we could go into the studio and do this for two weeks or a month, what a label band would do, I’d have to assume we’d do that much more.
Michelle: I think we did really good for four days of recording. The goal I had going in, ‘cause we had played for years and years and never really did a studio album. It was getting to the point where we’ve toured without merch and stuff like that just because we wanted to play so it was like we finally decided it was worth having something. If it all stopped tomorrow and we didn’t have that studio album that we could feel good about then it would’ve been weird. So it was, let’s see how many loans we can take out and make this happen and so we did. There’s things we wish we could’ve gotten to but we ran out of time.
Brian: The thing is everybody’s favorite punk album, metal album, alternative album, was done in at least two weeks, not two days. We’ve done everything an independent band can do. We’re just looking now to say we’re not shying away from yeah, I can do this myself. We do want a label. Again too we’ve been doing this long enough to know getting on a label doesn’t mean it’s gonna be cake and champagne. We’ll be further in debt if we get signed to a label. It’ll probably become even more difficult for our regular if we join a label. But we’ve been doing this so long that music is in our blood. We’re not just some poseurs going, “I’m gonna be in a band.” We have the scars to prove it.
[More on the record] It was pretty evenly split, singing-wise, one from you, one from Michelle, do you try to do that or it just happens the way you guys write? Obviously you sing the songs you wrote. But is that something you try to do? Try to have it kinda equal?
Michelle: It’s not even that we have to try. It’s just sort of the same thing in the set. We try not to make it too heavy, we try to even it out a bit. So I guess as long as we both have songs we do try to make it kinda even and that album was, there’s a couple of songs on there, we have a lot of other stuff that could’ve went on that album but we just decided to choose a couple that were kind of old that never got the real recording they deserved and some current stuff and then a couple new ones. ‘Cause again, we didn’t know if we’d ever be able to record again. We definitely will ‘cause we loved the experience, it’s done really good things for us.
Brian: At our live shows we stop playing once. We don’t after every song go, “If you got ‘em smoke ‘em.” We’ll play four songs in a row, we’ll string them together. Sometimes it goes one-two-three-four right into the next song, sometimes we’ll do a little segueway of music or noise and we’ll roll one song into another so it’s more a set of songs, instead of song-stop-song-stop. So there’s this energy. There’s this narrative. When me and Michelle switch off on vocals there ends up being also a conversation between songs, where one song one person’s speaking and the next person’s speaking in the next song. And I think it keeps it interesting. Our performances become this narrative, and with us switching back and forth on vocals it’s like each character is getting their time to express something to each other. So I think it works for us where we switch back and forth. Sometimes she’ll do two in a row, sometimes I’ll do two in a row but we try to keep it even.
Michelle: It’s funny you mention it because I didn’t really think of it till you asked that question. But yes, I guess it is on purpose.
Mentioning about the Repo Man tribute where you sing together, one of the bands that did it the most awesomely was X. And Michelle you said some people were comparing you guys on that record to them.
Michelle: That was awesome. We’d been talking about [singing together on songs] for a long time but we just never did it. It’s one of those things, so seeing that, it wasn’t as painful as maybe we thought. It’s the whole thing of doing it right. It could be terrible if you don’t do it right. And I love that because people would be like, “You got that X thing going on, why don’t you ever do anything like that?” It was always in the back of our minds. And I don’t even think that that necessarily sounded like X because we were actually singing so it wasn’t quite atonal like Exene is but I totally see that. It’s in there so it eventually will get pulled out in some way.
Brian: I think just like all things if we did it 100 percent of the time it could get old. But I think especially how we do it, how we never stop in between songs, we have some things where I sing, she sings, that could be a real new dynamic we could bring to the group. I think people would like it. It’ll freshen things up.
Michelle: It’ll definitely be more apparent on the next album.
One thing I noticed about you Brian, I call it kind of a talking-singing, kinda like a Lee Ranaldo-type singing, you have some song where you do more singing-singing.
Brian: Definitely. I was doing so much of the talking-singing for a while now that I’m starting to not get in the corner doing more singing stuff. But on the album there was a lot of the singing-singing. I’m a big fan of THE FALL, Lee Ranaldo and Thurston Moore’s talk-singing style. Charles Thompson/Black Francis’ talk-singing style I was always a fan of and then there were even times where I was singing, Michelle was saying, almost Jack Nicholson on this part. “Wendy. I’m just gonna bash your brains in!” There were times where I almost do talk-singing. I like talk-singing. It has an energy to it. There’s a bit of a beatness to it. Almost like you’re popping off some sort of poetry, but noise-rock poetry. That’s always been…
Michelle: Some people like it; some people don’t.
Brian: Which is good. That’s what we like. We’re one of those few bands, we like when someone tells us, “I don’t like that.” “Well, good!” If we get a bad review we’ll post it. “Oh this person didn’t like it. Hey everybody look at this!”
On this record, a couple of the most different-sounding songs come in the middle, “Elizabeth” and “Go.” You coupled them. I don’t know how much you think about the track-listing. I don’t know if you guys get nerdy about how you put the record together…
Brian: I think we got extremely nerdy.
Michelle: We tried to put those two in the middle, for the simple reason that they’re slower and they’re very different sounding, so we wanted it to almost feel like you have the high-energy songs in the beginning and it kinda goes in a wave and then you go into those little dark recesses of our brains with those two songs and then you come out through “Senses,” which is one of the more upbeat major-note-type songs that’s a little more friendly sounding, so it comes out of “Go” and into “Senses” so it almost dips and then comes back up. It definitely was on purpose to put those where they are ‘cause they’re both pretty heavy songs. “Elizabeth” is about a real girl who had epilepsy but her family was from Argentina so when she would have the seizures they’d beat the crap out of her because they’d blame it on the devil and they thought she was possessed and they wouldn’t give her medication.
I can see why it’s so dark then, that song…
Michelle: Pretty creepy.
Brian: Historically most people who were thought to be possessed were suffering from epileptic seizures.
Michelle: Everything I say in that song happened, she would scream in the middle of the street, she had a seizure at my house, we brought her home and me and my friends stood in the street just listening to her parents beat the crap out of her. It was really a weird thing to happen when you’re 11 years old. That was me just trying to get that out of me and then it goes into “Go.”
Brian: Any good movie you wanna put a lot of drama in the middle.
Michelle: And so then coming out of those two heavy songs emotional, getting-things-out-of-you types of songs, to put it next to “Senses.”
Brian: Let’s bring the mood back up again.
Michelle: There’s this hope that comes back.
Brian: When you said did we get nerdy with it? We definitely did and I totally appreciate you saying how you like to listen to things more than once because that’s when you really get to start to interpret something the more you listen to it and we really did talk about this too with the idea of hey let’s make this something that gets better with every listen. We really did try to make a narrative. That’s the way we are too: We don’t just listen to something once. If we get something, we’re gonna experience it for a month. We’re gonna keep it in the tour van, get to know it. So when we did the track-listing it was very nerdy of how’s it gonna sound the second time? How’s it gonna sound the third time?
And like you said you guys started it out just really hard-hitting.
Brian: We started off with sort or our straight-up rock songs, yeah, we’re gonna do this. Which is weird because we usually end the show with “Smash,” but because we decided we were gonna start off with more rock songs like “Eye” and “Drive” in the beginning, Michelle was like, let’s put “Smash” which has this sort of riff epic tear down song with noise the third.
Michelle: You’re totally wrong. The reason I wanted it to go third, I do think it fits well there but it speaks more to what Janelle says. They [reviewers] listen to half the record and they put the rest of it away.
You wanted it to be heard.
Michelle: Absolutely, because that’s my favorite song on the album. I think it’s a really good example of what we do where it’s got the noise middle, that noise is where we come from. It’s got the rock riffs, it’s got some really interesting lyrics. For me, I think that song is too important to put where somebody might not get to it. So I was like, “It’s gotta be the top three or four songs, ‘cause if nobody gets past the fifth song, I want them to hear that song.” And it works where it was. We have a couple, that one’s the longest and then “Deep Red” ends the album, but “Deep Red” is also kinda long and has that noise to it, so we couldn’t have them next to each other, but of the two my favorite was “Smash.”
Brian: You see the power of reexamining things. I’m just finding out now why that was third. If we didn’t have this conversation today, I’d be thinking something entirely different! […] We sort of defy what the labels are saying: “Hey, can you tweak this, can you do this?” There was this award show that had something like 10 thousand votes meets a secret panel of labels and booking agents and media people and at this awards show “Smash” won best alternative song of the year and I was like this is seven-minutes-20-seconds! How did an almost eight-minute song get a best single award?! It confused me. This is usually the song we put at the end for whoever is still enjoying the show or whoever is still around. You live and learn.
TAGS » Brian Albano, Janelle Jones, Michelle Montavon, Prayers In Parking Lots, The Suicide Dolls
POSTED IN » Interviews and Features
A TRIBUTE TO REPO MAN – By Janelle Jones
A TRIBUTE TO REPO MAN – By Janelle Jones
Copyright © 2012 - AMP Magazine.
IndieClick Music Network
A Tribute to Repo Man
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A TRIBUTE TO REPO MAN – By Janelle Jones Tony Shrum December 12, 2012 A TRIBUTE TO REPO MAN By...A TRIBUTE TO REPO MAN – By Janelle Jones
Tony Shrum December 12, 2012
A TRIBUTE TO REPO MAN
By Janelle Jones
Yes, it’s a brilliant ‘80s cult classic film but Repo Man is also a classic punk film that really captured the era, written and directed by Alex Cox, a man who was a constant at shows and just a true fan of the scene. As you’ll read below from many of the participants included on the excellent new A Tribute To Repo Man album and some from the original soundtrack itself, the movie had great influence in people’s lives and getting them into SoCal punk. With a soundtrack that included bands like CIRCLE JERKS, BLACK FLAG, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, FEAR and Iggy Pop and a score by THE PLUGZ, it’s still to this day one of the raddest soundtracks around. So I guess it was a no-brainer for American Laundromat Records owner Joe Spadaro to tackle this project.
“Repo Man” – THOSE DARLINS (Originally performed by Iggy Pop)
Interview with drummer Linwood Regensburg
On the song they chose to cover:
I think that was the only one that all of us were 100 percent [into doing]. It’s a little intimidating thinking of the fact that you’re gonna record a song and the person who sang the song is somebody whom you put on a very high [pedestal]. Sometimes I think about it, I wonder if he’ll hear this and just be like, “Ugh!!” But when you’re having fun you don’t really think about those things at the time. We kept it pretty much exactly like it was, which I think our first intention wasn’t. But sometimes if we’re learning somebody else’s song we won’t make any changes but it’ll just end up sounding a little bit off I guess. And this time it didn’t happen for whatever reason. One thing that happened is we recorded a version of it at my house when we were learning it and Jessi was trying to figure out one of the verses and we were all listening to it and were like, “I don’t know what he said there.” You cannot find any copies of it anywhere. There were a couple of lines we had to go back and literally slow it down to figure it out. I had read a story about how when they recorded it they showed up at the studio there was no song, there was no anything, and Iggy Pop showed up with a bag of coke and put it out and everybody there thought, “Oh cool, we’re gonna get this going.” And then Iggy Pop did the whole thing himself. Everybody else just sat there like, “Oh my god, what’s about to happen?” And then Steve Jones plays on the song and a couple other people I can’t think of off the top of my head, basically just jammed. And then when he heard them playing he was like, “Okay, yeah, yeah,” and apparently Iggy wrote all the lyrics while he sang the song. I don’t think he even knows what the lyrics are. A lot of them are just lines, they don’t make sense. The imagery is cool and really dark and it fits the film well, whether he meant to or not.
On the significance of the film:
I think I first saw it when I was six years old. I watched it a couple times when I was way too young to actually get anything out of it, but I remember watching it again when I was like 17 and just thinking, oh wow, what’s this band? And in some ways that film spawned me getting into punk music or at least like L.A. punk music. It was definitely one of the steps. I think that it’s shot really, really well. I feel like people who don’t like punk can still get into it. You can just watch it as a sci-fi thing. One funny thing I think about the movie is every single character, they don’t care. Nobody really smiles throughout the whole film.
“TV Party” – POLAR BEAR CLUB (Originally performed by BLACK FLAG)
Interview with vocalist Jimmy Stadt
On how they got involved with the project:
This just piqued our interest because it was a cool idea and we wanted to be a part of something like that, but then also the other bands and artists that were doing it. We sorta wondered why we got asked to do it as well in that category of artists we love and we’d love to do more things like that. Generally we get asked to do comps with pop-punk bands, which isn’t necessarily how we’d identify ourselves or who we would identify ourselves with. But to be asked to do something like this, like nothing we’ve ever been asked to do before, we of course said yes. It had this pure punk energy whereas POLAR BEAR CLUB, people describe us as, yeah it’s punk but it’s post-punk or it’s this type of punk. It was cool for us to swing for the fences with that word that’s been loosely used to describe us.
On the song they chose to cover:
I don’t think we would’ve picked any other song. It was so much fun and it was so different for us. We just went there and did it in six hours or something. We debated do we wanna put somewhat of our own spin on a version that was pretty close to the original already? But also if we were to do a different arrangement we would’ve liked to think about it a little more. It was more like ‘we’re on tour right now. We need to go record this.’ I don’t think there was any other way to do it but the way it is and it’s fitting for our band too, just to do it that way. I think it’s even a bit of a stretch for us to do a song that is that straightforward and raw. But we wanted to do something that was specific to us. It’s BLACK FLAG, such a huge influence on everything we do, whether it’s directly or a part of this evolution of punk and hardcore, just this sort of aggressive rock ‘n’ roll. You can’t think about that stuff too much or you’ll start over-thinking it and then probably miss the mark. We didn’t wanna try to do some sad, acoustic version. The comp was a fun idea to begin with so we just wanted to go in and have fun, in the spirit of the film.
On the significance of the film:
You can imagine a film like Repo Man coming out today and almost slipping under the radar. For this movie to come out then and do what it did- way ahead of its time and bold and daring and just fun and sort of almost self-deprecating too. To have something made and you’re not quite sure why and you can say, “That’s a punk movie.” There’s not that many punk movies that work this well. Of course you can attach sci-fi or whatever, but it’s something that punks identify with.
“Institutionalized” – AMANDA PALMER & THE GRAND THEFT ORCHESTRA (Originally performed by SUICIDAL TENDENCIES)
Interview with vocalist Amanda Palmer
On the song they chose to cover:
For me, it was a toss-up between “Institutionalized” and “Pablo Picasso.” I let the band break the tie- they voted for “Institutionalized” hands down. We also had the horns coming into the studio (we were in Melbourne, making our new record) and wanted a track that could highlight them. We wanted it to be relatively faithful, but we didn’t want to cover it note for note: covers have fresh blood. Being a female vocalist already helped since the voice in the song is clearly so personal. So I channeled my inner 15-year-old, threw in a dash of valley girl and let it fly. Adding the band “discussing” me in the background was my idea, and they were hilarious. I love [drummer] Michael McQuilken saying, “I haven’t seen you at yoga lately…everything OK?” He’s hilarious.
On the significance of the film:
The Repo Man soundtrack was one of my favorite records as a teenager; I had it on cassette and wore the tape thin. Repo Man and Suburbia were on constant replay. My sister and I used to constantly quote Repo Man lines to each other. Right up there with Better Off Dead and Real Genius.
“Coup d’Etat” – NEW YORK RIVALS (Originally performed by CIRCLE JERKS)
Interview with guitarist Erik Rudic
On the song they chose to cover:
As far as just the cover songs in general and the album that we’re paying tribute to is awesome just because I grew up listening to bands like the CIRCLE JERKS and all those bands that are on there to begin with, BLACK FLAG, and it was such a hard choice for us to choose a song to cover. Between Iggy Pop and CIRCLE JERKS and BLACK FLAG, those are all huge influences of mine personally. And then to be on an album with the people that are contributing which is Frank Black and Mike Watt, that’s also pretty awesome to me. We were deciding between “TV Party” and “Coup d’Etat,” and we decided we could do something a little bit different, a little bit cooler with “Coup d’Etat.” We didn’t wanna do a straight cover. I’d rather put my own spin on it and try to be as creative as possible with it and also stay true to the artist who wrote the song too. We wanted to stay true to what we were as a band as well ‘cause as influenced by punk and metal as we were, we scream in songs at our live concerts, but really the way our vocalist worked was, he’s a singer, and to put some type of melody to it but not something that was too over-the-top or too crazy, that was our vision for the song. Between being a fan of the original movie and the original soundtrack itself, it’s just a very cool thing to be a part of. I would love to know what [Keith Morris] thought of that: If we totally ruined his song or if he likes it.
“Pablo Picasso” – THE TELLERS (Originally performed by BURNING SENSATIONS)
Interview with bassist Fabrice Detry
On the song they chose to cover:
It was on a first-come, first-served basis, being fans of Jonathan Richman already, the choice was pretty obvious and this song wasn’t taken by anyone yet. “Pablo Picasso” is rather a tricky song to cover because it consists of just one single chord and the best version was already existing (the original cut I mean), so we tried it in our practice room and jammed around. We quickly recorded and mixed it in a Brussels studio and yes indeed, the result is pretty different from the original.
On the significance of the film:
What I like about this film is that even if it’s much about having no future, rejecting authority, wearing stupid earrings, etc., to me it feels more like a pause against the world rather than really feeling doomed. There is a lot of positive and funny energy- which is priceless these days…
“LET’S HAVE A WAR” – MIKE WATT & THE SECONDMEN (Originally performed by FEAR)
Interview with bassist/vocalist Mike Watt
On the song he chose to cover:
I guess I’m kind of an old guy too- I’m not on that record but I was around in those days. When [Joe] asked me, I said, “Has ‘Let’s Have A War’ been taken yet?” And he said, “No, it ain’t,” so I said, “Can I get that one?” I like them all but that one there was just always something about FEAR. We got to play with them early on. In fact, they’re the band that got us to play the Whisky a Go Go. I always respected their music, so to get a chance to reinterpret that tune was righteous of Joe to let me do that. I was a big fan of their band and to do an interpretation of that with my SECONDMEN was a big honor.
On the significance of the film:
Because of that movie, it helped spread the word about the scene in a way. You couldn’t get on the radio a lot, the magazines that much. It really helped people. I talked to different people and the first thing they heard about punk was from that movie. Not everyone, but a lot of people. Alex [Cox] went to the gigs. He was a man of the scene. He keyed in on some of these ideas. Definitely he liked the scene and I think he had respect for it. He wasn’t just trying to cherry pick it for sensational stupid stuff. He wanted to give those bands- you know, when he first started making the movie, it was really econo. He wasn’t spending much money at all. And he wanted people I think to hear music that he was hearing at these gigs. It helped people to get to know punk who didn’t live in NYC or San Francisco or L.A. ‘cause those were the three main towns. There was a little scene going on in D.C. and some other parts, but those movies got people, younger people especially, hip to these things that were going on. Because [it was a] pretty minority movement.
“When The Shit Hits The Fan” – THE SUICIDE DOLLS (Originally performed by CIRCLE JERKS)
Interview with bassist/vocalist Michelle Montavon
On the song they chose to cover:
We were really excited because we’re a little bit older and we’ve been around for a while so we are total fans of the CIRCLE JERKS and the film itself. We didn’t have a lot of time so I think we recorded it in like 12 hours. To be asked to do that and knowing the film Repo Man as well, we were both really conflicted. Brian and I were like, “What do we do?!” because the two versions [of the song] couldn’t be any different from each other. So do you cover [the soundtrack version] or do you cover the fast one [released on Golden Shower Of Hits]? So I think we tried to blend the two speeds together in a way to get sort of a middle ground, and musically we tried to stamp it with our own sound. And the lyrics are perfect for today: sluggish economy, inflation, so we really just tried to give them a no ambition-type feel, a slacker, almost like a numb, no-way-out feel. It was a little bit of a challenge because again we love the band, we love the song, we love the movie so we were nervous because it’s sort of an anthem and it’s really difficult to cover those types of songs. So we tried not to think about it too much, tried to sort of find a halfway point between the very slow version and the very fast version and then at the end we tried to give a nod to the Golden Shower Of Hits version by picking the speed up a little bit. I’m hoping if Mr. Morris hears it he understands that that’s what we were trying to do. We didn’t wanna just do a straight cover.
About the significance of the film:
The weird thing about that movie was I don’t think it was in the movie theatres that long. Brian told me he saw it within the first year it came out and I probably saw it a couple years after that. The reason I saw it was because I was a MONKEES fanatic and Mike Nesmith produced the movie. And I had no idea what to expect. I was just like, “Wow, this movie is really weird.” Brian saw it and loved it when he was a kid. And actually in the ‘90s we watched it again and it was like, “Oh my god, this is great!” Brian would actually walk around and quote lines from the movie like, “Let’s go do some crimes.” But he used to also quote lines from “When The Shit Hits The Fan,” like we’d go to the store and, “Bags of groceries!” So it was weird we got asked to do this. It felt pretty right.
“Bad Man” – MOSES COLTRANE (originally performed by JUICY BANANAS)
Interview with vocalist Joe Spadaro
On putting this tribute together:
The soundtrack has always been one of my favorite soundtracks, one of the few movie soundtracks that I felt really worked as a complete album. And then again I’ve always been a fan of the film. Every year I probably watch it at least once and there’s just something about it that connects with me. Several years ago I conceived doing a tribute to the film and the soundtrack, and I had a couple of false starts where I got excited about it but then I really couldn’t get anyone to bite on the idea. So I always backburned it ‘cause I knew it was a good idea and eventually I’d do it. Then this past year everything seemed to fall into place, everybody I reached out to was really excited about participating and it just sort of went from there. I couldn’t be happier with any of the tracks. I felt like there was good balance on the whole album.
On the significance of the film:
It was really this sort of perfect movie at a perfect time. And speaking with a lot of the bands after I started the tribute I didn’t realize what a huge fan of punk Alex Cox was. It was really his film and he was always at the punk shows and he’d see CIRCLE JERKS and THE MINUTEMEN and they were all aware of him and I just found it really interesting. I went to see it in the theater. It came out right when I graduated high school and I remember seeing that film and being like, “Oh my god!” And I wasn’t even really a punk guy, but for some reason that film really spoke to me. It had all that fun stuff, like all the sci-fi stuff I always gravitated to, the aliens and just the muscle cars, that whole sort of underworld was really fun for me and then the crazy lines and the crazy stuff, I just found it to be fascinating. Nobody really introduced me to [SoCal punk] until that film and I started to gravitate and listen to some of that stuff, especially THE PLUGZ. I just loved all THE PLUGZ stuff in that film and I was blown away that I didn’t know this band. Of course I knew THE RAMONES, that was East Coast, but not really that whole SoCal movement so it was sort of a learning experience for me, just introducing me to new music I wasn’t aware existed.
On the mysterious “Moses Coltrane” track:
My original intent for the track “Bad Man” was to have Jack Black cover that. I just thought he’s such a fun guy, he loves music, he’s a big film buff; I have to believe he’s a Repo Man fan. I got to the manager but it just wasn’t going anywhere. So then I started thinking you know who’d be really fun is Quentin Tarantino. So I reached out to his management and they never got back to me at all. Because again I’m this little nobody in my basement running a little record label. I’m sure they sensed it wasn’t a big opportunity. So in the eleventh hour I actually went in and recorded the vocals to that song. So that’s me and I created that little alter-ego Moses Coltrane. I studied the song and wrote all the lyrics down and I would practice and I had all the basic tracks to work with from Steve Rizzo and then I rented Shaft and all these cool movies from the ‘70s with all these bad-ass black guys. I was like I have to try to channel somebody bad-ass. The best part was my friends saying, “I love that track by Moses Coltrane. Where’d you find that guy? I can’t find anything on him.” And I started laughing, I said, “That was me.”
“El Clavo Y La Cruz” – BLACK FRANCIS & SPANISH FOR HITCHHIKING / “Hombre Secreto” – Matthew Sweet / “Reel Ten” – WEEKEND (All originally performed by THE PLUGZ)
Interview with THE PLUGZ bassist Tony Marsico
On scoring the film:
Alex stood out in the crowd ‘cause he didn’t really look like a punk rocker. He used to go to all THE PLUGZ shows and we didn’t know him at the time. And just out of the blue he came up and said, “I’m working on this movie,” and we didn’t know anything about it but it sounded cool. There were no names in it really at the time and we’re like, “Yeah.” You could tell he was a smart guy, he was different, he had some cool ideas. The incidental music, all the chase scenes, people running, we just went into a real funky studio, it was extremely low-budget, we put up a funky screen, they played some of the stuff, it still had all the time code stuff on it like they have on films and we just sat there and I think we did it in two days or something. We probably went back and mixed it again, but we just put it up on the screen, not like a big scoring thing at all, a funky TV, and we watched it on the video and we just played along. We didn’t even think about it much. We were like, “Okay, here’s a chase scene let’s go babababdaaaa.” He’s lonely walking alone, let’s do some kind of thing just like the opening thing of the movie just when you see him walking around kinda sad, we just do this little “deedeedeedeeeedeeedooo,” sad kinda thing. We didn’t rehearse any of the stuff at all. We wrote out chords to “Reel Ten” and we didn’t really plan on a melody for it, we just took a few minutes and went, “Let’s do these chords,” and just kinda did it. It’s not like we sat and composed a song for it. It just kinda happened. We brought in a couple of friends to play on the track as well to fatten up “Reel Ten” a little, some keyboards and stuff ‘cause we were just bass, guitar and drums at the time. Greg Kuehn [TSOL] was the keyboard player. He at the time was a buddy, he came in; we needed that synth sound, that weird sound for the car rising up in the air at the end.
On the significance of the film and soundtrack:
It definitely influenced a lot of people, which is kinda weird. It’s kind of still surprising when people go off on that movie because it’s a quirky movie; it’s not a blockbuster. I’ve always liked it, but I like anything weird and dark, but most people don’t. We obviously, and all the other bands, we were around for a while before this happened, but it definitely influenced a lot of other people which was cool. Alex Cox is kind of responsible for that. [The movie], that’s the era; it picks up on the desperate suburban thing, which Alex knew well.
Interview with keyboardist Greg Kuehn
On how he got involved in the soundtrack:
I was always a huge fan of THE PLUGZ, so when I got this chance to play with Bob Dylan and Charlie, the drummer from THE PLUGZ, was in the band, that’s how I met those guys. They were THE PLUGZ and then they became THE CRUZADOS. They would get cool gigs like they’d do commercials and I played on the CRUZADOS records. I was their keyboard dude who’d come and do stuff. They called me up for this Repo Man thing and it was a trip because they had this cool keyboard, it was called the simulator. It was something you could play and it could really sound like strings or voices and stuff. They’re like, “You gotta come down and play. Do all these cool voice things.” So we got all these choir sounds. If you listen to the soundtrack there’s all these creepy voices and string stuff. Alex Cox was there when we were doing these sessions. It was pretty cool. He wasn’t super-well-known at that point but this is the director, we’re at some big studio. Michael Nesmith, the guy from THE MONKEES financed the movie and it’s on Universal and it’s this big fuckin’ deal. He dug the script and then it was really neat to hire THE PLUGZ to do the music. ‘Cause Tito the singer of THE PLUGZ was into that kind of stuff. They had some chops for doing music to picture. Him and Steve were kind of the composers on the movie but THE PLUGZ performed the score. So they had some grounds for hiring them but still it was a pretty adventurous move to not hire some stupid Hollywood composer. Steve’s guitar playing is the key to the whole thing, that kind of whammy bar guitar stuff he does.
On the significance of the film:
Who knew it would be something that lasted so long, like Suburbia. It was really fun and in two years I was in two cult classics. Just being able to play on [Repo Man] and be a part of that thing for my little moment was cool. A lot of people still wanna talk about it. [At the time] there was no Internet so you’d get the soundtrack for this movie you saw or you heard about and it’s got some songs from some cool bands and it’s the gateway to checking that stuff out.
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TAGS » A Tribute To Repo Man, Amanda Palmer, American Laundromat Records, black flag, Black Francis & Spanish For Hitchhiking, circle jerks, FEAR, iggy pop, Janelle Jones, Juicy Bananas, Matthew Sweet, Mike Watt & The Secondmen, Moses Coltrane, New York Rivals, polar bear club, Suicidal Tendencies, The Grand Theft Orchestra, The Plugz, The Suicide Dolls, The Tellers, Those Darlins, Weekend
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THE SUICIDE DOLLS talk about their album and their improbable wins at local music awards shows where they’re totally out-of-place ultra-cool underdogs
THE SUICIDE DOLLS talk about their album and their improbable wins at local music awards shows where they’re totally out-of-place ultra-cool underdogs
MIKE WATT talks about the Repo Man experience, his time in THE STOOGES, and growing up during the first wave of punk
MIKE WATT talks about the Repo Man experience, his time in THE STOOGES, and growing up during the first wave of punk
AMP Moviecore! (December Edition) – By Jim Kaz
AMP Moviecore! (December Edition) – By Jim Kaz
WE GOT POWER authors David Markey and Jordan Schwartz talk about their book on the hardcore punk scene in Southern California during the ‘80s (INCLUDES PHOTOS!)
WE GOT POWER authors David Markey and Jordan Schwartz talk about their book on the hardcore punk scene in Southern California during the ‘80s
Copyright © 2012 - AMP Magazine
Very imaginary tribute albums for The Smiths and Repo Man out from American Laundromat
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Compilations of artists covering other artists thematically or conceptually are some of the very bes...Compilations of artists covering other artists thematically or conceptually are some of the very best and worst albums in our collections, aren't they? I never knew one could admit to liking The Carpenters till that one came out with Sonic Youth et al in the early 90s; actually, I didn't like The Carpenters until a bunch of respected alternative musicians covered 'em and sent me back to listen to the originals.
That is the glorious thing about "tribute albums" when they work: You can find out just how time-lasting the original songs are, whether the anthology is made up of a selection of various songs (hits and otherwise) from a specific band, or as a devotion to a certain work or theme. The drawback is that enjoyment of covers can be a very subjective thing, depending on which musician is covered or covering (I love it when The Jam covered Motown songs; but Phil Collins' "You Can't Hurry Love," not so much). There's currently a Fleetwood Mac tribute out now that I haven't heard, but the reviews are sort of the same as they always tend to be: It's a nice collection of spot on and somewhat off.
"Always Indie" label American Laundromat Records put out a double CD (!) Smiths compilation earlier this year, and it finds its way into my stereo regularly. Please, Please, Please: A Tribute To The Smiths has gotten better-than-usual reviews, and for good reason: It's a class act, from the very complimentary packaging to the quality artists you could tell grew up spending warm summer days in-doors writing frightening verse to all four sides of Louder Than Bombs.
Yes, there have been a few Smiths tributes before this one (including a really horrible late 90s era emo-powered one from a certain otherwise excellent label that I could barely sit through once), but it's the selection of confident veterans like Tanya Donelly (with Dylan in the Movies) on "Shoplifters of the World Unite," besides crackling newcomers like Port Townsend's Solvents (who punk-folk a very delightful "Is It Really So Strange?" which is perfect for listening to with a knapsack of old literature and post-break up love letters as one travels across the Sound via ferry to find a horse to kill). The second disc is a lot stronger than the first for me, probably merely because it has the artists I'm most keen on here: Mike Viola (from the Candy Butchers, here with The Section Quartet) slowing "How Soon Is Now?" down to a cello-flecking heartbeat about to burst. Seattle's own Trespassers William takes "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" even lower and starker, and somehow makes you not pine for Andy Rourke's gorgeous bass on the original by offering up truly smoldering vocals. There's gobs of more goodness on both full-lengths though.
Coming out this summer is American Laudromat's A Tribute To Repo Man, a very rare case of an original soundtrack anthology being covered by a whole new set of bands. This is a choice idea, and I hope will encourage more creative thematic compilations than just bands covering other bands randomly. And the selections are passionately performed and respectfully executed and recorded all the way through, being a cohesive album listening experience, and not sounding like a patchwork homage.
I will confess: I never owned the original Repo Man LP, as I had most of the songs I wanted from the genius movie already on their own releases. So now I feel like I was really missing something, as it holds together so well as a document of mutated Los Angeles street life (and I really should have absorbed the whole thing in LP format in the first place). Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra breathe fiery new life (and femme rage) into Suicidal Tendencies' legendary "Institutionalized"; her vocal performance alone is a huge stand out on any tribute albums you'll hear. Black Francis & Spanish For Hitchhiking cover the originally oompa-paced "El Clavo Y La Cruz" as a bluesy sizzler, more fit for a Tarantino showdown than an Alex Cox chase scene. Along the same lines, Matthew Sweet kicks out a really sharp and sexy "Hombre Secreto (Secret Agent Man)" covering a cover better than I remember the original cover's cover being. (Ha.)
The Suicide Dolls take on the most challenging task, in my opinion, by trying to blend both the original punk rock feel of the Circle Jerks' "When The Shits The Fan" with the band's own lounge parody of it. Instead, they change it into an X-style rave up that expresses both the burn out of living in Hollywood along with the energy of hope of moving there in the first place. "Let's Have A War" is a faithful cover of a prime Fear song by Mike Watt (& The Secondmen) that lacks a bit of the ferocity of Lee Ving's original venomous original, but hey come on - it's fucking Mike Watt, and he can growl like a desolation angel.
Both A Tribute To Repo Man and the Smiths covers anthology are various artist albums that are not (or shouldn't be) destined for the dollar bins. They are not random, but well-picked for content and performance and show that the indie scene is still coming up with new, dazzling twists on old formats. It's smashing fun to be experiencing these timeless songs over again, without contemporary genre burdens, but with hot fresh zazz. Pick 'em both up and you'll have hours of manic mix tape-like thrills.
A Tribute to Repo Man – album review
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Film & TV
A Tribute to Repo Man – album review
Posted on February 18, 2013 by Ged Babey
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Various Artists: Tribute to Repo Man (American Laundromat)
Released four months back, this fantastic tribute to an amazing cult movie and soundtrack album has been on constant rotation on Ged Babey’s stereo – when he should have been reviewing it.
“Look at those assholes…Ord-in-ary people. I fuckin’ hate ‘em.”
‘Repo Man’, the 1984 movie, written and directed by Alex Cox (‘Sid and Nancy’, ‘Straight to Hell’, ‘Walker’) is arguably the best sci-fi, punk rock, comedy, crime caper, and satire of American society ever written. Not that there has really been that many films that fall into that category I guess.
It had a killer soundtrack, two dozen or more memorable, quotable lines, some great acting from Harry Dean Stanton and Emilio Estevez and was a cult favourite of anyone with an interest in US punk rock (along with Penelope Spheeris lesser punksploitation film ‘Suburbia’).
The use of dialogue in ‘Repo Man’ undoubtedly influenced Tarantino and the strange and intense Alex Cox never bettered the movie. His ‘Moviedrome’ series of films on BBC2 was essential viewing in the days before a million extra-terrestrial channels.
The Original Soundtrack album brought together the cream of the US hardcore underground; Black Flag, Fear, Circle Jerks and Suicidal Tendencies with relative unknowns Burning Sensation and Juicy Bananas, topped off with a absolute classic title track written for the film by Iggy Pop (and performed by his then band which featured Steve Jones and Clem Burke).
Initially I couldn’t really see the point of a tribute album, but was curious. In a couple of years it’ll be 30 years since the film came out and a whole new generation of punk-fans are gonna discover it, so why not? .
The big name stars of this album are; Amanda (Fucking) Palmer, Frank Black, Mike Watt (of Minutemen, firehose and reformed Stooges fame) and (cult American songwriter) Matthew Sweet.
The title track/theme song is performed by ‘Those Darlins’, a mostly female country punk quartet who’s 2011’s ‘Screws Get Loose’ album is well worth getting hold of. The song is one of Iggys finest lyrics; a surreal stream of consciousness list-song with some beautiful bizarre couplets. “I was a teenage dinosaur, stoned and obsolete…” Those Darlins nail it and make it their own. Its not a note-perfect version, just a bashed-out cover full of joie de’vivre and a Heartbreakers style swagger.
Polar Bear Club’s righteously kicking cover of ‘TV Party’, Black Flag’s goofiest much-loved anthem to stayin’-in is a fine, faithful performance. It’s actually better than the original in that its faster and better produced.
Suicidal Tendencies ‘Institutionalised’, re-worked in a jazzy Queen of Siam style by Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra is perfect. She’s a superb theatrical performer who throws herself into the role with gusto. Its better than the original and the best track on the album; One that you’ll return to time and time again. An absolutely classic song about the generation gap and Amerika (I always saw myself as the narrator, the mixed-up kid. Now I’m father to a 16-year-old son I’m the exasperated parent – which is scary).
New York Rivals pull off a sker-eeching cover of ‘Coup D’Etat’, one of Circle Jerks best songs whilst ‘El Clavo Y La Cruz’ by Black Francis and Spanish for Hitchhiking, as with the Plugz original is sung in Spanish, but is a bit of a pedestrian Los Lobos type twanger and the first lack lustre track on the LP.
‘Pablo Picasso’ by the Tellers is a cover of a cover. With a name like the Tellers they’ve gotta be Jonathan Richman fans right? But they totally re-work the song musically, which threw me at first, but after four or five listens it actually works really well.
‘Let’s Have A War’ is a real gem in US Punk history, by the wonderful Fear. Again performed with joyful enthusiasm by Mike Watt and The Secondmen, with keyboards instead of guitar and the lyrics just as ‘relevant’ and as un-PC as ever: “Lets Have a War! Give guns to the queers!”
A gloriously sleazy gutter-punk-junk version of ‘When The Shit Hits The Fan’ by the Suicide Dolls is a lethargically drawled pleasure. Matthew Sweet’s ‘Hombre Secreto’ is a pleasant run through but featherlight and adds nothing to the original, which is a shame.
Moses Coltrane narrates ‘Bad Man’ –a section of the film script- over a more rocky and less funky backing than the original. but its still utterly hilarious bullshit-talk from the Samuel L. Jackson type character played by Sy Richardson in the movie.
And sadly what should have brought the album to an epic grandiose climax (the instrumental ‘Reel Ten’, originally by the Plugz) is a synth-lead version of the Morricone style epic which soundtracks the final scene of the film. The only track which, even after a lot of listens, just cannot live up to the original.
Overall though, it’s a lovingly crafted tribute, an eminently worthwhile and fun re-run. As a bonus I’ve discovered the fabulous Those Darlins and its been confirmed that Amanda Palmer is an absolute goddesses when it comes to re-interpreting other peoples songs.
‘Repo Man’ is probably still my all-time-favourite-ever movie. The TV version which substituted flip and melon-farmer in place of the fucks and motherfuckers, still makes me laugh hysterically. There are lines from the script that I still use almost daily. I never say millionaires, it’s always “fuckin millionaires”, and when people ask me where I’m going I tend to always say, “Away from you”. On discovering a spillage, you guessed it, “Somebody pissing on the flo’ again?”
And I’m always waiting for an opportunity to get “Pernicious nonsense”, “Laugh away fuck-face”, or “It happens, people just explode. Natural causes” into everyday conversation.
If you’ve never seen Repo Man, treat yourself. Oh, and get a copy of this album.
Words by Ged Babey. More writing by Ged on Louder Than War can be found here.
Young Adults, Suicide Dolls, Earthquake Party, Soccer Mom | TT The Bear's Place, Cambridge | 21 Feb.
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Stand up and be counted, for what you are about to receive. Gadzooks. It's gigs like this that make ...Stand up and be counted, for what you are about to receive. Gadzooks. It's gigs like this that make us wish we had our own gig rating system. But what would be the top rating? Would it be something empirically awesome like AC/DC's cannon blasts, which would sit atop a range of discrete things each less empirically awesome than the last? Or would it be an award of a number of the same empirically awesome thing, like one Van Halen flaming gong is worst but 10 Van Halen flaming gongs is the best? Clearly, we have a lot of thinking to do. But whatever that hottest rating would be, tomorrow night's show at TT The Bear's Place would absolutely warrant it. Don't let that innocent little flyer above with the candy hearts fool you: these bands are going to blow your face clean off your head, in the nicest way possible. First up are Clicky Clicky faves Soccer Mom, whose dense guitar assault and desperately delivered tunes make the quartet one of the most compelling bands in Boston. Earthquake Party and its convulsive, over-fizzed indie pop follow, and are in turn followed by Connecticut stoner-punk heroes The Suicide Dolls. Top-lining the bill and closing out the night are the Allston-spawned, reverb-eating indie punk titans Young Adults, who will be celebrating (and vending to willing purchasers) their stellar Born In '91 EP (which we wrote about here last week). In sum, this is an evening of rockutainment from which you may never recover. Ear plugs will likely not be enough; you may want to consider ear plugs as well as some sparring headgear to protect your dome whilst you headbang your life away. This will happen. You can thank us later. Now how about some songs?
The Suicide Dolls Wrap Up a Watershed 2012 with Trademark Ferocity
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The Suicide Dolls Wrap Up a Watershed 2012 with Trademark Ferocity See their last show of the year ...The Suicide Dolls Wrap Up a Watershed 2012 with Trademark Ferocity
See their last show of the year at the Oasis Pub in New London on Dec. 29.
The Suicide Dolls (l-r): Brian Albano, Matt Covey, Michelle Montavon. (December 26, 2012)
By Michael Hamad
11:27 a.m. EST, December 26, 2012
Last July, during a busy stretch of gigging, New London’s Suicide Dolls received some promising news.
Joseph Spadaro, founder of the Mystic-based indie label American Laundromat Records, wanted a working Connecticut band to appear on his musical tribute to the ’80s cult-classic film Repo Man. (ALR’s niche is the tribute compilation; previous releases include paeans to the Cure, Neil Young and the Pixies’ Kim Deal, although recently they’ve signed artists for non-tribute recordings.) The other acts on the Repo Man compilation are Amanda Palmer, Frank Black, Matthew Sweet, Mike Watt, Those Darlins, New York Rivals, the Tellers, Moses Coltrane and Weekend.
“No one wanted to jump on the Circle Jerks’ ‘When the Shit Hits the Fan’,” Dolls’ singer/guitarist Brian Albano told the Advocate by phone. “[Spadaro] needed someone to finish it out... He really wanted to get a Connecticut band, one who’s active and doing things right now.”
A friend of Spadaro’s turned him onto the Dolls’ powerful mix of post-grunge punk, noise-rock and tuneful pop. “As a kid, I loved the movie,” Albano said. “When he wanted us to do [the song], I thought that was great, because there are so many lines throughout the song that, throughout my life, I had quoted: ‘Five-pound blocks of cheese / bags of groceries...’ I always thought it was a funny song, and nowadays, it seems very relevant, having this song about how the recession is affecting the attitude of the country.”
Spadaro heard the Dolls, who’ve been together for a decade, and was sold. But with the rest of the album’s tracks already in the can, he wanted “Fan” post-haste. The Dolls scrambled together an arrangement, somewhere between Keith Morris’ acoustic, stripped-down version from the movie soundtrack and the Jerks’ faster, L.A.-punk album-recording. Albano and bassist/vocalist Michelle Montavon sing lead, together. “We had to think quick,” Albano said. “A lot of people love the Circle Jerks, and there was a big chance of upsetting people more than making people happy... We wanted to get this anthem going throughout the song, because there are so many great lyrics. We wanted to build these characters in 2012 who have lost the incentive to go out for work... to believe brighter days are ahead of us, almost this zombie-chorus of no energy, leeching off the state. At the same time, we tried to make the music high-energy, garage-y, still punk-rock sounding... It was a roller-coaster ride, but we’re happy with it, that we were able to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with all these other artists.”
The Dolls’ go-to recording engineer, Justin Pizzoferrato (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr.), wasn’t available, so they recorded it in a single day at New London’s Pwop Studios, owned by Carl Franklin. The Repo Man tribute wasn’t released until September, but the Dolls — Albano, Montavon and drummer Matt Covey — went right back to work, gigging behind their excellent full-length, Prayers in Parking Lots, which was released in June. On the heels of Prayers, the Dolls are still meeting other bands, getting good press, killing it live and winning local awards, including Best Rock Band at this year’s Connecticut Music Awards and Alternative Single of the Year for the 7-minute track, “Smash” at the 2012 New London Whalie Awards. This week, they’ll play a year-ending show at New London’s Oasis Pub, sharing the bill with New Highway Hymnal and Velah, two of the most active bands in the Boston music scene.
The gig is a final push, Albano wrote in a follow-up e-mail, to promote the album “with extra vigor... We're trying to use it as a way to exorcise Prayers in Parking Lots and 2012 and start to focus on invoking the new ideas into the process, hitting the road with them.” The Dolls plan to record a follow-up EP in early 2013, a preview of whatever long-term direction they decide to go in. New songs, Albano said, are “starting to itch,” and the next direction looks “moody.” “There's already too many happy bands and we've always taken the road less traveled,” Albano wrote. “The problem is we want slower moody songs, we also want even faster rocking songs as well, we want the polarities of Parking Lots, if you will, but we want it to be honest and true, not instant.” That will take considerable experimentation, half in their basement and half on the road. “We're perfectly a true blend of people who are overly ambitious and active yet hopelessly slackers... I guess that's bipolar? Hopefully the next few weeks/months of road shows will show us the way.”
Writing and recording a full-length album can be galvanizing; you focus on a particular set of songs and carry that energy out into your live set. For some bands, that’s reason enough to record a new album: you create a model universe, then set out to recreate it on the stage, before ultimately starting the process all over again.
For Albano, that’s not the desired path. “We’ve chosen to be a road band, as opposed to a scene band,” Albano said. “Too many bands nowadays are quick to record an album, and then a month later look at that album like it’s 1,000 years old... I’ve never been too impressed with hyper-songwriting. Songs are like people: they have souls, and they need a little time to age. You need to give those songs a little time. Too many bands are quick to become bored with themselves. I think we are known as a band who gets to know themselves.”
A Tribune Broadcasting website
Various Artists – A Tribute to Repo Man
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Various Artists – A Tribute to Repo Man Rate This There’s two school of th...
Various Artists – A Tribute to Repo Man
There’s two school of thoughts regarding cover versions: one vehemently asks to don’t mess with a classic, another declares that it’s both a homage and a chance for newer generations to find the lesser known influences from the past. If you are in the second band and want to cover something, where to start and how much do you deviate from the original?
Mark Kozelek has been doing it for ages. He’s covered AC/DC, Modest Mouse and more, transforming them from their genres into beautiful acoustic numbers. Some of the songs were well known, others weren’t.
In the case of Repo Man (the film), it is a gem of a film that also serves as a perfect reflection of a punk scene (down to the posers crowd), while still being a veritable who’s who of proper punk (Circle Jerks, I’m looking at you!). The soundtrack is quite well revered (I hope it is!) and it’s a daunting task. So let’s go over this in a track by track manner:
‘Repo man’ is covered by Those Darlins, who crank the distortion up, keep the same pace and offer those lyrics about being worn out by the day to day grind a good injection of life. The dissatisfied lyrics still resonating in these hard times.
Plate of shrimp.
Polar Bear Club take on ‘TV party’ and although it’s still an honourable anthem to coach potatoes, the lyrics have been upgraded slightly (“Friday night lights!“), just to tap on the current Zeitgeist. Loud and brash.
2 tracks and you could argue that they aren’t pushing the envelope (which is cool, they love the original material too much) and then we run into Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra. Which song they covered? Suicidal Tendencies‘ ‘Institutionalised’. Look, I love the original, but this is fucking awesome. Again, changes to the lyrics because the protagonist is different, but the message (and the frantic desperation) is spot on, with the new musical arrangement adding 7 more layers of madness. This is quite a highlight (the sax solos are crazy). Someone buy her a Pepsi.
New York Rivals take on Circle Jerks and this is a Salomonic decision for me: the original is amazing and the post punky/spacey style of this might take away the aggressiveness of the original, but the message is still there, undiluted, like concentrate sulphuric acid in a pool of water: looks safe, care to dip in?
The one and only Black Francis takes on The Plugz‘s ‘El clavo y la cruz’. It’s the Lento Rodríguez to the Speedy González of the original and he’s made the song his own. This is cool by itself, but I’m more impressed by his Spanish accent. The solo is deliciously easy paced.
The Tellers make ‘Pablo Picasso’ a more fashionable track, an interesting take that has a pop suit well tailored for it (for someone who is only five foot thee). Mike Watt & The Second Men abandon hope and go into a happening. They return with warpaint on and a good cover version (I prefer A Perfect Circle‘s take myself, but this is good).
Have I mentioned that I like Circle Jerks? Their hilarious self-parody in the film and the acoustic version of ‘When the shit hits the fan’ were always a dear part of the film and The Suicide Dolls do their best to imprint their psychedelic garage on the track. I was going to dismiss this, but I stopped being a fucking fanboy and gave it a good grade, especially because when the cover seems to end, they then play it in a faster way (as it was re-recorded for Golden Shower of hits as a punkier track). This and Amanda Palmer‘s are the top cuts right now.
Matthew Sweet singing in Spanish. Did that sink in? He actually does a good job (miles better than Bryan Adams or Bon Jovi ever did) and the classy ‘Hombre secreto’ is a song that suits him quite well. Always loved the riff.
There’s only one character you should fear in Repo Man and that character is Lite. That’s why he had his own theme tune (which he also sang!) called ‘Bad Man’. The funky 80s track has received a Cybermen-styled make up, with a crunchy guitar lick accompanying the “fuck with me and I’ll 86 you, punk!” voice of Moses Coltrane. Take the car, man! I know you ain’t no cop!
‘Reel ten’ was the reverberated guitar ditty that guided us slowly to the skies. It was a frank tribute to the 50s style of rock and roll while still being a fresh track. Weekend‘s take on The Plugz classic pays tribute to 80s synth, with some darker atmospheres and swells (love the flanger filter – blast off!). Perfect cover.
Make me choose three tracks as the best ones in this collection and I’ll go for The Suicide Dolls, Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra and Weekend. Ask me if this makes a good tribute to an excellent album and I’ll answer yes. It respects the source material and adds its own style to each track. So eat a few pecan pies and listen with an open mind.
This album is out now on American Laudromat Records (link).
Weekly Playlist #17: Young Adults, Suicide Dolls, Earthquake Party, 02.21.13 @ T.T. The Bear's Place
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It’s been just more than two years since YOUNG ADULTS released their noisy blitz-punk debut LP Blac... It’s been just more than two years since YOUNG ADULTS released their noisy blitz-punk debut LP Black Hole. Since then, bassist Danny O’Neill (ex-Protokoll) joined the band and guitarist Chris Villon relocated to Northampton, but they remain one of Boston’s most viciously sludgy live acts, and finally return with new material. The Born in ’91 EP was recorded with Justin Pizzoferrato in Western Mass, and continues the trio's assault on our collective hearing. Born In '91 is out on Valentine's Day, which gives us a week to mentally prepare for the onslaught in store for February 21, when the 'Dults crash T.T. The Bear's Place in Cambridge.
This week’s playlist includes "Spectre," a new cut off the band's new EP, as well as equally racketing tracks from two other bands on next week's bill: Connecticut’s reckless-rock trio SUICIDE DOLLS, with a cut off last year's Prayers in Parking Lots; and a double dose off the Let's Rock, OK? EP from Allston’s fuzzy minute slingers EARTHQUAKE PARTY. The latest single from neo-gazers SOCCER MOM is also included after our download, for your streaming pleasures.
See you on February 21. Bring ear plugs, you wuss.
WFNX Boston Accents' Top 75 standout jams of 2012
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All Blogs >> On The Download >> [sound of the city] WFNX Boston Accents' Top 75 standout jams of 2012
[sound of the city] WFNX Boston Accents' Top 75 standout jams of 2012
Published Dec 27 2012, 02:35 PM by Michael Marotta
It was a pretty great year of Boston music in 2012. Several bands broke out of the imaginary confines of our city and brought our sound to global audiences, from Amanda Palmer to Converge to Passion Pit to the Dropkicks. But the real sounds of Boston were cultivated around Allston and Somerville, in Cambridge and Brookline, as well as all the surrounding cities and towns, all helping to craft a soundtrack of Boston that felt unparalleled compared to recent years. Here's a list of 75 standout jams from the past year, the tracks that filled the weekly playlists of Boston Accents, listed by band, alphabetically, with one rule: only one song selection per band. We could have listed 150, but decided to pool 75 and leave them unranked.
Not all are from specifically Boston; New England is represented, from Maine (Sunset Hearts) to Connecticut (Suicide Dolls), with a few entries from Western Mass (Speedy Ortiz, Potty Mouth). And some artists/bands have left Boston over the past year (Grand Resort, Black Light Dinner Party), but we've accounted for these songs being part of Boston in one way or another (the band having roots here, someone going to school here, etc.). We're not pretending like this is a defining list -- just the songs that defined Boston Accents.
Yesterday on the show, we spun 15 of these, and we'll spin another 15 more today, then get to as many as we can tomorrow, all airing live each day at 5pm EST on WFNX.com.
Thanks for listening.
Abadabad “All the Bros Say” -- Standout jam from September’s The Wild, breakout pick for 2013 ready to emerge from the Allston basements and clubs.
Air Traffic Controller “Hurry Hurry” – If this list was ranked, this would be a Top 5 selection. Nominated for Song of the Year in the 2012 Boston Music Awards, and probably should have won. Off the critically-acclaimed Nordo LP.
Amanda Palmer “Do It With A Rockstar” – Love her or hate her, or both, she had a pretty good 2012 and is one of our city’s nationally recognized music figures. Had some success with that Kickstarter thing.
Andre Obin “Lemondrop” – Somerville/Cambridge producer temporality shelves his Soviet-bloc techno for a chillwave vibe. The Electronic Artist of the Year in the 2012 BMAs.
Animal Talk “Mama Was A Teenage Rocker” – Post-dance indie rock band channels ‘70s classic rock with glorious results.
Art Decade “I Try” – Part of a larger conceptual vision from Ben Talmi, adding a theatric sound to rock and roll; off May’s Western Sunrise.
Autochrome “Senses” – Desolate punk-punk from a band that unfortunately is on hiatus; March’s Separation Realms one of the best records Factory never put out.
AVOXBLUE “The Confessional” – Jimmy Rossi’s icy synthpop a far cry from his psych-rock work with December Sound; off the A Place Without Time EP, which was recently re-released on blue vinyl.
Bad Rabbits “We Can Roll” – Teaser single off next year’s American Love and American Dreams LPs, which sure to blow up in 2013. Been waiting on new jams from the Rabbits crew for roughly two years, and “We Can Roll” is a heavy post-R&B number that pulverizes after just one listen. Stage-dive central.
Bathaus “Inferno” – Ladies and germs, witchhaus is not just for October anymore! Ashley Capachione’s choir-pop sounds are haunting.
Bearstronaut “Birds Of Prey” – Tanktop-pop goes disco as the former Lowell band relocated to Somerville and launches a thousand living room dance parties; off November’s Paradice EP.
Bent Shapes “Brat Poison” – The artist formerly known as Girlfriends spits scene vitriol in reminding us that “We could emulate a sunshine state, but New England’s dreaming.”
Birthdays “Howolding Girls” – Sammy Yager throws down some sunny vibes while experimenting with electronics, issuing a self-titled solo record that is more enjoyable the more you peel back the layers.
Black Light Dinner Party “Leave It All” – Boston-born quartet of producers now mostly reside in NYC, but keep turning out impressive electro-pop mini-anthems.
Bodega Girls “Surf’s Up America” – If this is Bodega’s swan song, they go out with a shout-out bang. Pretty awesome video, too, by the Loroto crew.
Caleb Groh “Catastrophic Culprit” – Former Happiest Lion spent 2012 creating engaging folk while entrancing with an unmistakable voice; off his March record Bottomless Coffee.
Camden “(Talking On The) Telephone” – Bratty rock and roll from January’s Getting Around 7-inch; new music on the way in early 2013.
Casey Desmond “Heartbeat” – Standout track off November’s Déjà Vu, the latest dance-party-starting record from Boston’s undisputed electro-pop queen and former contestant on NBC’s The Voice.
Caspian “Halls of the Summer” – Lush, expansive sounds from the Beverly post-rock outfit, off September’s seemingly-endless Waking Season, one of the best full-length records of 2012.
Color Channel “Get To Know The Person Next To You” – Electro-funk single that helped re-shape the Allston live dance party machine. Poised for a huge 2013.
Cooling Towers “Hard Headed Woman” – Commodore Vic and crew take their glam-rock leanings and filter it through a punk-punk lens.
Creaturos “James Day’s Milk Shake” – Noisy, brash tin-can garage rock from two of the dudes that used to make up Doomstar!; off the Swampp Thingg cassette release via pRIMORDIAL sOUNDS.
The Daily Pravda “The Race To Space” – From ’72 Bowie to ’94 Suede for the Allston glam-rock veterans.
The Dirty Dishes “Hush” – If there was one truly overlooked record out of Boston in 2012, it was The Most Tarnished Birds EP. The Dishes now split time between here and Los Angeles.
DOZE “Foxhunt” – Fairly new entry, only released a few weeks ago but aggressive post-hardcore that sets a brutal tone for the rest of The Dirts EP.
Earthquake Party “One More Night Could Ruin Us” – Latest EP Lets Rock, OK clocks in at three songs in just around four minutes, and the best minute-and-change come from this piece of fuzzed out bliss.
Eddie Japan “You Will Find Me Dead In My Comfort Zone” – The soundtrack for the dirty Main Street lounge you watched your sleazy uncle frequent to in the early ‘80s. By the time you were old enough to go, the place was long gone. And so was he.
Fat Creeps “Leave Her Alone” – Hooky cautionary tale from the lo-fi garage-rock darlings of the North Shore who broke out in a big way in 2012. Up next: national attention.
The Fatal Flaw “You Need To Know” – Joel Reader pens a power-pop song for his wife Ashley as she successfully battled cancer, but packs enough riffage and melody for it to stand up on its own even without the incredible and uplifting storyline.
The Field Effect “Ogunquit ME” – Straight up one of the most memorable tracks of 2012, off December’s Cartography LP. “I fell for you like rain” one of my favorite lyrical lines of the year.
Gentlemen Hall “Golden Age” – Widening the scope of our city’s music scene, these pop veterans continue to expand their sound and accumulate fans and supporters in Boston and beyond.
Glass Teeth “The Light” – “The evil that men do lives after them,” wrote Shakespeare. Enter Xavier Glass’s sinister dark-rave.
Grand Resort “Microscopic” – Andres Pichardo wrote the songs to Vanguard Dreams while living in Brookline and attending the New England Institute of Art. Now backed by full live band and living in Brooklyn.
Grass Is Green “Nice Guy of the Year Award” – One of the many attention-grabbing releases of Exploding in Sound, which dominated independent releases around Massachusetts in 2012. Off March’s Ronson record.
Hallelujah The Hills “Get Me In A Room” – Ryan H Walsh proves Ja Hills have plenty left in the literate-rock tank; off May’s No One Knows What Happens Next.
Infinity Girl “Please Forget” – Neo-shoegazers instantly reach cruising altitude and never look back. Then break up GO ON INDEFINITE HIATUS [ahem] after releasing one full length (Stop Being On My Side) and an EP (Just Like Lovers) in 2012. A brief but impressive mark from four unassuming dudes from Cambridge.
Lifestyle “Whereabouts Unknown” – Freezepop’s Sean Drinkwater re-boots his original synthpop project and shows all the new-jack electro bands how to craft a electronic composition with soul; off November’s Artificial EP.
The Luxury “Why Don’t You Cry Anymore (Like You Used To)” – Former winners of the Rock and Roll Rumble resurrect to show the Coldplay wannabes of the world how to write an indie rock jam fit for arenas.
Mean Creek “Young & Wild” – Anthem of 2012, one of a handful of ace tracks (Do You Know?,” “Shakey,” “You Were Wrong”) off Youth Companion, my favorite Boston rock record of the year, and the winner of Best Album in the 2012 BMAs.
"Young & Wild" by Mean Creek from loroto on Vimeo.
Mellow Bravo “Where The Bodies Lay” – No frills blues rock band keeping the grit alive with muscular songs and a bruising live show, one of a few megajams off their self-titled second record. Oh, this video kinda rules, too.
The Milling Gowns “Zenith” – Another late entry, taking the sound of early ‘80s Manchester and sprinkling it across Somerville streets. Gloomy post-punk for the optimistic folk, best served cold with a side of Munich. Off the Something Dangerous Loves Me EP.
MMOSS “Okay” – New Hampshire psych-folk continue to churn out some of the best live performances in New England. Off November’s Only Children record.
The New Highway Hymnal “Out With The Lights” – First single off Whispers from the Massachusetts psych-punk crew. Be warned: vocalist Hadden Stemp will get in your face during a live show.
Night Fruit “Human Touch” – Possible finale from Cambridge dream-pop trio, but could also just be the first single off a new record in 2013.
Orca Orca “Say So” – Jimmy Hewitt once crafted these dreamy post-punk songs alone in his Allston bedroom, recording vocals in his car so his roommates couldn’t hear him. Now has a full band (featuring members of Qualms) and one of the better live shows around town.
Organ Beats “Living Without You” – Massachusetts power-pop veterans masters at writing a hook. First single off November’s Goldenheart LP, and it fails to get old after dozens and dozens of spins.
Parks “Sweater Weather” – New pop project from Oranjuly’s Brian E. King predicts a prosperous 2013 on the horizon.
Parlour Bells “Bachelor Hours” – The shades are pulled down on Glenn di Benedetto and Nathaniel Leavitt’s noir-pop project, and this is the seductive standout on their dance with moonlight, Thank God For The Night.
Passion Pit “Take A Walk” – As heard on the Doritos Loco Taco Bell commercial (“Take a guac, anyone?), Boston-born Passion Pit deliver on high-pressured sophomore album Gossamer. Maybe not even the best track on the record (“Constant Conversations”? “I’ll Be Alright”?) but it's a song that was everywhere in 2012 and helped define the year.
Pile “Prom Song” – Another five-finger face-punch from the Exploding in Sound crew; off October’s Dripping.
The Pomps! “Icepack” – Thousandth-wave ska with a fresh feel is no easy feet, but pulled off by this project featuring members of the Sterns, Have Nots, and Void Union.
Potty Mouth “Hazardville” – Western Mass is blowing the fuck up (Psychic Blood, Speedy Ortiz, Bunny’s A Swine, Chris Villon of Young Adults), but the Sun Damage 12-inch stands out. Released on three different Massachusetts labels at the same time. That’s how great it is. Also of note: “Dog Song.”
Pretty & Nice “Capsules” – Get herky, get jerky, bend yourself all fucked up to Boston’s most innovative and anti-linear guitar-rock band. Off November’s Us You All We EP.
Qualms “Thousands” – Easton, Mass., goes glossy with a lullaby sound for the 3pm Benedryl generation; off October’s Honeylung record.
The Rationales "Radio" -- Boston rock veterans continue to deliver hook-laden songs immune from trends or fickle demands.
RIBS “Alarms” – From start to finish, Russian Blood is a mesmerizing post-millennial rock and roll record, and the blistering riffs in “Alarms” takes it even higher. Named Best Rock Act in the 2012 BMAs.
RM Hendrix “Summer Dresses (Ivorine & Chai)” – Cambridge solo artist constantly charting a new C86/shoegaze course while maintaining a very low profile.
Ruby Ridge “Annie Christian” – Art-damaged electro-punk that contorts and confronts from John and Callan Bittrich. Off the Intent EP.
RULE “Sucker” – Hard-rock with a non-cheesy early-‘80s Manowar flair from a Voltron band of Boston music scene veterans.
Seer Group “Wounded Animal” – Collaborative effort led by Jason Rozen and company (Elijah Wyman, Eleni Castro, etc.) delivered some of the smoothest synthpop out of Boston in 2012. March’s Owlpine had several gems on it, but none stronger than this throbbing low-end number.
Slowdim “Money” – Back in February, Paul Sentz rode a catchy jangle-pop train from the station to the destination, setting the stage for this March’s upcoming full-length.
Speedy Ortiz “Taylor Swift” – Named Best New Band in Massachusetts in the 2012 Boston Phoenix 50 Bands 50 States feature, and they delivered with this single and the Exploding in Sound 10-inch, Sports. Beautifully noisy, sludgy, grungy, and vulgar.
SPF 5000 “Doorknocker” – Somerville electro-funk trio lay down the beat and crash every dance party in town. More than seven-plus minutes of shimmy n’ shake.
Stephie Coplan & the Pedestrians “Jerk” – The last great FM radio success story? While attending Tufts Miss Coplan sent in this track to WFNX, and we spun it two hours later, instantly placing a star over the innocent smile of the piano-pounding songwriter with venom in her lyrics.
Streight Angular “Supermarche” – Al Polk was everywhere in 2012, for better or worse, and “Supermarche” finds the garage rock band at their full-frontal awesome-est.
Suicide Dolls “Drive” – Connecticut rock trio go into overdrive with a relentless, almost-industrial bitz; Off January’s Prayers in Parking Lots.
Sunset Hearts “Past Lives” – Our Maine pick in the Phoenix’s 50 Bands 50 States, Casey McCurry and his collective take M83’s blazing sonic template and reshape their electro-pop in the shadows of New England melancholy.
The Symptoms “Don’t Leave” – Young Allston quartet graduated high school outside of Boston back in June, but show potential with this experimental pop gem that borders on trip-hop.
Velah “Skeleton House” – Led by former Static of the God Jen Johnson and her soaring-yet-soothing voice, anyone who bought this yearning rock number online missed out on one of the most creative physical 7-inch packaged crafted in 2012.
Viva Viva “Dead In Yr Tracks” – One of Boston’s best live rock and roll bands pull it back for half this joint, then slowly build back up to a bluesy drunken ruckus only they could create.
Western Education “All I Am” – The first song spun on the re-launched Boston Accents back in October, as this Lowell quartet threw down one of the best tracks of 2012, a furious joyride modern-rock jam with a choral breakdown right when its least expected.Off this month's The Weekend Sessions.
White Dynomite “White Dynomite” – Dave Unger is an Allston-walking cheetah with a heart full of napalm and garage rock bombs.
Yale Massachusetts “Danger City Population Me” – In under two minutes Yale Mass kicked the pop-punk labels in the balls, and got tons of shit thrown at them in the process. Bah bah-da, bah!
You Won’t “Who Knew” – The minimalist beauty in the standout track from February’s Skeptic Goodbye was an underrated folk success, and made us hope that somehow, some way, this duo earns a spot on next year’s Newport Folk Fest lineup.
Young London “Call My Name (Tonight)” – Doing the dirty work of breaking down Boston’s long-standing rock and roll walls one dance party at a time, all the while adding some electro-pop bliss to our city’s ever-evolving soundtrack. Nominated for Song of the Year in the 2012 BMAs.
Filed Under: Boston, WFNX, Boston Accents
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Boston Emissions with Anngelle Wood: Year In Favorites 2012
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Thinking back through the year, there are tons of songs, records, shows, happenings and people who p...Thinking back through the year, there are tons of songs, records, shows, happenings and people who provide favorites from 2012.
Here are some of those.
Boston Emissions playlist – December 30, 2012
Kingsley Flood – Pick Your Battles from Battles, 2013
— Coming Attractions! New KF due in Feb. Next hometown show is St, Feb 9 at Brighton Music Hall. Their star will continue to rise.
Camden – Talking (On the Telephone) from Getting Around, 2012
—Love this pop/punk triumph.
The Organ Beats – Goldenheart from Goldenheart, Nov 2012
—Great record from a great band. I especially love the title track.
Christie Prince – Roam from Vanilla Girl, July 2012
–A favorite discovery from Summer of 2012
Mellow Bravo – Leave When You Please from Mellow Bravo, 2012
—Lots of favorites here. I love the record, I love the songs. I love to see them live. Truly some of the best people. Favorites all around.
mellowbravo1 Boston Emissions with Anngelle Wood: Year In Favorites 2012
Vivian Darkbloom – I’m Not What You Need from Know Your Exit, Feb 2012
—I heart VD. This was on the list as soon as it came out in early 2012. Not sure what the band is up to now but this is a stellar one-off if that’s all we get.
Ted Billings – American Bedroom from American Bedroom, Dec 2012
—Ted, formerly known for his great work in Age Rings, brings us this solo gem. Despite getting scolded by him publicly for making fun of Kanye West’s 12/12/12 performance, I think this record is tops. Ted is genius, Kanye not so much.
Mean Creek – Do You Know? from Youth Companion, Oct 2012
—Talk about a band getting it done. MC deserves every accolade they’ve gotten. I want everything and more for them. This song stands out for me, super props to Erik’s solid bass line.
The Suicide Dolls – Drive from Prayers in Parking Lots, June 2012
—Boston Emissions is about supporting New England rock as well as Boston proper. The Dolls, from Connecticut, have been playing in the city more than some Boston bands. Great job on this one.
Ruby Rose Fox – The Dread from Ruby Rose Fox, July 2012
—I look forward to the year ahead for Ruby. She has a supremely unique and refreshing style. I probably played this song 500 times alone in my car.
Mount Peru – Lay Low Geronimo from Your Kingdom’s Come Undone, March 2012
—Loved this song from the moment I heard it. Cannot go wrong with hand claps in my book. I dig their rock-meets-alt-country-add-a-trumpet-singer-sounds-like -Van-Morrison sound.
Waylon Speed – Silver and Gold from Valance, 2012
—I’d heard a lot about WS and finally saw them at Tweed River Music Festival this past Summer. They have this shit down tight. Underground Outlaw Dirt Rock you say? The Devil Came Down From Burlington (VT).
OldJack – Radio from White Label Series, March 2012
—This year is rife with favorites. We have managed to build a family in the music community. One of my favorite ambassadors is Dan Nicklin. He carries the good word about what I do with the show, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble and made sure to take me with him to the BMAs this year when he found out I wasn’t included or invited. It’s good to have friends.
Garvy J. – Will To Live from Will To Live, Feb 2013!
—Josh/Garvy J. is another one of the relationships built from our time at this year’s Rumble. We did many shows of note this year. I look very forward to the release of this new Garvy J. – and the Secret Pockets of Hope and Resistance – EP. He is a tremendous talent and people need to hear him.
The Field Effect – Ogunquit, ME from Cartography, Dec 2012 (previously released on bandcamp, Aug 2012)
—Big year for TFE and they are just getting started. Here’s to the best new band of 2012, cheers to a bigger 2013.
The Appreciation Post – The Stroke from the Appreciation Post Covers, 2012 (bandcamp)
—I enjoy this maybe more than a person should. And it’s certainly the closest I will get to playing Billy Squier on Boston Emissions. Tasty jam, kids.
Sherman Burns – Bog Machine from Night Fires, 2011
—One of my favorite Rumble moments: watching the crowd reaction to Sherman Burns’ set. They were ridiculous and went on to wild card into the semi-finals.
—-Tues, Dec 31 at Radio upstairs and downstairs, NYE with Whitey, Tenafly Vipers, Daniel Costa from the Under // Sidewalk Driver, Eldridge Rodriguez
Cult 45 – Point Your Finger from On High,2013
—First major release of the New Year! Fri, Jan 4 at Radio, Union Square, Somerville with Chelsea on Fire (reunion!), White Dynamite, Slim Lizzy
—-Now featuring Jeff Fultz of Mellow Bravo too. Beautiful art design by bass player, Bob Maloney! (Song is not available on their bandcamp but enjoy)
Emma Ate The Lion – Patterns & Fingerprints from Nothing Important Happened Today, July 2011
—A favorite find of 2012. They have nothing new until early 2013, I’ve asked, but I wanted to share them as part of things to look forward to in the new year.
Mals Totem – Strangest Motion from Strangest Motion, release due Jan 5, 2013.
–This came in just this week.
—No public link to post at this time but please like them – https://www.facebook.com/MalsTotem
The Color and Sound – Graves from The Color and Sound, Nov 2012
—Brand new find. I love to share. Here’s to 2013 and new discoveries.
Art Decade – Weapon from Western Sunrise, May 2012
—The more I hear them, the more I like them.
Parlour Bells - Airwaves from Thank God for the Night, 2012 (also a Summer 2012 single)
—What started as one of the 24 Rumble bands of 2012 became so much more. This is a band that stepped up and way out and solidified their place as one of the year’s best. Yes, relationships were established and we went on to work on many other projects together including this “We Want The Airwaves’ event when 101.7 WFNX went to sleep forever (I used to work there and teamed with some former colleagues to put the send off show together).
Dear Leader – Youngstown from Dear Leader, Sept 2012
—This seemed like it was one of those, “Oh, yeah, so here’s a song” DL bandcamp releases this fall. Ridiculously good. Best line, “the whole state of Florida gives me the creeps.” Here we go, 2013.
HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE! See you back here next week. In the meantime, support these bands. Go see some shows. Make something happen.
Plus, news on the 2013 Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble!
Thank you to John and Richard for showing up.
WailingCity Year End Survey
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Home » Announcements » WailingCity Year End Survey 2012
WailingCity Year End Survey 2012
by Corrine Jensen & Meghan Kllimade
2012. This year the world didn't end... but we did lose some amazing bands to hiatuses and hibernations and sadly, we lost some very talented and loved local music legends.
But through good times and bad, sad times and happy ones, our little scene has continued to evolve and create and impress and no matter what, we’ve always kept the music playing.
Recently we asked a few local musicians and music lovers to name their favorite artist, song and shows of 2012. We also included their hopes for 2013.
We at WailingCity.com look forward to 2013 and all the possibilities it holds and want to thank those who have supported us, and our scene this past year. Cheers!
Marko Fontaine: (DJ at WCNI & WECS / Show goer)
Band: The Suicide Dolls
Song: The Skobie Won/Erik Lamb remix of Daphne Lee Martin & Raise The Rent's "Nostradamos"
Shows: Steve Kaika benefit at Hygienic Art Park and "Rave On Reducers Tribute" CD release at the Rose Barn
2013: Brazen Hussy shows!!
Jaime Duquette: (Bass player at Raise The Rent & CBYD Jazz Trio, show-goer)
Artist: Thor Jensen
Song: "Molotov" - Daphne Lee Martin and Raise The Rent
Shows: Some memorable performances...
The Hoolios at Capt. Scott's
The CBYD Trio, 11/12, The Bean and Leaf
Paul Brockett Roadshow @ Jonathan Edwards Winery
Daphne Lee Martin and Raise the Rent @ The Stone Fleet Tavern
Madam Macadam @ 33 Golden
2013: Paul Brockett Roadshow@ Jonathan Edwards Winery, band-o-matic, music at Hygienic Art Park...
Anne Castellano: (DJ at WCNI / musician Anne Castellano, show-goer)
Band: The Hoolios. Amazing songwriting by Jim Carpenter, and great musicianship all around. May widespread success be theirs in the coming year.
Song: "Mike's Backyard" by the Franklin Brothers. Just TRY to not sing along to this.
Show: The entire Reducers tribute show at the Rose Barn Theater in September. A room full of love and great music.
2013: Surprise me. Really!
Karrie Bulger: (DJ at WCNI / Show goer / The Telegraph crew)
Band: 2012... What a year! I've met and become friends with so many amazing musicians this year, so it's really difficult to choose just one... so I won't haha.
The Suicide Dolls - KILLED it with Prayers in Parking Lots. DAMN!!!
The Sea The Sea - (((SWOON)))
Sidewalk Dave - Hard On Romance
Every single thing Matt Potter does- ever. So. much. talent.
DLM- aka Daphne Lee Martin- the direction she has taken with her latest album - Moxie - blows my mind. Fuzzy Rainbow producing it - perfection.
Song: “Ocean State of Mind” by Kaiser Vilhelm tied with “Islands” and “Don't Hold Your Breath” by Fake Babies.
Shows: Again- can't choose just one...
MADNESS W/ THE FIELD RECORDINGS
SUMMER JAMZ 2012.
Record Store Day @ The Telegraph- 4.21.12
Brown Bird @ The Oasis- 2.25.12
Langhorne Slim @ The Telegraph- 10.23.12
2013: I'm excited to see what Sir Daniel Gallo has up his sleeve for THE FIELD RECORDINGS.
John Fries: (musician John Fries Music, show-goer)
Artists: Me of course! Just kidding. My Picks are... Band: Ryan Hartt & the Blue Hearts; Singers: The MacLean Sisters; DJ: Frank Lo
Song: "US 50", Ok just kidding again! "Call My Name" by Ryan Hartt & the Blue Hearts
Show: The Tribute show for Karl Kelly, it was amazing. The love in the room was like nothing I've ever seen. This version of "Whipping Post" was from the night: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsmxPbROC3k
2013: Outdoor shows at the Hygienic Art Park starting up again, it's my favorite place to play in New London.
Rich Martin: (Co-owner of The Telegraph / bassist in Brazen Hussy & Low-Beam / Hygienic Art board)
Band: Impossible!!! Just one? Can't do it!
Best Rock: The Suicide Dolls
Best Americana / Blues: John Fries Band
Best Rap/Hip Hop: Camacho and The Fly Ones
Best New Act: Street People
and The Still Killing it After All These Years Award: Fatal Film
Song: Can I have two?
The Suicide Dolls “Senses” & Elison Jackson “Man from Lowell”
Shows: The Steve Kaika tribute show at the Hygienic Art Park
Lee Ranaldo Band at the Hygienic Art Park
I AM Fest returns with a move up into the downtown
Man Forever hypnotic zen drum set at 33
The Suicide Dolls blowing up all over the place!
2013: Round two of The Rock Lobster band-o-matic!
The release of Daphne Lee Martin's 'Moxie'
I AM Fest on September 7!
Corrine Jensen: (staff writer for WailingCity.com / show-goer)
Band: How do you not love Full Moon Jamboree? The combo of those 4 guys is amazing and it's nice to see the acclaimed Joey Royale back up on stage where he makes it all look effortless and cool, a true showman.
Song: For me it was “US 50” by John Fries. That song was meant for sunny day car rides down cruisin’ down the highway.
Show: Though we’ve lost many bands this year, Gone for Good was the first local band to break my heart. I’ll always remember the energy of their last show and I’m glad I took a copy of their set list off the stage for my collection!
2013: Moxie by Daphne Lee Martin, Guns Talk, Money Whispers by Erik Lamb, Red Over Red by Bedroom Rehab Corporation, seeing Brazen Hussy perform, new music from Will Evans, and seeing YOU at a show!
Meghan Killimade: (drummer of Paul Brockett Roadshow & Bedroom Rehab Corporation / Admin & founder of WailingCity.com)
Band: There's just no way to pick one... Wrist Like This , The Suicide Dolls and Daphne Lee Martin
Best New Bands of 2012/Bands to watch: With all the bands we lost this year, a few new bands did pop up!! Street People, who erupted at some point in 2011, but really made thier mark this year if you ask me; Slander, a new super group from Mystic; Horns of Ormus which formed out of the ashes of Missing Cat; and punk rockers Modern Primates. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing and hearing from these new bands in the coming year!
Song: For me, it had to be "Nothing Cool" by The Reducers - it was the song we, (Paul Brockett Roadshow) covered for The Reducers Tribute album this year. We also got the chance to play the song at the tribute show... WITH PETER! So honored! It meant so much to us to be a part of it!!
Show: Hands down had to be The Reducers Tribute show at the O'Neil in September. We lost Reducers bassist Steve Kaika to a courageous battle with cancer in June... it was a heavy loss for our scene, our community and Reducers fans worldwide. This tribute show was a wonderful way to celebrate Steve's life and the music of the Reducers.
2013: Hoping to see more people out at the shows in the new year... SUPPORT LOCAL MUSIC... spread the word about shows, and occupy a venue! I'd also really love to see some sort of Reducers tribute (or something like this) happen annually. I'm also really looking forward to the release of our, (Bedroom Rehab Corporation)'s debut record Red Over Red to come out in January!
Adam Wujtewicz: (bassist of Bedroom Rehab Corporation / Music Reviews for WailingCity.com)
Band: The Suicide Dolls. They are the hardest working and doing adventurous things sonically within more standard rock structures. They've been a huge inspiration on BRC and are just generally cool people.
Best new band of 2012: Horns of Ormus. It’s been a revolving door of names and 1 member change since they were Monster Factory but I think they’ve found a sound that really shows their strengths and I’m excited to see what they come up with.
Show: I think the best moment for the New London music scene this year was the The Reducers Tribute show at the O'Neil. It was such a great show of love and respect for a band that has paved the way for all of us. On top of that I got to share the stage with Paul Brockett Roadshow and Peter Detmold of The Reducers to sing a “Bastards of Young”, that’s something I’ll remember forever.
2013: I’m looking forward to a few things in 2013 (in no particular order). I’m looking forward to seeing more bands play outside of New London and CT and then bring the bands they meet back here. I’m looking forward to the evolution of Daphne Lee Martin as a solo artist, she’s got some super interesting twists in style coming out and it should be cool to watch. I’m looking forward to the release of Red Over Red, Bedroom Rehab Corporation's debut LP, we couldn’t be more proud of the way it came out and I’m excited to see how people react.
Copyright © 2013 WailingCity.com. All rights reserved.
Suicide Dolls caps a good year at Oasis Pub
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It was just a monstrously great year for New London's Suicide Dolls - and good for them. They releas...It was just a monstrously great year for New London's Suicide Dolls - and good for them. They released the superb "Prayers in Parking Lots" album in June; won Best New Act at the New England Music Awards in Boston; won Best Connecticut Rock Band at the Connecticut Music Awards in Hartford; and won Album of the Year and Best Alternative Song at New London's Whalie Awards.
And that's just the tip of the Dollsian iceberg!
In celebration, they're playing an end-of-year show Saturday in New London's Oasis Pub. Included in the fun are two excellent Boston bands: New Highway Hymnal and Velah.
- RICK KOSTER
Grand Band Slam 2012: BEST ROCK
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Best Rock: the Suicide Dolls The Suicide Dolls' muscular, propulsive sound calls to mind the burl...Best Rock: the Suicide Dolls
The Suicide Dolls' muscular, propulsive sound calls to mind the burly, post-punk-rooted underground rock of the '90s more than it does most of the indie buzz bands of the past decade or so, and bassist/vocalist Michelle Montavon acknowledges that. "There's not a lot of us left," she says of their breed. And yet, there's a lot in their music for diverse crowds to latch onto — the push-and pull between her singing and Brian Albano's declamatory vocals, Albano's use of rich guitar tones and squalls of noise, a pop sensibility behind the arc of their songs, a bit of menace and an approachable form. "We're not using the major notes," Montavon says. "We're a really emotional band." And yet, she says of the Suicides' audiences and fellow musicians, "we're always warmly embraced. Some of the punk bands like us and some of the metal bands, the shoegaze bands." They recently opened for hardcore punk band Ceremony and new wave vets the Fixx three days apart — "and it worked!," she says. Longtime road warriors, the Suicide Dolls are currently playing around four shows per month supporting their recent album, Prayers in Parking Lots, says Montavon, "and most of them are out of town" (they're based in New London). In October, they're releasing a single containing their cover of the Circle Jerks' "When the Shit Hits the Fan," which they recorded for a new tribute to the Repo Man soundtrack, and Montavon says the band is entering a "writing frenzy," with new songs sounding "a little softer and a little harder."
Ceremony Living Laser, and The Suicide Dolls 6/13/2012 at The Space, Hamden CT
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Admittedly, I haven’t been the biggest Ceremony fan in the past. That changed in a big way when they...Admittedly, I haven’t been the biggest Ceremony fan in the past. That changed in a big way when they made the jump to Matador Records and released Zoo, what I consider their finest album to date. When I heard that Manic Productions would be booking Ceremony at The Space in Hamden, CT, with Living Laser and The Suicide Dolls, I knew I needed to experience what this new direction for the band sounded like live.
New London, CT’s The Suicide Dolls, opened the show. The Dolls are a three-piece comprised of guitar, bass, and drums, with guitarist Brian Albano and bassist Michelle Montavon sharing vocal duties. Albano’s guitar style employs a lot of reverb and plenty of fuzz, with him playing not only some crazy riffs and leads, but also employing slide-guitar techniques to create a wall of noise. Montavon’s chunky bass lines take center-stage in most songs by the Dolls, driving the songs forward with their thunder. Holding everything together is drummer Matt Covey (also of Shai Hulud), who employs some soft mallet techniques in his drum arsenal, and keeps the band moving forward from song to song. With virtually no breaks between songs, the Dolls ripped through an almost half-hour set. I sensed a strong vibe of ‘80s dark wave and ‘90s noise rock in their songs, especially in Albano’s guitar sound, and it gave the Dolls one of the more interesting sounds I’ve heard in awhile.
After The Suicide Dolls, Living Laser took the stage, and the crowd packed in for their set. I’d heard some hype about Living Laser, so prior to the show I went online to check out some tracks and enjoyed what I’d heard. Living Laser is a hardcore punk band from Poughkeepsie, NY who has been together for about three years. According to their singer who I spoke with briefly after their set, they started out as a fun side project that turned more serious when their other bands called it quits.
Without much ado, Living Laser quickly began ripping through songs and the crowd went nuts for them. Their songs featured super-catchy riffs including fast, thrashy parts and breakdowns that made everyone in the room want to dance. Added to this mix were vocals which are sung-shouted and not screamed; the result was a band that I’m now very stoked on. Look for a review of their cassette Ragged Glory in a future issue. On stage, Living Laser’s singer gives the band all their stage presence. He leaps through the air and generally goes crazy while simultaneously screaming his lungs out. Overall, I was impressed by Living Laser and can’t wait to check out their new 7” that will be coming out on Trip Machine in the near future.
After a short break at the end of Living Laser’s set, it was finally time for Ceremony. Filling in on drums for the band on this tour was Val from Punch and Loma Prieta, who played amazingly, despite having problems with one of his feet requiring wearing a brace. They opened with “Hysteria,” the single from their latest album Zoo, and everyone went nuts. The last time I saw Ceremony was when they opened for Refused at Terminal 5 in New York. Their reception in Hamden, CT was worlds apart from the crossed arms and barely nodding heads they received from the audience at that show. There was not a single person standing idly here, as the band tore through a setlist of seventeen songs from throughout their discography. Crowd favorites included “Open Head,” and “Sick” from the Rohnert Park LP, along with “Citizen,” and “World Blue” from Zoo, among many others.
It might just be me, but it sounds like Ceremony has reinterpreted many of their old favorites when they play them live, giving them the same fuzzed-out vibe as their Zoo tracks. This might simply be the use of different pedal effects than what they’ve employed on previous records, but in any case, it’s a sound that I’m very into.
As the set went on, the crowd began to take over the stage, overwhelming singer Ross, and the rest of the band. One guy had the clever idea to stage dive off the side of the stage, instead of off the front of the stage, into myself and a group of people. In the process, he stepped all over guitarist Anthony Anzaldo’s pedal board set up, unplugging and mangling it beyond hope of quick repair. Anzaldo looked ready to smash the dude over the head with his guitar, but instead plugged directly into his amp and continued to play. His pedal setup was not the only piece of equipment to get thrashed around during the band’s set. The venue’s floor monitors were also knocked about by the enthusiastic crowd.
Towards the end of Ceremony’s set, water began suddenly pouring from the ceiling and ceiling tiles soggy with water disintegrated on the crowd below. Staff attempted to put some buckets down to catch the dripping water, but they lasted until the band resumed playing. Once the next song started, the buckets were quickly scattered by dance floor chaos. The band concluded their set with a mix of favorites including “Repeating the Circle,” “The Doldrums,” and “Kersed,” the last of which is from their album Violence Violence. It was a solid end to a memorable performance. If you have yet to hear Zoo, or to see Ceremony live recently, I strongly suggest you do so. The band is at their absolute best right now, in terms of both sound and performance, and they are not to be missed.
Complete Ceremony Setlist:
Into the Wayside
The Difference Between Looking and Seeing
He – God – Has Favored Our Undertakings
Repeating the Circle
I Want to Put This to an End
Various Artists - A Tribute to Repo Man--American Laundry's Tribute is both a worthy and formidable task
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Alex Cox's 1984 cult classic film Repo Man is a film I connect with on so many levels. In addition t...Alex Cox's 1984 cult classic film Repo Man is a film I connect with on so many levels. In addition to its being my favorite punk rock film, a story that is both funny and bizarrely paranoid in a way that both captures and parodies the overall feel of America during the Cold War, it had a soundtrack that was absolutely spectacular. Before I'd even seen the film, I had the soundtrack on a black plastic cassette someone had given me, simply bearing the words "REPO MAN" on the side in magic marker. This tape would be the soundtrack for many nights cruising in my car, and cranked at just as many skate sessions. It was just as much the soundtrack to my life at the time as it was for the film.
When I heard that American Laundry Records would be releasing A Tribute To Repo Man, with a bunch of new artists recreating the original soundtrack, I was both elated and nervous. Would it match up to the power of the original, which featured the likes of Iggy Pop, Black Flag, Suicidal Tendencies and Circle Jerks? Would the bands do the tracks justice? Would the bands chosen for the album even be worthy of it, or would this just be like those numerous and painful Punk Goes... compilations.
The only way to find out was to simply press play and see.
In order for this album to be successful (to me anyway), it would need to come on strong, with a flawless cover of Iggy Pop's "Repo Man," the theme to the film. It would need to embody the paranoia of Iggy's surreal cover, without being a tired rehash. And Nashville's Those Darlins proved up to the task, delivering their take on the original with a way that grabs hold of its paranoid feel from moment one. Polar Bear's cover of Black Flag's "TV Party" is just as perfect, holding onto the punk energy, and mindless fun of the original, updating the show titles to something more present day without coming across as a parody.
One of the tracks that I was more excited and afraid to hear was how Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra would handle Suicidal Tendencies thrash classic "Institutionalized," wondering if Palmer would go for its original fury or simply turning into something overly artsy. Once again, I had no reason to fear, as always Palmer delivers with a track that, despite having a horn section, is an aggressive and paranoid tune, displaying Palmer in a seriously intense light, maintaining both elements of the thrash-heavy nature of the original and Palmer's theatrical nature that has elevated her to being the true queen of the punk cabaret. While it can't quite compare with the original, taking on that song in any sort of serious fashion is a lofty goal, and Palmer's result needs to be applauded for its effort, integrity and sincerity.
Not every track hits the mark of 100 percent satisfaction for me. New York Rival's cover of the Circle Jerks is a bit overblown, with elements of death rock and without the energy of the original, while The Tellers version of the The Burning Sensations' "Pablo Picasso," itself a cover of Jonathan Richman's original is a lilting funky version that doesn't compare with the soundtrack version (although to be fully fair, the Sensations set their versions to "The Peter Gunn Theme" and really tore it up with a version that would be hard to match.
But for each of those tracks that don't quite hit the mark are mutiple tracks that do. Black Francis & Spanish For Hitchhiking produce a take on the Plugz' "El Clavo Y La Cruz" that is a drfting melodic improvement on the original, and Mike Watt & The Everyman's cover of Fear's "Let's Have A War," while light on the hardcore energy, takes a dirty organ-fueled approach that rocks hard.
The Suicide Dolls cover the Circle Jerks' "When The Shit Hits The Fan" (which the band performed as a lounge act in the film) in a fuzzed-out approach that sounds almost exactly how I'd expect the Vaselines to take on the punk classic, and Matthew Sweet's version of The Plugz' "Hombre Secreto" (A Spanish Cover of "Secret Agent Man") is fun and satisfactory, while Moses Coltrane's delivery of Juicy Bananas' "Bad Man" is another track that goes beyond the original, becoming an even more bad ass cruising song than the original - and that is no mean feat.
"Reel Ten," by The Plugz, which closed out the original soundtrack, always seemed like an afterthought, as does Weekend's cover on the tribute. Weekend has turned it into a dark dreamy soundscape with a big lush sound. It's not bad for what it is, but like the original, I tend to skip past it and back to front, to catch the theme once again.
At its whole, Tribute is nowhere near as good as the original - but how could it be? The original was influential and virtually perfect - why else would it merit a tribute? Attempting to recreate a masterpiece is difficult because of the fact that the original is a masterpiece in the first place. It's a lofty aspiration that will ultimately pale in comparison. One's only hope is to match up in a way that's not embarrassing, and on Tribute the effort is a worthy one, not at all lacking. It's not a matter of "At least we tried," so much as it's "I'm glad we tried, because we made a damn good record."
(06/11/2012) The Fixx, Suicide Dolls and Livin at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory 6/10/2012
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(*Note--Suicide Dolls Review AFTER the Fixx is review) If one stepped outside and looked up, they...(*Note--Suicide Dolls Review AFTER the Fixx is review)
If one stepped outside and looked up, they would have been a witness to a blood drenched atmosphere coated by the aftermath of Cy Curnin’s ardent vocals, as The Fixx opened up with their classical “Red Skies.” The legendary British band that had once occupied the airwaves on MTV during the early 80’s was now performing those same hits that had brought them critical acclaim, at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory. Cy Curnin’s analogy of the band’s longevity of “a fine wine that has aged well in the bottle,” is perfectly accurate, and as much as it is an elegant depiction, his humorous reason for the band’s formation and permanence drew laughter from the packed venue as he explained, “We formed this band so we wouldn’t have to hear our parents having sex, and they’re still healthy. So we’re still in the band.”
With a batch of new material, The Fixx proves that they have not lost a step, and in fact, display an element that cannot be taught—a provocative aura, firmly clutching the audience’s attention. Dan K. Brown fluently played his bass guitar, smoothly reserved and composed as Adam Woods maintained the rhythm on the drums. James West-Orum’s silky display on guitar complimented the tangled web of instrumentation by the band in a phenomenal manner. The emphasis on keyboards coming from Rupert Greenall rounded out the alluring signature sound that The Fixx is known for. “This is how you start a fire,” said Curnin as the band proceeded to play the title-track to their upcoming album, “Beautiful Friction.” The song was mellow with traces of sensuality and as Curnin jestingly mentioned, the original mix of the song was four hours long. The Fixx extended their performance about 30 minutes longer than expected. Each member of the band stood side by side, drenched in sweat as they looked out into the audience, humbly embracing the adoration before they finally left stage after a remarkable performance.
Scorching guitars, a subtle bass line and some slow, hard hitting drums was our introduction into the Suicide Dolls. The tempo continuously sped up until vocalist/bassist, Michelle Suicide’s voice leaked out of the speakers, amongst the band’s chaotic music. Her voice added a subtle melody to the band’s aggressive sound, combined with the hypnotic state she falls into when strumming the strings of her bass guitar, she rocks hard. Their focus and attention to detail is apparent as they were able to deliver an intense performance, carefully executing with surgical precision. Vocalist/guitarist, Brian Suicide’s howling voice meshes well with the band’s hard and noisy method of attack. Each member of the band feeds off one another, but without the impassioned barrage that the drums receive at the hands of Matt Covey, the Suicide Dolls would be missing an important cog. The energy that was distributed by the Suicide Dolls appropriately set the stage for The Fixx.
The night began with the funky grooves of Livin. The guitar strings are playfully intertwined with an uplifting spirit, backed by guitarist, David Stann’s exuberance. Livin performed an array of hip and boisterous songs, including “Living in Space” and “Text Message.” Lead singer and guitarist, Teddy Ames has a smooth voice which he delivered effortlessly throughout the opening set. After Livin finished, you could hear whispers of how much people enjoyed the music and their performance. Livin prides themselves in creating “soulful, funky and new music with a groove just for you,” and that is exactly what they delivered during this warm night in June.
(03/01/2012) Recording Noise Rock with the Right Producer
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Since 2005 guitarist Brian Albano and bassist Michelle Montavon have been “kicking it,” and making a...Since 2005 guitarist Brian Albano and bassist Michelle Montavon have been “kicking it,” and making a statement about the music they make. Along with drummer Matt Covey (since 2006) The Suicide Dolls – a power trio from New London, CT – has been making waves through their long time collaboration and mission to stake their claim.? After several years of building a loyal fan base, and creating their own identity, they have a good understanding of the competitive edge between bands in their realm and even share a perspective that many others seem to miss. Albano explains, “We have a lot of good scenes within the region where we perform – places like New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts -there are a lot of other great bands that hail from our area. We could get together and become something; New England-based bands could [form] a unity between venues and other bands, and we could be a strong force.”
Continuing forward on their mission, The Suicide Dolls have finally broken, what is to them, new ground. After the years of the much-enjoyed performance aspect of their act, they took to the studio and began working on their new full-length, Prayers in Parking Lots (recording at Q-Division in Somerville, MA), which was co-produced with Justin Pizzoferrato. The Suicide Dolls recognize and understand the benefits of working with a producer, “We needed an expert to help us. We have different styles; you can’t really label it. We’ve been classified as being anything from rock to punk to noise. We needed someone that could help us get all these different sounds and capture the mix of our influences, and working with Justin, and getting down to the real recording process, was beneficial to us,” Albano says.
Montavon adds, “It was a real labor or love; we have typically done things backwards, emphasizing the live show, never really focusing on the recording aspect. This was the first time we went to a studio and did some real recording. We worked on both older and newer songs.
Up to this point we only had some home recordings. Nothing was good enough to represent us and release; we finally were able to do it for real.”
The Suicide Dolls have learned much about the toils that life in a rock band can bring, but they are determined to keep doing it for as long as they love what they do – making music.
(07/19/2012) MP3 of the Week: The Suicide Dolls "Shoo" // Friday @ O'Brien's Pub
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Ever since the Whalers left Hartford 15 years go, Connecticut has served as little more than a paved...Ever since the Whalers left Hartford 15 years go, Connecticut has served as little more than a paved-highway buffer zone that one is required to traverse when visiting New York City by car or bus. From first passing the Ruby Road exit on I-84 to that shit-clogged stretch of I-95 that slowly belches automobiles out of the Constitution State, the trip through Connecticut is a bizarre experience. New London’s THE SUICIDE DOLLS know these roads well, and their 2012 high-octane album Prayers in Parking Lots is a suitable suburban rallying cry for the noisy alt-rock they’ve been honing since 2002. The park-and-ride soundtrack jam on Prayers is “Shoo,” a swirling, droning, early-’90s guitar-charger that finds co-vocalist Michelle Montavon in a hypnotic state. Which state she’ll be in when the Dolls crash O’Brien’s Pub in Allston on Friday, July 20 for the Quiet Loudly record release show (a bill that also features Velah and New Hampshire's noisy garage rock upstarts the Migs) is anyone’s guess, but grab the “Shoo” MP3 in the meantime and get ur nutmeg on.
The Suicide Dolls to Appear on Tribute Album Covering Songs from Repo Man
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The Suicide Dolls have just announced that they are to appear on a tribute album covering the songs ...The Suicide Dolls have just announced that they are to appear on a tribute album covering the songs from the movie Repo Man a compilation of songs that celebrates the southern California punk movement of the 70's and 80's.
The Suicide Dolls, who won best new act of 2011 at The New England Music Awards, will appear on the album alongside artists such as Black Francis, Mike Watt, Amanda Palmer, Matthew Sweet, and many others. For more information click here. The album has a projected release date of September 18 later this year.
The Suicide Dolls will be playing at Radio in Somerville MA on Friday, April 13 with Await Rescue, Before Disorder, and Ghost Box Orchestra.
(07/20/2012) Satellite of Love - New London's Suicide Dolls make Boston a second home - @ O'Briens - 7/20
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Although it's just a 2 hour drive, New London, CT is far enough to be just that. Far. It is however ...Although it's just a 2 hour drive, New London, CT is far enough to be just that. Far. It is however a place where my dad was stationed in the Navy on the USS Fulton during the late '60s/early '70s, and the place where my parents got married. So it will always be a little dear to me. Here is my chat with Brian James Albano of the Suicide Dolls who play in Boston as regularly as a Boston band and call this their satellite home. Or as Albano (not Captain Lou) says: "Boston is great. The music scene and communtiy has a real life and energy to it. It's like finding that girl you are ready to settle down with."
Their current line-up of Albano on guitar, Michelle Montavon on bass and Matt Covey on drums has been together since 2006. Read on to hear Albano's life philosophy, to hear him make up words and to hear him dish on the Suicide Dolls' maximum rock & roll.
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JD: My folks used to live in New London. My dad was on the Fulton back in the day.
BJA: Yeah so you know New London then, city by the Long Island Sound, sub base, the city Benedict Arnold burnt to the ground when he betrayed the colonies, hahaha.
JD: What's it like there? My dad used to regale us with tales of Patsy's Grinders long gone. What's the music scene like? I don't think Boston musicians know much about it.
BJA: Yeah! Patsy's Grinders! I remember that when I was a kid. New London is pretty cool. It's smack dead in the middle of New York and Boston, so it's a great starting place for roadshows or tours for us. It's also a great place to bring bands who are touring and need a stop in between dates at NYC and Boston. New London is kinda like if you took Allston and put it by itself right next to the Long Island Sound/Atlantic Ocean.
For a small town/city, it has a very productive and artistic community. Within one mile you have four music venues that are extremely active, art galleries, independent records stores, DIY music venues/art shops, and colleges on each side of the city (Connecticut College and Mitchell College). The place has a strong sense of creativity. There's a lot of bands here, and each band sounds different than the next, there's no cookie cutting going on. Bands love to pass through New London. The crowds are great, they treat bands well.
We were really allowed to be ourselves here and develop our sound, which helped us as a road band mixing with other cities, sounds, and scenes. Boston bands like Pretty & Nice, 28 Degrees Taurus and Ghost Box Orchestra have recently played New London. Boston bands should check new London out. It's alwasy good for a band to grow by doing road shows, and new London could easily become a second home to boston bands that desire to roam and travel.
JD: So, let's talk about the album. Prayers in Parking Lots--when did you put it out?
BJA: We just put it out back in March. It's been getting a lot of good press in blogs and print. It's tough as we're experienced in being a live road band, but now we're learning to promote an album. Short answer, March.
JD: Tell me your greater philosophy of life, including music, love, God, death and wisdom.
BJA: Hahaha....I'm so chatty, I was getting ready to answer. I'm not cool at all, so I'm never at a loss for words.
JD: Lets just start with the guitars. Why do you play so bloody loud?
BJA: Energy for one. I guess angst for another. We live in a crazy loud world, and the guitars need to reflect that. Plus if you are loud all the time, then when you are quiet, it's even louder.
JD: The first song kinda reminds me of KISS. What do you think is really diffrent from what you do, and good old fashioned American butt-rock?
BJA: Our songs, at lest for this album, are a rhinosaurus (sp) of energy & emotion and the guitars and music have to reflect that. There is a lot of old-fashioned American rock, we grew up on that, and we mix rock and pop. But what seperates us is we also add in punk and we also add in noise. The lyrics are less are the "let's party" and more "the house the party's in is on fire." We're not telling you everything is all right, we're telling you everything is wrong but could get better if you just gave a damn for one minute.
Plus one second we're a regular rock band and then next we might tear a song down and go into a noise explosion and start taking screwdriver and drumsticks to our guitar strings. Or tear the rock song down with a noise storm and then, you know, build it back to the old verse/chorus/verse/chorus.
JD: Why do you think that rock musicians need to differentiate? It seems like there is a pretty perfect template laid down already. While I get what you are saying, I am thinking more in general about how rock musicians do sort of think they are all different from one another---yet for someone raised on classical music, they may hear the loudness and just think it all sounds the same.
BJA: I don't think musicians need to greatly differentiate, just slightly. In slightly differentiating yourself you'll find your own voice, you'll keep things straight. I think a musician needs to have a strong hold of the basic template, because it works and sounds good. Musicians should have influences, learn from those influences, but it's good to strike out and cause a warble in the known and true. Freak it up a little. I never though sit down and decide "I'm going to do something completely different." I start from the est and true and then if going off the trail feels right, I do it.
I don't think we're supposed to like the same things, but I do believe there's a common thread even between people like James Taylor and Sonic Youth. It's like humans. we think we're vastly different from each other with the different races, but when they got down to the genes, it's all the same. I really don't think I'm different than other musicians. As a matter of fact, I try to consider everything. Pop, rock, punk, noise, prog, whatever, I try to mix it all in there because I like it all, just sometimes mixing can lead to mud--in this case loud sonic mud that I love.
JD: What's a song on the album that you would alert me to if you wanted to show me the more cerebral side of the band? Be that compositionally, or sonically? Also, which one should I put on my jukebox?
BJA: Well I guess "Smash" for one. We made an epic pop-rock-noise track. It has hard rock riffs in it, punk energy. We wanted a song that unfolded into many different styles as opposed to just playing two part back and forth over and over again; yet we wanted to still make it catchy, as catchy and as simple as you could make a 7:20 minute song. The words are very cryptic, but were meant to be unraveled and solved. We wanted to take the listener through a series of catchy and noisy riffs, but drawing you and pushing you away. In the middle we tear the song apart, get quiet for a second, take you to a sonic wasteland, then the noises build into a 'bang,' and you're back in the rock.
The one I would put on the jukebox would be "Senses." It's a real catchy number, and by design. It's the don't bore us/ get to the chorus track on the album. I would also put on "Brand New and Close By." If I was at a bar and wanted a song that was going to bust out with energy, catchiness, yet still have this out of nowhere noise solo that would make people who don't like noise say "hey maybe I like noise!!" it would be" Brand New And Close By." It's angry, but it's also fun. It's hungry!
review - SUICIDE DOLLS (O’BRIENS 7/20/2012)
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With a name like Suicide Dolls, I had no idea what to expect from the night’s performance as I walke...With a name like Suicide Dolls, I had no idea what to expect from the night’s performance as I walked through the doors of O’Briens. Actually, that’s a lie. I thought I would need earplugs to help me get through screamo music coming from a band made up of those tattooed pin-up girls, but to my pleasant surprise, Suicide Dolls was nothing like that. Instead, the New London, CT band draws influence from bands like Pixies, Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth--their sound is garage/punk, rather than anything close to emo.
Michelle Montavon (also known as “Michelle Suicide”), clearly the doll of the group, rocked red ombre pigtails and black Mary Janes while jamming on bass. Her vocal styling complemented Brian Albano’s (aka Brian Suicide’s) guitar and vocals. Ben LaRose, the newbie on drums, completed the trio that dominated the small O’Brien’s space.
What I particularly enjoy about Suicide Dolls is their evident love of being up on stage, playing their music. It didn’t matter how modest the venue (or crowd) was--they rocked out as if they were in front of 20,000 screaming fans. Such an attitude can give a band a certain edge, and earn appreciation. Because sometimes, it’s not just about the music, but also about the way the musicians sell it. And Suicide Dolls knows how to sell.
(07/17/2012) farmers market: The Suicide Dolls
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Yesterday marc the intern and i did what we do every monday. we threw all the names of bands that su...Yesterday marc the intern and i did what we do every monday. we threw all the names of bands that submitted tracks to the show into a hat and pulled out todays featured band. this week we would like to introduce you to The Suicide Dolls. this experimental garage punk band from connecticut sent their latest album Prayers In Parking Lots for us to listen to.
their facebook reads like my list of favorites: they draw influence from bands like Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr, The Jesus Lizard, Pixies, and most other classic alternative, punk & no-wave artists. i listened to the album and their influences definitely shine through. tracks like Brand New Close By screams Sonic Youth. others like Eye, Want, and my favorite Senses could easily be Pixies tracks. the album is rocked out and really good. take a listen to my favorite track below and if you enjoy the album, do what people do in that situation.
The Suicide Dolls At Pianos, Wednesday, December 28th, 2011
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"It got weird., didn't it?" cracks guitarist Brian Albanon after bassist Michelle Montavon's bass go..."It got weird., didn't it?" cracks guitarist Brian Albanon after bassist Michelle Montavon's bass goes does down for the count.
The Suicide Dolls don't do silence. In theory, they would hit the Pianos stage at 10pm and play atonal punk modulations nonstop with white hot noise segueing them from one end of the set to another: it is like the roar of an airplane and it is loud and relentless, almost ridiculously so for a three piece band. Mind bending, loud, more -post punk than punk, but still punk rock.
And it was knocking me for a loop when the it suddenly stops and i am kind of happy it did because it put the show so far into sharp relief. The Suicide Dolls mesmerize you with sound, the songs smash into each other and the mood is intense sensory overload and having it end suddenly, snapped me back into reality.Mind bending stuff. Suddenly, the Suicidie Dolls are joking around… just like you and me, and this aural soul merchants are sweet people. And then, just as suddenly they are running into brick walls again.
According to Brian, their newly recorded album "…is a collection of rock, punk, pop, and noise. In the middle of the song "Smash" we tear the song down and build it back like a Sonic Youth song. " On stage he does that mid song, dissipating the slightest of melody, heavily bashed by the bass and drummer Matt Covey anyway, and his guitar becomes steely feedback before switching directions again, and again, till you're feeling dizzy. It is a trick the noise purveyors pull off a couple of times and that disruption of sound is why they don't bother with formal song closings.
It isn't about performance as performance art, watch Michelle punch her bass in the back of its neck and the distorted rattle that comes out of it, it is truly an art installation.
The Connecticut are tight the way a jazz trio can be tight, the way Ornette Coleman can use harmolodics to be tight. They are in process of collapsing and rebuilding as a constant flux and is both exciting and, oddly, a little enervating to watch: the power of the sound seems to be coming from somewhere else, and, like ambient music, you can both drift and be stilled.
At the end Michelle says that's all and the band winds itself down.
(06/15/2012) THE SUICIDE DOLLS – Prayers in Parking Lots
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The Suicide Dolls draw from some heavy influences, as the sounds of Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. sho...The Suicide Dolls draw from some heavy influences, as the sounds of Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. show up in full force on their latest album, Prayers in Parking Lots. The Connecticut trio headed to the famous Q Division Studios in Somerville, Massachusetts, to record with producer Justin Pizzoferrato, who has worked with the aforementioned bands, as well as with Thurston Moore and J. Mascis for solo material.
Pizzoferrato nails the sound the band is obviously going for, as it conjures the unmistakable influence of their favorite bands. The music has that driving force of 'You’re Living All Over Me' and the experimental edge of 'Daydream Nation'. The only problem is that The Suicide Dolls aren’t those bands. The group does a pretty convincing imitation, but bands like Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth are not easily replicated.
(02/06/2012) Suicide Dolls Release First Full-Length CD in Time For 10th Anniversary
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A lot of bands work on their live performance before recording an album, but few are as deliberate a...A lot of bands work on their live performance before recording an album, but few are as deliberate about it as the Suicide Dolls.
The New London trio last month released “Prayers in Parking Lots,” its full-length debut — just in time for the group’s 10th anniversary this year.
“We’ve been chipping away for a long time, and I think we’re at a point now where we’ve never sounded this good,” bassist and singer Michelle Montavon says over coffee at Mohegan Sun.
Ten years doesn’t fully tell the story. Montavon and guitarist and singer Brian James Albano, both 38 and a couple since they were 15, started playing music together in 1994. They played in a succession of improvisational noise bands on the East Coast and in the Midwest, before a longing for musical structure prompted the pair to overhaul their approach.
“In the ’90s, we wanted to play this noise that when you listened to it, it was hard for your mind to conceptualize and focus on what was going on,” Albano says. “But then I wanted catchy, because I love catchy songs, too.”
Forming the Suicide Dolls in 2002 marked the start of their effort to fuse noise with structure in a way that acknowledged their influences, including the Jesus Lizard, Dinosaur Jr. and the Pixies, without sounding too much like any of them.
Although the group had made a handful of rough demo recordings over the years — good for posting online and getting gigs, the band says — and released an EP, Albano, Montavon and a rotation of drummers spent more time on stage than in a studio, honing their sound by performing show after show. In 2010, with seminal drummer Matt Covey, 30, back in the band after a two-year absence, the musicians started feeling like they were finally ready for the next step.
“We were no longer putting on the I’m-in-a-band hat and playing the role of it,” Albano says. “Around 2010 it became genuine. We became more like ourselves onstage, and our life off-stage became not our life anymore. We’ve really become genuinely our sound.”
With nearly a decade’s worth of music to document, the Suicide Dolls booked themselves into Q Division Studios near Boston and spent just four days recording the 12 songs on “Prayers in Parking Lots.” It’s a confident album with a big, bristling sound: Montavon’s basslines charge along in lockstep with Covey’s pounding drums, while Albano delivers tough guitar riffs that seethe with tension.
The lyrics, though oblique enough for listeners to impart their own meanings, often address subjects drawn from the musicians’ lives, and New London itself is a recurring character, by turns charming and seedy.
“It’s weird how the location where we grew up actually seriously filters into the music,” Montavon says. “It’s a weird place. I call it the vortex. I’ve lived in a lot of different places. Providence, Chicago, Woodstock, NY; we kind of went all over in the ’90s. Apart from the fact that we have family here, there’s just something about New London.”
Although the album represents only some of the material the band has written, the musicians say it’s representative of their evolution.
“It’s got some of the first songs we wrote in 2002,” Montavon says. “It’s really where we were, where we are and where we’re headed.”
For now, they’re headed back to the road. The band already plays frequently in New York, and has lately made inroads in the insular Boston scene. With a powerful new album in hand, the Suicide Dolls hope they can find a label to sign with and get some help with the business end of making music.
“A lot of bands, it’s become a sprint,” Albano says. “We’ve been on a marathon, we’ve been living this music. Now, as we’re starting to really get some traction, we’re planning on smashing our way in.”
(04/12/2012) C.D. on Songs: The Suicide Dolls // "Smash"
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Back in December, we tested the structural integrity of Radio with a set by Black Thai. The club sti...Back in December, we tested the structural integrity of Radio with a set by Black Thai. The club still stands, and it will be put to the test again tomorrow night when The Suicide Dolls take the stage. With a sound heavier than the entire collection of Suicide Girls en masse, the Suicide Dolls will be plugging in and turning up tomorrow night. It’s very nice of them to allow us all to take tonight off to watch the Bruins. Yes, it’s that time of year again, Editors. So let’s rock.
The appropriately-named “Smash” establishes the opportunity for music critics to address it as appropriately named almost immediately. The song’s overture ignited with the sounds of thumping, almost tribal drums and a bass that moves like a power forward dribbling a basketball, except the basketball is on fire and made out of lead.
The inertia inherent in this track makes it a call to action, as resolute guitars pick out their shotgun melodies over the forceful directives of the vocal. There is power contained within this mix, but there is also organization.
The Suicide Dolls’ ability to not just hit you over the head but spice up the attack with a variety if weapons is what ultimately brings this song home. The fact that this is a hard rock track with established sections that each move the track along gives it a delicious element of dimension that can sometimes assumed to be remiss when you hear the sounds of saturated guitars and shouty vocals. “Smash” alternately builds tension and sets it to burn. It’s like a set of explosions, all strung together with a complex system of fuses.
The Suicide Dolls | Prayers In Parking Lots
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This rock trio, on the verge of garage and experimental pop with so many apparent influences across ...This rock trio, on the verge of garage and experimental pop with so many apparent influences across the genre-board are coming at us with an album that is very welcomed in the current rock scene of New England. Unlike many rock albums you may come across, this album is not just a compiling of various tracks strewn about an album, but a well put together compilation that amounts to a single cohesive track called "Prayers In Parking Lots". If one thing were lacking in the general rock genre these days, it is the uniqueness and wholly original sound that can be found in an album like this one.
The song structure, placement of tracks, unique and varied usage of audio clips and shear way that lyrics and lyrical stylings are portrayed across the album presents a style that I can only compare to the progressive rock concept albums you hear from bands like Baroness, Mastodon, Horse the Band and Tool. I'm not saying that they fall in the same category of genre -although hints of progressive rock are all but apparent- or that it is actually a concept but the way the album is portrayed really gives me the feeling of drive and build up which progressive albums are fluent in these days. While I say this, I do believe that the album is definitely Rock 'N' Roll through and through.
Opening up the album with "Eye", a song full of heavy rock guitar rhythms, solid and powerful drumming and complimenting baselines really shows you the strong direction the album is heading. The buildup in tunes like "Smash" really pull the listener in to the wild ride that is "Prayers in Parking Lots". It is anthemic songs like this that really peak my ear drums in rock tunes. The buildup culminates into a severely powerful set of riffs and bass pounding rhythms making "Smash" something that definitely needs to be heard to appreciate.
The epic seven and a half minute tune "Smash" can be heard right here at Boston Bloghead via Soundcloud or you can go check it and the whole album out over at The Suicide Dolls Bandcamp
(06/06/2011) MySetlist.co Song Review – Smash by The Suicide Dolls
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Today’s song, Smash, comes courtesy of The Suicide Dolls, from their excellent new record, Prayers i...Today’s song, Smash, comes courtesy of The Suicide Dolls, from their excellent new record, Prayers in Parking Lots. The Suicide Dolls are based out of New London, CT.
Reading an interview with Michelle (bass), it sounds like the record was tracked and mixed in 4 days. It’s an astoundingly polished collection of songs, a slab of no-holds-barred alternative rock, and the sound of a band that has honed its playing and performance on the live circuit. Younger bands should appreciate this lesson: great sounds come from playing shows – a LOT of shows.
With debut studio records, bands often fall prey to “can’t we just add another track?” syndrome and, undoubtedly Brian (guitars, vox) has added multiple guitars to the mix here – particularly in the breakdown at the 4-minute mark – but it’s to the credit of the band, and their production team, that they didn’t end up over-cooking this dish. It’s tight. Focused. Precisely chaotic.
Lyrically, little snippets come through – our narrator is heading for an apocalypse, facing unseen forces, possibly even his own interior demons, reaching the end of his capacity to hold back. Finding comfort in the darkness and those who “flock during the night-time”. It’s gloriously unspecific stuff, yet somehow compelling.
Unfortunately, though the band is on Reverbnation, this track isn’t up for streaming, so I can’t embed the widget here – but you can hear it (and more importantly BUY IT) at The Suicide Dolls Bandcamp page.
For those who have been missing straight up rock music, Prayers in Parking Lots has it in spades and should be on your playlist right now.
Keep making and listening to music – you make the world a little better every time you do.
The Whalie Awards
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The Whalie Awards, though extremely tongue-in-cheek from an outside standpoint, have become more tha...The Whalie Awards, though extremely tongue-in-cheek from an outside standpoint, have become more than just a night where musicians and fans get together, walk down a red carpet, drink (heavily) and enjoy an event that is unique to New London. They have become a gauge of sorts - a telling look at what our area's music scene has accomplished and where it's going for the next year.
Just look at the number of nominees throughout the first three years. In 2010, there were roughly 65 nominees. There were about 75-80 nominees in 2011, and this year, we blew that away, with over 100 nominated bands and artists!
Every corner of the music scene is represented. Hip hop makes a dominant showing, with so many nominees this year, the categories had to be split into the Grammy-style "Best Hip Hop" and "Best Urban Alternative" - a funny term that insinuates the edgier, less-traditional side of hip hop. The term "Americana" is nearly phased out this year, as there are so many outstanding artists that we had to pigeonhole them into two categories - "Best Blues / Country Rock" and "Best Folk / Bluegrass." These types of categories don't necessarily reflect the variety that some bands bring to the table, but as our scene grows bigger each year, we'll find that categorizing will become easier (more specific) and somehow tedious (more categories to fill) at the same time.
The Whalies are also a great barometer of an individual artist or band's accomplishments throughout the past year. Look at the top nominees for instance. New London-bred rappers Camacho & Poe Swayzie have garnered 9 nominations a piece - the most nominations ever in the short history of the awards. Together, they are The Fly Ones, who are up for Album of the Year and Hiphop Album of the Year. Individually, they have each made hit songs and collectively represent 3 of the best music videos this year, all of them DIY - done through their self-started production team, Flawless Visuals. The work they have put into their music and marketing is second to none and now they have branched out, offering to make upscale videos for local artists.
Speaking of workhorses, the second highest nominated act this year is Daphne Lee Martin & Raise The Rent. Daphne has spent tireless hours practicing, gigging, networking and even tweeting. She has shown an intense dedication to this project and shows no signs of stopping, getting nods for Album of the Year from CT.com and Motif Magazine. Daphne even employed the talents of Skobie Won and Erik Lamb (also up for 7 awards this year!) to put a spin on her track "Nostradamus," a remix that is up for the brand new Best Collaboration category.
One of the most telling truths of this year's Whalie Awards though, are the incredible rock records that came out of New London in the last 12 months. Two bands hiked it out-of-state to work with famous producers and the product of each was remarkable. Ferocious Fucking Teeth drove out to Chicago to record with Steve Albini (yes, THAT Steve Albini, the one that recorded Nirvana!). The result is FFT's controlled chaos wrapped up in a self-titled, beautifully-packaged 12" record. It's a brilliant piece of work that is already grabbing this band national press on its debut outing.
Another astounding record that was released this year may also double as the centerpiece of the most interesting story at the Whalie Awards. After 10 years of being a band, The Suicide Dolls finally released a proper full-length, and it was epic. Recorded by Justin Pizzoferrato (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr.) in Boston at the studio where the Pixies and Dropkick Murphys have recorded, Prayers In Parking Lots is the product of the band's 10-year journey to find a signature sound, a fan base and a music scene to call home. They come to the Whalies this year with 5 nominations, including Album, Rock Album and Song of the Year for "Smash."
The single most noticeable difference between last year's Whalies and this year's is qualit
(02/11/2012) The Suicide Dolls--"Prayers in Parking Lots" (2012)
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A Journey Through Night The first sound you hear is a short sample of a “numbers station,” which...A Journey Through Night
The first sound you hear is a short sample of a “numbers station,” which are mysterious shortwave radio stations that are believed to be secretively operated by government agencies to communicate with spies out in the field. They have been around for several decades, all over the world, but never officially confirmed. The voice we hear intones “achtung” which indicates that it is German in origin. Perhaps this is a coded tribute to U2, whose early albums are an inspiration to this band? Even if it’s not, it’s a cool touch, and they use samples from those numbers stations throughout the album. From that brief introduction we go into the main portion of the opening song, “Eye,” which features a cool Pixies-like guitar riff. Lead guitarist and singer Brian Albano commanding that “I’m ready, I’m willing, I’m able – I’m ready to make the time” during the chorus. This might be the best song, out of many contenders, on what is The Suicide Dolls’ recently released debut album, Prayers in Parking Lots – an album that is extremely strong and accomplished.
There are many Pixies-ish songs on this album, but traces of Sonic Youth can also be heard, and not just in the fact that, like Sonic Youth, The Suicide Dolls (great band name, by the way) are led by a singing couple – Albano and bassist/singer Michelle Montavon (they take turns singing lead) – who have been together since they were teenagers and have been playing in bands for many years but only now, finally, have released an album. By the recorded results, I say better late than never.
Other influences heard throughout the album are The Jesus and Mary Chain, Joy Division and a bit of early Siouxsie and the Banshees. They don’t just ape these influences though – they take them and create memorable songs out of them.
Michelle sounds a little bit like a subdued Courtney Love (now there’s a contradiction in terms) on “Shoo,” leading the band through a droning, yet intense number. Drummer Matt Covey and Michelle lock into an awesomely grinding groove, while Albano plays some great lead over the top. Impressive stuff.
It’s hard to pick out individual songs due to the fact that they are all equally strong, intense and exciting – with dark overtones. They make angst-fueled music that doesn’t sound contrived and boring like a lot of what passes for alternative music these days.
Throughout the album they bring back the best of late-80s/early-90s alternative rock, with a late-70s garage punk attack in certain spots. They also hint at some of the darker, trippier elements of neo-psychedelic shoegazing bands like My Bloody Valentine or early Boo Radleys – though in a very subtle way. I like how they are able to take well-worn sounds and make them new again. If Prayers had come out in the late 80s it definitely could have exploded all over college radio the way The Pixies and Sonic Youth did at the time.
“Want” is another highlight, as well as “Drive” (this could have been as huge as any Breeders or Hole song in the 90s), with Covey bashing his drums in spectacular fashion, and the longer piece “Smash,” with a distorted-sounding Albano invoking Black Francis. He sings “I’ll do what I want – I’ll say what I want.” It then goes into some of Sonic Youth’s droning, experimental territory before returning to the main riff. The song “Elizabeth” has a great slowed-down trippy element to it, with a slight Velvet Underground feel mixed with early Public Image Ltd.
“Candy” is a nice mixture of late-period Black Flag (Albano sounding like a smoother and less intense Henry Rollins) with a sugar-pop rush to the backing vocals. “Brand New and Close By” reveals just how much of a Black Sabbath influence there was in bands like Nirvana, yet this really doesn’t sound like either band. Michelle’s voice sounds great on this song. The noisy, grinding “Deep Red” closes out the affair with both singers exchanging vocals to excellent effect and some of Albano’s most intense guitar playing of the album. It makes for a great ending.
I was lucky enough to have discovered this band due to the fact that my father has been a lifelong friend of Montavon’s father, who gave me the album. Let’s hope everyone out there has their own luck in discovering this band, who are based out of New London, CT and have been playing together since 2002. They have just made a very impressive first album that is much too good to go unnoticed. Let’s hope this is only the beginning.
(02/01/2012) The Suicide Dolls - Pretty Lie
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Judging by their name and logo, I initally suspected The Suicide Dolls to be the latest in a long li...Judging by their name and logo, I initally suspected The Suicide Dolls to be the latest in a long line of Warped Tour headbangers. What I heard when I listened to their debut album, the similarly mallgoth-evoking Prayers In Parking Lots, was instead the spirit of early '90s rock 'n' roll incarnate. Songs like "Pretty Lie" buck and heave with all the tenacity and grit of Sonic Youth in their prime, with grimy drums pounding away against sludgy, serrated guitars. Singer Michelle Montavon recreates the growling panache of Courtney Love minus the prom dresses, as her revenge-fantasy lyrics add an extra dose of bile to the song's monstrous, dirty presence. To be honest, the way I'm describing The Suicide Dolls' music is pretty similar to how I would talk about a Warped Tour band. They share a lot of the same characteristics as many metalcore groups - passionate, anger-fueled lyrics, a disregard for choruses, and lumbering, mastodon-like bass patterns. Whether that's something you embrace or something you can live with is purely up to you.
(01/28/2012) Album in hand, Sicide Dolls find their fit back home
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As far as they were concerned, Michelle Montavon and Brian Albano weren't aware of any sort of New L...As far as they were concerned, Michelle Montavon and Brian Albano weren't aware of any sort of New London music scene when they set out, in the mid '90s, to start a noise rock band. Sure, there were the Reducers - nationally known rock royalty - and there was the iconic live venue, the El 'n' Gee Club, where the typical bill seemed to involve bands from somewhere else who actually rode around in tour buses.
As such, the pair, who are married and have been dating since their days at New London High School, resolutely hit the road. Under a succession of names and with a succession of drummers, they tried such accessible musical pastures like Chicago and then Providence.
When the word started filtering out to them that, suddenly, there WAS a lot happening in New London, they scampered back to the Whaling City - and then had to spend a few years figuring out how to fit in.
"It was weird because we had to break into our own hometown," Montavon says. "We were, like, 'Where were you guys all our lives? If we'd known you were here, we'd have never left!'"
The Dolls perform tonight as part of the Hygienic Art Festival's Rock Fix in the Crocker House Ballroom. Also playing are Herff Jones, the Hempsteadys, the 'Mericans, Daphne Lee Martin & Raise the Rent, Recur Occurrence and the Can Kickers.
"When we got back to town," Albano says, "we were like cousins at the side of the family picnic. No one's sitting with us. But we started hanging around and seeing and learning about all these great bands. And we thought, hey, we've fit in everywhere we've gone. We can easily absorb a scene and we'll just fill in the blanks."
In 2002, they changed their name to the Suicide Dolls, shifted direction from the expansive noise rock style, and began writing songs in an evolving and concise format that combined punk, pop and rock elements.
"It took us a while," Albano says. "New London's a weird scene: a lot pour in, but it filters down to who's trying to do something current and relevant. It became a game of numbers where we learned the history. And, by sticking at it, we got filtered in ourselves."
The process of learning about the New London scene, in other words, helped the Suicide Dolls develop their own persona - and of course they ultimately became integral members.
And, in 2006, when Covey came onboard, all the elements and chemistry were in place. An East Lyme native, he brought extensive experience and virtuosity ranging from the precision-ska of locals the Hempsteadys to international tours with Metal Blade recording artists Shai Hulud.
Now, all three musicians are sitting in a rehearsal space in downtown New London, talking about the musical circus rides that comprise their experiences. The three are thoughtfully energetic in conversation, often stepping on each other's sentences in the fashion of folks who can't get their thoughts out quickly enough - and who crack each other up every time it happens.
There is plenty of reason to be excited. After their style and songbook organically coalesced over the years and gigs, they've finally dropped their debut album. "Prayers in the Parking Lot" premiered in early December and was officially released in January. Co-produced by the band with Northampton studio legend Justin Pizzoferrato (Dinosaur Jr., the Hold Steady, Sonic Youth), the CD is a molten comet - beautifully (and loudly) capturing the aggressive layers of the band's sound.
"Well, the music is sort of hard to describe," Albano says. "The rockers find us punk. The punkers find us rockers. The noisers think we're pop - and the pop think we're noisers."
Montavon and Covey digest their bandmate's sonic analysis, then simultaneously offer this comment: "'Noisers'?!"
Perhaps Albano is inventing a hip new term for a rock style, but, still, his is a fairly apt description of the songs and live energy presented by the Suicide Dolls. There is a volume and aggression to the band that suggests Motorhead by wa
Whalie Nominee Feature Interview: Michelle Suicide of the Suicide Dolls
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1. How would you describe your sound/the music you’re making in 10 words or less? Noisy, mel...1. How would you describe your sound/the music you’re making in 10 words or less?
Noisy, melodic rock that's a little rough around the edges
2. Of all my songs, the one that...
A. people tell me they like the most is:"Smash" and "Shoo"
B. is my favorite to perform is: Currently? "Pretty Lie" and "Smash"
C. holds the most meaning for me is: "Birthday" and "Hit Me"
3. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Don't sit and wait around for anyone to give you what you’re looking for... make your own opportunities, even if you have to make them appear out of thin air.
4. What song or album has been stuck on repeat in your life lately?
Been rockin' Beastie Boys Paul’s Boutique, Check Your Head and Hello Nasty around the clock. The way too soon passing of Adam Yauch (MCA) was a terrible reminder to appreciate the groundbreaking artists we still have who gave us so much inspiration.
5. If you could collaborate with any New London County musician/singer/group/artist who would it be?
I'd love to play straight up noise-guitar in Bedroom Rehab Corporation! I would add a very ambient, high end to their menacing low-end drone and chug.
6. What do you do when you’re not making music?
Go to other bands' shows, take long drives, watch TV way more than I should, and become more and more disenchanted American politics.
7. What do you think has been your biggest success in the last year?
Our biggest accomplishment was FINALLY putting out our album, because it led to some really cool stuff... Without it, we would have never won "Best New Artist" at the 2011 New England Music Awards. We would not have been chosen to be a part of American Laundromat Records tribute album for the movie ‘Repo Man’. We're the only un-signed band on the compilation, and we will be featured alongside artists like Frank Black of The Pixies, Mike Watt (formerly of Minutemen, currently with Iggy Pop and the Stooges), Matthew Sweet, Weekend and Amanda Palmer. We're absolutely psyched, but without the release of Prayers In Parking Lots, none of it would have happened.
8. How did you feel the moment you found out you were up for a Whalie?
We've been nominated every year so far, but this year it was for the BIG ONE--Album of the Year. The very fact that we finally HAVE an album, and that it's been warmly received by our hometown is AWESOME. Believe it or not, there is a LOT of NL in the songs themselves... several songs reference the streets we grew up on, so it was a pretty cool feeling. We know there's some stiff competition, there's lots of talent in this city and we're just proud to be a part of it in general!
9. If you could walk down the ‘red’ carpet with anyone/thing, who/what would it be?
I wish I could bring my little kitty Lucie everywhere I went! I would dress her in a rhinestone collar, of course.
10. How are you going to celebrate post-Whalies
Whether we win or not, the Suicide Dolls know how to party... we're loud, we're fun, and we'll see you there, NL!!
SHOW CRUSH: RIBS / Suicide Dolls / Herra Terra / Yoga Girls
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We tuned into Boston Accents this past Sunday night (like we always do #WEAREWFNX), mostly to hear h...We tuned into Boston Accents this past Sunday night (like we always do #WEAREWFNX), mostly to hear host Michael Marotta’s thoughts on the craziness that went on during the week, and to find out if it was to be the final show. Luckily it won’t be the last, but in the freeform, who gives a shit limbo that the station is in right now, convention went out the window. One song per band for the show should be standard? Nah. Two? How about RIBS’ entire new EP? Sure. The band was in the studio, White Russians were being consumed, and Michael played the thing from start to finish because he knows he’s on borrowed time and wanted the world to hear it. Titled Russian Blood, the EP is seven melodic anthems that stay true to the bands form, but also show maturation. Like their earlier releases, this one is a haunting and thunderous tribute to the rock gods; heavy and textured, but somehow still spry enough to keep us guessing. It’s been a while since we’ve seen these guys play, so we’re excited to see them at TT’s in Cambridge tomorrow night.
Garage psych three piece Suicide Dolls, up from Connecticut, are similar to RIBS in that they’re heavy as hell, but that’s not all they’ve got going for them. They might start off heavy and almost lumbering, but in an instant turn the song into a frenetic assault, raining down blows you didn’t even see coming. Like a bear; like a big, rock and roll bear that’s got the scent of blood. Herra Terra add an electronic element into the mix, but don’t think them any less powerful than the others. All of their bleeps and bloops just add to the already impressive barrage that the band is capable of. When the apocalypse eventually happens, they’ll be part of the soundtrack. Opening and closing the night will be DJ sets by Yoga Girls, a pair of electronic dance mavens who bring a touch of the loud and angry to their sets.
(03/10/2012) 2011 Winners | New England Music Awards
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2011 Winners Band of the Year Grace Potter and The Nocturnals Album of the Year Ragtop Angel...2011 Winners
Band of the Year
Grace Potter and The Nocturnals
Album of the Year
Ragtop Angel / Adam Ezra Group
Male Performer of the Year
Female Performer of the Year
Songwriter of the Year
Song of the Year
Takin' Off / Adam Ezra Group
Best New Act of the Year
The Suicide Dolls
Live Act of the Year
Producer of the Year
Indie/Rock/Pop Act of the Year
Ryan Montbleau Band
Folk/Americana/Roots Act of the Year
Hot Day at the Zoo
Blues/R&B/Soul Act of the Year
Roomful of Blues
Jazz Act of the Year
Country Act of the Year
New Age/Techno/Hip-Hop Act of the Year
(03/11/2012) Congratulations to the Suicide Dolls!
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Well then, as if there were any doubt who deserved to win the prestigious New England Music Awards! ...Well then, as if there were any doubt who deserved to win the prestigious New England Music Awards!
Incredible congratulations to this amazing Connecticut band. As Iman so wonderfully stated "rock nyc faves the Suicide Dolls, the best purveyors of noise abattoir out there, are up for Best New New England Band" and with the help of our readers and anyone else with good taste in music The Dolls have won!
We are so proud to have had the honor of supporting and promoting this band. If there is one thing that makes our work worth it it's getting bands the attention they deserve. So thank you readers for fulfilling our request!
Now get out there and support more local heroes!
(02/02/2012) 'Dolls CD is part of the Biig Picture
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All of the myriad acts in the New London music scene have their own agendas and priorities. There's ...All of the myriad acts in the New London music scene have their own agendas and priorities. There's no right or wrong to the respective missions, and the creation of music is, in any case, a good and fun thing.
But the Suicide Dolls, a steamroller trio whose fusion of punk, rock and pop styles is exceptionally creative and powerful, are following perhaps the most time-honored rock stereotype. That is, they quit their day jobs a few years back, have embraced the subsequent tough financial times cheerfully, and are absolutely committed to the idea of Going For It.
"As for a strategy on how to go up levels in this business, the only thing we have tried is working really hard at it," says bassist/vocalist Michelle Montavon, who founded the band with her husband, guitarist/vocalist Brian Albano, in 2002. "Up until now, we've really only concentrated on playing whenever and wherever we could - near and far - and that's why we quit our day jobs."
Indeed, after years of slogging it out on the road, the band - with drummer Matt Covey - has established itself as a live act with a strong following and a booking history from New York City to Chicago and Northampton to Boston.
But the band had no album to help push the momentum. Though they'd tried recording at various points, the results never met with the members' satisfaction - a situation that's been solved with the recent release of their first album, a driving, anthemic collection of tunes called "Prayers in Parking Lots." Co-produced and engineered by Justin Pizzoferrato (The Hold Steady, Dinosaur, Jr., Sonic Youth), the CD was stunningly recorded at Q Division Studios in Somerville, Mass., and showcases the finest of the group's estimable catalog.
"All the road work was starting to pay off a teeny little bit, and now we have an actual CD to push," Montavon says. "We're not getting any younger so the time to give it a shot for REAL is now."
It seems like a long time ago that Montavon and Albano met and started dating - back when they were students at New London High School and couldn't find a music scene in which to nurture their ambitions. After years of sonic evolution, in towns like Chicago and Providence, they established a proper base back home and have moved forward.
"Moving up levels probably means different things to different people," Montavon says. She describes hours spent online daily, trying to broaden their touring circuit, finding new clubs and bands to link up with, and trying to figure out the advantages of label support.
"I'm sure some of the (logistical work) would be lessened with a label behind us, or at least helping out," she says. "We could concentrate more on the actual musical aspect of it, which would be nice." She laughs. "A slight pay increase would be nice, too."
(01/27/2012) Interview qith the Deli's Band of the Month (December) - the Suicide Dolls
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How did The Suicide Dolls start? Michelle: Brian and I have been playing music together since the...How did The Suicide Dolls start?
Michelle: Brian and I have been playing music together since the mid 90s. We turned into a droney/chuggy noise band with no vocals while living in Providence, RI in the later 90s. You couldn't really get shows with that kind of stuff in bars, and in 2002/2003 we decided to add a more 'regular' song structure to the weird jams we were playing. What we got with our new formula were simpler, poppy-yet-noisy songs that are a little rough around the edges.
Where did the band name come from?
Michelle: A few people have actually taken some issue with our name, but it's really just a way to describe our take on society's self-destructive nature. Everyone plays with their own self-destruction in one way or another. Drinking, smoking, obsessing... almost everyone has a vice these days, so really, we're ALL Suicide Dolls. The preist, policeman, your dad, and you, too.
What are your biggest musical influences?
Michelle and Brian: We're kind of unique in the way that we have so many of the same influences. We've known eachother for such a long time that we pull from the same spectrum: 70s & 80s Punk, No Wave, New Wave & Pop. 80s Alt, Post-Punk, Art-Rock and Pop. 90s Noise Rock, Indie Rock, Garage Rock, and Stoner Rock. Out of all the bands we love, our most direct influences are probably: Sonic Youth, the Jesus Lizard, Joy Division, the Smiths, Pixies, Shellac, Beatles, the Cure, Cows, Doors, Jesus and Mary Chain, DKs, Unwound, Glenn Branca, early U2, Velvet Underground, Babes in Toyland, Gang of Four, Sex Pistols, QOTSA, Dinosaur Jr, Fugazi, the Stooges, Nirvana, Lydia Lunch, the Modern Lovers, My Bloody Valentine, David Bowie, Elvis Costello... this road can take you to the Bee Gees and beyond if you let it...
Matt: I find that individual records have a bigger influence on me than specific artists' bodies of work... but there's just too many records and artists and I always forget some big ones. Here's a few: Igor Stravinsky, Miles Davis, Steve Reich, Fugazi, James Brown, J Robbins, Medeski Martin and Wood, Snapcase, Antibalas, Bane, John Scofield, Dave Holland Quintet, Q And Not U, Wu-Tang, The Roots, Queens of The Stone Age, Blood Brothers, Glassjaw, Wayne Krantz, Cee-Lo Green, Wu-Tang, Brazilian Girls, Budos Band, KRS-One, Aesop Rock, Deftones, Tom Waits, The Meters, Bad Brains, Rage Against The Machine, The Slackers, Herbie Hancock, Botch, The Aggrolites, The Clash, Converge, The Mars Volta/At The Drive-In, . I'm also lucky enough to have been playing for one of my favorite bands for the last 3 years, Shai Hulud.
What artists (local, national and/or international) are you currently listening to?
Michelle: For the last year or so, I've been listening to mostly Pandora. Some of my favorite channels are: Unwound, the Jesus and Mary Chain, Liars, Shellac, Pussy Galore, The Fall, Hot Snakes, the Replacements, Big Black, Wire, Cows, and quite possibly the shining diamond of them all, Christopher Cross. I like to pretend that this is what's popular on the airwaves.
Brian: Sonic Youth, Pixies, Joy Division, Iggy Pop, and anyone who steals from them, or anyone they stole from. We're currently listening to alot of music. Alright fine, I post alot of videos from The Smiths and Magazine.
Matt: I'm on a BIG Rocket From The Crypt & Hot Snakes kick right now. Also Budos Band, The Flatliners, Fake Babies, Endwell, Stepkids, Sonic Boom Six, Beastie Boys, Stuck Lucky, All Teeth, The Carrier, Run With The Hunted, Aggrolites, Battles, Bill Withers, Descendents, Propagandhi, Pharoahe Monch, Robert Glasper, Sleigh Bells, Fela Kuti, Counterparts, Passion Pit
What's the first concert that you ever attended and first album that you ever bought?
Michelle: I saw the Monkees in 1986 or 1987, but the first rock concert i saw was the INXS CALLING ALL NATIONS Tour in the summer of 1988 at the Hartford Civic Center. I was 14... Brian was actually at the same show--it was also HIS first rock concert--but we didn't know eachother yet. The first record i actually bought was Michael Jackson's Thriller... it ruled so damn hard when i took it home and played it!
Brian: INXS Calling All Nations Tour. It was in Hartford CT, but I lived in New London CT and my mom wouldn't let me go. Well I had a job under the table washing dishes (I was 14), and I bought a ticket anyway. On the day of the show, I got a train ticket to Hartford and had to run from the station to the show... I got there just in time as INXS was hitting the stage. It was awsome!! Unfortunatley for me, the train station was closed after the show and I had to call my mom and let her know I was on the other side of CT. She was PISSED!! I found out a few months later that Michelle was at that show. I didn't know her yet, but a few months later... "I was at that show too!!" The first album I bought was Seven and the Ragged Tiger by Duran Duran.
Matt: First show was The Misfits, Marky Ramone and The Intruders, and Maximum Penalty in 1995 or 96 at The El N Gee club in New London, CT. First Album was either Permanent Vacation by Aerosmith or Skid Row's self-titled record. Also worth noting, first song I remember being fascinated by was Poison by Bell Biv Devoe
What do you love about New England's music scene?
Michelle: I love how many different scenes exist within our region... there are quite a few thriving. The Suicide Dolls try to play & check out other scenes as much as possible, and we've met awesome people all over. New England has an amazing array of bands here that span every genre, so much so, that I think we're going to make some real noise nationally soon.
Brian: What I love about the New England music scene is it's always rediscovering itself. It's not a corner of a city block, it's a region. The music scene in New England isn't a sound or an image, it's a spirit and a attitude. New England also has under it's umbrella many different locations and scenes. This constant re-examining makes it so New England bands develop more of a sense of an individual sound as opposed to "everyone from here sounds like this". In many scenes, everyone sounds the same, but in New England, lots of the scenes sound different.
Matt: New England has this great combination of having deep, pluralistic musical roots while also being firmly in the gravitational pull of NYC and Boston. So even though we're affected by trends and the newest, hottest shit, it gets filtered through music and art that's been deeply embedded here for decades (sometimes centuries). We don't sway in the wind, but we do take lessons from it.
What would you like to see change in the local music scene?
Michelle: The different scenes are all relatively close geographically, but not enough bands play in thier neighbors' backyards. It would be awesome to see more unification and reaching out between the different scenes in NE, because they exist and it would only make us stronger. We all have something different to offer the other. This exists to some degree already, of course. We're all New Englanders! We are in an awesomely intelligent and creative part of the East Coast. People look us over, but we were the first in the country, and we have an attitude that's all our own. If everyone was open to making a huge net of support between bands, fans and venues, we would easily become where the rest of the country looked to find new and exciting music.
Brian: I would like to see more Labels pop up to help support the vast variety of bands that we have here. There's a lot of talent here, and most New England bands are doing everythng themselves. There are some pretty successful venues here, as well as some great show promoters. It would be awesome to see a few labels support the bands who play here and fill the bars here. It would really give a different sense of legitimacy to our scene if we had a few really good labels that represented the best of our region and all it's many genres.
Matt: 1) A sense of ambition and bigger purpose. I think a lot of people here don't see the possibilites for making a living at this the way they do in NYC or LA, and while that is part and parcel of why music works the way it does in New England I'd like to see the music that's coming out of here take flight more often.
2) Thanks, New England's Universities, for continuing to throw money at bands that have shitty content and/or no substance. Just because a band has it's shit together doesn't mean it's not crappy, white-boy reggae or lame, regurgitated Allman Brothers tunes. Please learn the difference between art & culture and superficial crap. There's a LOT of bands that are contributing to our culture while still being entertaining that would kill for those opportunities.
What are your plans for the upcoming year?
Michelle: We are officially releasing our new album, Prayers In Parking Lots on Tuesday, Jan 31. We're looking forward to the new year, it looks like a good one. We'll be playing lots of shows, making a few videos and start the writing process again. We'll just follow the path where it takes us & hope there's something shiny at the end of it!
Is there a piece of equipment you couldn't live without and why?
Michelle: I would freak out without my P-Bass because it's the only bass i've played in the last 10 years.
Brian: My Fender Jazzmaster. It can't be killed. It steals souls.
Matt: Lately it's been my Slingerland Brass Piccolo snare drum. It's a 90s reissue but it has all the 60s style hardware and construction. I have ended up using it for virtually every kind of music without fail and it still retains it's unique spark no matter how I tune it, muffle it, or what heads I use.
Why do you read The Deli?
Michelle: The Deli is one of the best music mags out there, and has been for some time. I've absloutely checked out bands on the Deli's reccomendation, and i can actually say i dug most, which is rare for me! You guys have a really great, extensive list of bands that, in addition to giving exposure, is also actually a really helpful tool for musicians ;)
Brian: For the pretty obvious reasons. Such a huge band directory. Bands need to know aboout other bands. Not just to figure out new show line-ups, but also so we can hear what everybody is doing out there. I like the reader's polls, the album reviews and hearing tracks from the new albums. I also like how it has band charts. If you are into going out and supporting a scene, seeing live bands at venues, it can be pretty helpful not just in new England... the Deli covers all different music regions of the country.
Matt: New England is made up of fragmented, yet overlapping scenes. It's nice to finally have someone fresh and relevant focusing on the whole and not just the parts.
(02/28/2012) Vote For The Suicide Dolls: Best New New England Band
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This was just a small blurb that Iman Lababedi (former rock critic with Creem Magazine, founder of R...This was just a small blurb that Iman Lababedi (former rock critic with Creem Magazine, founder of Rock NYC Live and Recorded) posted to help us with our nomination. The words he used to describe us were just too awesome not to include in our press kit:
"Rock NYC faves the Suicide Dolls, the best purveyors of noise abattoir out there, are up for Best new New England Band after six years!
And not just because they are featured in rock nyc's perpetually in post-production commercial, or even because Helen thinks Michelle Montavon is the nicest person, but because they fucking rock like Gods.
...Do your duty to the country that raised you and vote vote vote. I mean it. Don't make me come after you.
(03/10/2011) The Suicide Dolls: Local Heroes--Snarky Speakers
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I have made it a personal mission to support my local heroes. I dont want a world full of cookie cu...I have made it a personal mission to support my local heroes. I dont want a world full of cookie cutter music, I want the new and the old and something just different to feed upon.
Twitter can be a great resource. On Grammy night as I sat leg up snarfing soy ice cream from the carton I noticed The Suicide Dolls, a band I follow making some of the most snarky, sarcastic slamming statements of all time. Researching more I made contact and upon doing so found something yummy.
As this months public service annoucncement I present to you Connecticuts own Suicide Dolls, the coolest trio you’ve never seen.
Ive opted for an email interview since I loved the writing style I saw in their Twitter.. check out whats happening in the real world while Kesha gets the press.
What’s with the name- tell me about your band mates, and your backgrounds.The Band ::
the Suicide Dolls are Brian James Albano (Brian Suicide) — guitar/vocals // Michelle Montavon (Michelle Suicide) — bass/vocals // Matt Covey — drums.
Brian and I have known eachother since 1988 & have been playing music since 1994. We’re from New London, CT and started in 2002. We actually took a break to work on a political campaign in late 2003, but picked up again in 2004 and haven’t stopped since. We’ve worked with many talented drummers over the years, but are really happy to be playing with Matt Covey again… this is his second run with us, the first being in 2006-2007, and then again from 2009-present. Matt has dedicated his entire life to the drums, and it shows.
Our Name ::
Anyone, with any vice, plays with their own self-destruction and is therefore a Suicide Doll.
Charlie Sheen is a Suicide Doll… Eliott Spitzer, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and Televangelist Jim Bakker (caught with his pants down) are all Suicide Dolls. YOU, reading this, are probably one, too.
Strangely, we found out a while after we started that there was a Japanese movie called ‘Suicide Dolls’ (1999) which we never saw. In 2010, there was an American re-make of that movie which we ALSO have not seen.
What are the influences of you and the band as a wholeIf you mean musical influences, we all listen to a wide spectrum of genres… growing up in the 80s, we have a hard time escaping the larger-than-life pop-influence of that decade in general. We’re heavily inspired by 60s psychedlia, 70s punk & No Wave, 80s post-punk & alternative, and 90s+2000s garage, grunge & noise. Covey, our drummer, is also all over the musical map… he can go from Funk, Soul & Jazz, Ska, Reggae & Punk, Hip Hop, Dance or Hardcore in the blink of an eye. Somehow, we make all these influences work when we get together.
Brian and I both picked up our instruments in 1994. We played in 2 different drone/all-noise bands in the mid-late 90s before eventually turning into the Suicide Dolls. We basically took the far-out, experimental jams of our noise bands and incorporated them into a pop/punk structure.
Covey has played with tons of bands, including The Flaming Tsunami’s, and is currently also the drummer for Shai Hulud (Metal Blade Records) who are a Progressive Hardcore/Metalcore band, which interestingly couldn’t be more different than us genre-wise.
What are your thoughts on the current state of music? With people like Beiber and Gaga taking over the air, is alternative music worth the fight?While there’s not much we can do about the state of popular music today, as music lovers, we can’t help but resent what it has become. It has never been so saturated, with so few choices on the national airwaves. The select few that ARE played are violently shoved down people’s throats. With enough repetition of the same thing, people start to believe that they actually LIKE it.
The fact that our culture has been trying to put 16 yr old kids on a pedestal, or look to them for any kind of substance AT ALL is depressing. Likewise, we’re not entirely sure how Gaga became as powerful as she is. Like why would Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, call her before announcing ANY legislative decisions?? It seems absurd to us. We shouldn’t be watching CNN and be told that politicians are looking to her for direction on any issue, or get ‘coast-to-coast reaction’ of Bieber’s haircut. It is troubling to us, to say the least.
On the other side, though, there has never been a bigger underground than there is now. There are undergrounds to the underground… In a way, alternative music has been given the chance to re-claim its’ genre. The hardest part for us sometimes is that we are little older and clearly remember the 80s– when alternative really WAS the alternative to what was on the radio… It’s starting to feel like that actually exists again, and that’s not so bad.
Self promotion, social networking. Do you find it helpful or expected? The market is saturated with bands now, how do you stand out?We absolutely find it helpful. Technology has shrunken the world, and we would not have been able to tour as easily without being able to connect to so many different music scenes around the country. The social networks have made that possible. Bands who are motivated can really do a lot for themselves, but self promotion will only go so far. In the end, you still need to be great live and have interesting songs in order to stand out from the crowd. Unless, of course, you ‘know someone’.
Something we have seen more of over the last year or so are bands who have only been together for a few months taking off really quickly. They get one mention in the ‘right’ blog, or they know someone who writes for one, and all of a sudden, they are given a ton of respect out of nowhere, without knowing what it really means to BE a band. There are a good amount of bands who weren’t around 1 or 2 years ago that are being hailed as the next big thing. For a band that does it the hard way, it can sting a little, especially if said bands create bad karma around themselves.
A great expample :: We were recently added to a bill in NYC with 3 bands who have played the scene for years, and 1 band who is recent. The band who is new to the scene have not played many shows, and have not dealt with many bands. The female member in the band is well connected, as she has a supporting role on the HBO series ‘Boardwalk Empire’. She allegedly had ”Industry People” coming to see her performance that night, and the Suicide Dolls were scheduled to play right before her band. People were buzzing about the show, as it was a strong bill of known bands and we have not played NYC since last year. Because of this, she used her pull as an ‘actress’ to have us removed from the bill… We were told by the other bands that her band did not want the ‘industry people’ to see us band play before HER band performed, because she wanted the night to be about them.
Maybe that is how people treat eachother in the acting world, but in the MUSIC world–with bands who have played all over, and have played for years–it is considered VERY bad karma to treat another band that way. SO bad, in fact, that every other band on that bill dropped off and left them to scramble to fill the night, with an entirely new lineup at the last minute. THAT is what we call band solidarity!!
Gigging/ recording. In the states bands are traveling in packs. Financially more sound but it also prevents the recording of new material. Your thoughts on this trend?
Every tour that we have done has been by ourselves. We know of bands who travel together, but for us, it is far easier to approach a venue with 2 locals and 1 out of town band on any given night. As the out of towners, you really want as much local support as possible… many lineups have 3 bands, and if you travel with another band it doesn’t leave much room for locals to draw.
Regionally, it is safe to say that the Suicide Dolls are known as being one of the most helpful bands around right now. We firmly believe that all scenes can be enriched by bringing new bands into them… we have brought countless bands into our scene from out of town, out of state, and even from different countries. We have helped other bands get gigs that we didn’t even play… it’s all about keeping your karma clean, and knowing that eventually, it will return to you three-fold.
We are currently defined by our live shows and our long list of places we’ve played… we are completely DIY & have no day jobs, and we have never had the money required to hit the studio for a ‘proper’ recording. Everything we have done has been in a basement or basic home studio… until now. At the end of March, we are entering the legendary Q Division Studios in Boston, where Pixies, Mission of Burma, Steve Albini, Morphine, and many others have previously recorded. We will also be recorded by Justin Pizzoferrato, who has engineering credits with Dinosaur Jr, J Mascis, Thurston Moore, Sonic Youth, Free Kitten and the Hold Steady, among others. We are looking forward to finally having a CD available that is a good representative of what we’re about, and we’re hoping to have it mastered and ready for release this summer.
7- Lyrical inspiration, arts and movement. other interests that tie in to the goals of the band. (this is your shameless self promotion portion! Go big!)
Lyrical Inspiration ::
Brian and I are the 2 lyrical songwriters of the band, and have both individually lived through incredibly twisted childhoods… We were both seperatley exposed to things before we hit 10 years old that many people don’t have to deal with until their late teens/early 20s. Because of our experiences as kids, we are still filled with an exorbitant amount of angst and inappropriate senses of humor–even as adults. It inevitably shines through in our lyrics and music, for better or worse. Most of our songs have something to do with our jaded views of society, sex and drugs, dark secrets and obsessions, the highs and lows of relationships, actual experiences and people who have passed away. We write about mythological gods and the power they have to grant wishes, as well as those dark experiences from our childhoods that still haunt us. When we write, we are really putting it all out there… it is truly a window into our souls.
We feel we have been lucky in this life to connect with eachother, because our goals and interests are largely the same. We all want to be involved in music for as long as we can, and bring it to every corner of the globe however we can. The three of us are extremely motivated and friendly, and really try to express something with our music. We are all in agreement that it’s about being a PART of something, not just being the only star on the tree. We all love & live our art, and because of this, we are probably the most economically-challenged band you will ever meet! We know full well that certain genres may trend at different times, but it doesn’t stop us from being true to our sound, which we have worked hard to create. I think the only complaint from any of us is that we all wish the music ‘industry’ was just a bit kinder to the ‘musicians’ who make the music… you know, just so we can buy a new pair of shoes or jeans when we get holes in our current pair ;)
We have asked this of every artist we have interviewed–what would you call the most surprising song on your iPod. Something no one would expect you to have on there.
Bread “Everything I Own”. When that shit comes on, I (michelle) rock out with the devil horns. Big fan of Christopher Cross’s “Sailing” and Robert Johns “Sad Eyes”, too. :)
We have asked this of every artist we have interviewed -describe yourself in 3 words
the Suicide Dolls
(10/26/2011) The Suicide Dolls Record Their Debut CD
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Michelle Montavon and Brian Albano are freaking out about several things. First, the bad news: they'...Michelle Montavon and Brian Albano are freaking out about several things. First, the bad news: they're still reeling from last week's announcement that Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon are breaking up. The split between Sonic Youth's lead dude and dudette might be a news item for most folks, but it hits close to home for Montavon and Albano, whose punky romance is cut from a similar mold. The New London husband and wife co-founded the Suicide Dolls in 2002, but they've been a couple since high school. Moore and Gordon — one of the few happy rock couples out there — projected a fusion of stability and creativity that Montavon and Albano found appealing.
"I never thought there was gonna be no Sonic Youth," says Montavon. "Even the Rolling Stones are in their 60s and putting out music that's still challenging. They're not just phoning it in. So I figured if they were still together, Sonic Youth would be too."
"[Sonic Youth was] doing something bands haven't done recently, which is that they were progressing," adds Albano, musing on their recent run of acclaimed releases.
The Suicide Dolls are progressing, too. (That's the good news.) Along with drummer Matt Covey, Montavon and Albano finally entered the studio to record their first album. "We've done everything kind of backwards as a band," Montavon explains. "We didn't take the whole thing seriously until five or six years ago, and then we quit our jobs and said 'Let's do this, we're not getting any younger.' We really didn't have the money to get a producer or go into a nice studio. We did a lot of home recordings, which I think sounded OK for home recordings, but they didn't capture us in the best way."
The grunge trio was sick of making excuses ("We would send tracks to booking agents but we would always say 'We really sound better live!'" says Montavon), so they decided to take the plunge and record earlier this year. The resulting album, Prayers in Parking Lots, comes out in November.
Albano describes the album's sound as "big guitars, big bass, big drums; a lot of moodiness, rockiness, a lot of emotion in there. I think we put our hearts on our sleeve. It gives a nod to a lot of the bands we were influenced by. I would say we're more influenced by the underground bands of the '80s than the '90s. Our drummer calls it like a rhinoceros of sound. Always sort of on the attack."
It's a long-overdue album for a band that has been a staple of the New London scene for years now. Dark and bitter, the Suicide Dolls have been at the center of the city's image as a source of turbulent rock. "There is a lot of angst in our music," says Montavon. "We still have that 15-year-old angst that comes through. But a lot of the music [that's popular right now] is sort of happy, like 'I'm gonna forget about what's going on and dance the night away.' That's great, but there needs to be some room in the industry for stuff that's dealing with the changing times."
Albano sums up their outlook thusly: "I don't mind if you find happiness and lollipops, but first I want you to take a journey through night to get to it."
You can preview nine of the tracks from Prayers in Parking Lots on the Suicide Dolls' Bandcamp page, thesuicidedolls.bandcamp.com. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for an announcement regarding their upcoming CD release show.
(12/07/2011) Suicide Dolls CD Release / CD Review
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CD Review: Having been raised on a steady diet of classic rock and having forged my own musical i...CD Review:
Having been raised on a steady diet of classic rock and having forged my own musical identity with the grunge movement of the 90’s I have come to miss rock and roll. I feel like I’ve been forgotten. There is just something missing in a lot of bands today. Perhaps it’s the fact that genres like “classic rock”, “grunge” and “alternative” don’t actually have anything to do with the sound of the music. They are all just flowery ways of saying ROCK. In a day and age where bands have pigeonholed themselves into super specific genre’s, bands like The Suicide Dolls are now having to cope with being called rock bands.
Prayer’s in Parking Lots revels in the fact that you can’t stick it in a box but never lowers it to being a “genre crossing” experiment. The punk rock clang bass gives the songs speed and movement, the drums range from a hardcore thump to psychedelic cymbal wash and guitars soar over the rhythm section covering the whole thing in a blanket of buzz saws and dope smoke. There is an unmistakable intensity and paranoia to the sound of this record. Prayer’s in Parking Lots is a wild animal that has been backed into a corner which has forced it to lash out. The guitars at the end of “Drive” go from a melodic single note melody to crushing chords on the verge of massive feedback that are only accented by the near constant crack of the snare drum. The noise soaked bridge section of “Smash” builds to out of control only to recoil perfectly back into the verse readying to strike at you again. The explosions of sound you hear on this album do not come from an artsy abstract place but from the hands of people that feel looked over and are trying to grab a hold of your attention at all costs, even if they have to be loud and mean.
Through all this the Suicide Dolls never alienate their audience. The chorus’s are prevalent and hooky which always gives the listener an anchor when they feel like the song might leave them stranded. There isn’t a single scream on the album either. While the singing sometimes goes more towards talking or reciting and isn’t the most melodic part of a song the vocals wouldn’t be considered offensive. These are things that keep Prayer’s in Parking Lots from being pigeonholed as a “noise rock” or “post hardcore” record. It may not be pop sensitive in style or subject but it is a pop sensitive structure that they’re building from.
The Suicide Dolls draw from a lot of bands that people now take for granted; The Pixies, Joy Division and Sonic Youth are the first 3 that come to mind. These bands that once saturated the hearts and minds of rockers everywhere are now going extinct. Prayers in Parking Lots will force you to remember what it was that drew you to these bands. Not because it sounds like them, but because it has the same quality you can’t quite put your finger on... because it’s something that can’t be summed up in a 2 word genre.
The Suicide Dolls have been known for a long time as one of the hardest working bands in New London. They're always bringing new and interesting bands to town as well as traveling and touring the country... meeting new people and bands, speaking the gospel of our rock n’ roll prowess. Melding punk rock with psychedelic and shoe gaze, their blend of rock n’ roll has never been about fitting in but giving everyone something to connect with. Those of us in the New London scene have become very familiar with their on stage antics and blistering volumes, but what about a tangible product? There have been a few demos, singles and compilation tracks since they returned to the New London music scene in 2002, but we have yet to see a proper album and we here WailingCity.com, along with the rest of humanity, have been chomping at the bit. They're debut LP Prayers in Parking Lots is being released Friday, December 10th at the Oasis. This long awaited CD release extravaganza will feature Bostonite Jeremy Dubs (Rabbit Rabbit & Bunnies) with his new band Speak!, NJ rockers The Everymen and NL's own Wrist Like This. We asked the Suicide Dolls bassist and singer Michelle Montavon about music, life and what it was like to record their latest release.
Interview by Meghan Killimade
WC: Preparing this new record for release has been a long and rough process for you guys; tell us a little about the recording process and the things you've been through while making this record. How do you feel now that it's actually complete?!
MM: Now that it's done, we're incredibly happy with the way it came out! There are definitely little things on the album we would have liked to do differently if we had more time, but with only 4 days of actual recording, we think it came out great. The process itself was pretty amazing... it was the first time that we were in an environment where people treated us like we were doing something important. Mostly people think that bands play as a hobby, or that because there's not much money to be made, it's not a serious ambition. While we were in Q Division Studios, they waited on us hand and foot so that we could concentrate on our recordings. For a band that's used to doing everything for themselves, it actually embarrassed us by how well we were treated that week! The music was top priority there, and it was one of the best experiences we've ever had as a band. The 'rough' part really came about after it was done... we had originally hoped for a summer release, but about a week after we got the tracks mastered, we got the call from upstate NY that Brian's mother was gravely ill... she passed away at the end of June, and we were very lucky to have been able to spend that last week with her. We had money saved up to press the album, but we ended up spending most of it on hotels and food over the 2 weeks that we were up there. It was--and still is--a really difficult thing to deal with. Another huge delay was our truck's engine exploding at the end of August. That set us back an enormous amount of money. We were starting to think that we weren't going to be able to get the record out this year at all, so we are beyond grateful that this is actually happening!
WC: The record was engineered by Justin Pizzoferrato who works with bands like Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr.; how does it feel to work with someone who's worked with some of your biggest influences?
MM: It was awesome. Not only were we in a studio that was top notch, we were able to work with someone who knew exactly what to do to capture our sound on a recording. We knew if bands that we held in such high esteem trusted him with THEIR recordings, we wouldn't have to do much other than show up and plug in. And basically, that's what happened. We gave direction where we thought it was needed to get our vision across, but mostly, we let him do what he does best. We'd love to have been able to see what happened if we had 2 weeks in there with him, but in 4 days, he was able to do something that we--and everyone else we've ever worked with--could not.
WC: You've had a lot of exciting shows the last few months including a CMJ showcase in NYC; what recent shows stand out in your mind?
MM: We were really excited that The Deli Magazine asked us to be a part of their showcase this year! We know a lot of bands were considered, so it was really cool that they gave it to us. It was even better to come home the next day and find out that the Deli-New England nominated us for Artist of the Month. We ended up winning, and we played Boston 2 weeks after that. I would say that our Boston show was the most memorable over the last few months. Both the venue and the feedback we received from that show were amazing, and more uplifting and positive than we expected going in. We plan on returning in the coming months, and as always, we hope to bring back some of the Boston area bands we have been discovering to play in New London so that NL can discover them, too.
WC: You guys put a huge amount of time and effort into the band. What kind of things do you do to keep The Suicide Dolls moving forward?
MM: Thank You!! We truly have worked hard at this from day one. The reason we quit our jobs 5 years ago was to be able to do this without distraction. It sounds like it's an easy thing to do, but it's not. It's hard to just go out to a bar and hang out because we have to budget every dime that we have.... but, when you do this yourself, it's like running a business, and there's really a ton of work involved. Sure, you wish it actually PAID better, but we believe in what we do. Our energy is high and our ideas are good, and the reception we get after people see us live really fuels our fire. It let's us know that we're doing something right, and we believe we still have something to offer that has not been discovered yet. Brian and I have also led very tumultuous lives, and our band allows us to exercise some if that. In a weird way, we're still dealing with events that happened to us as kids. I suppose we'll always find an artistic outlet to deal with the residue of our pasts, and in that regard, it's easy to keep it all going. We're pretty goofy people if you know us, but we don't look at our music that way. And, when you pair our lyrics with our songs, it becomes even more apparent.
WC: What's the future hold for the Suicide Dolls?
MM: We're going to concentrate on trying to promote this album for the next year and see where it takes us... we would ideally like to tour in the spring or summer. We have new songs and ideas waiting in the wings, and we'll probably start the writing process again in January/February. We know that we're not trendy... we know that we're a little darker than what some people want, a little too poppy for others, a little less technically-inclined than some other people would like, etc. But, we stand by our sound and our work ethic. We treat every band with the respect that we would want in return. We try to help as much as we can, and hope that it eventually returns to us full circle. We love hanging out in new scenes and going to new venues, and that makes us want to keep playing shows. You never know exactly what the future holds, but no matter what happens, we can say we did this for a while, had some amazing experiences, and met a lot of great people along the way.
With their searing lyrics and heavy hooks, this band is running full steam ahead, never stopping to look back."
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"This Connecticut-based trio draws on influences from bands like Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth and The Pi..."This Connecticut-based trio draws on influences from bands like Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth and The Pixies. Now, you might think a lot of bands cite those same influences, and you're correct. However, the Suicide Dolls turn their influences into some major inspiration. With their searing lyrics and heavy hooks, this band is running full steam ahead, never stopping to look back."
Devilish rock and roll veterans back with a new, driving concept record
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THE SUICIDE DOLLS “Drive” – Connecticut's devilish rock and roll veterans back with a new, driving c...THE SUICIDE DOLLS “Drive” – Connecticut's devilish rock and roll veterans back with a new, driving concept record last month, and this was the track that jumped out at me.
Rock and Roll Machine
Connecticut rock and roll machine
30 minute to a 1.5 hr set
There are no upcoming dates at this time.