July 3, 2009

spinneretteBrody Dalle, late of the punk band the Distillers, steps into the electronic dance rock field with her band’s self-titled debut, Spinnerette. Most of the album is taken up by a fusion of industrial, electronica and punk rock, though on track 7, “Distorting A Code,” there’s a decidedly 80’s New Wave influence going on. Although Dalle and company don’t bring a lot new to the genre, the album mostly works owing to Dalle’s charismatic presence and a solid backing band (Tony Bevilacqua, Jack Irons and Alain Johannes). Distillers fans may like that the band reverts to some bluesy metal influenced rock for the last couple of tracks, “Impaler” and “A Presciption For Mankind.” It’s by no means a perfect album, but it’s worth the ride for its best tracks, “Ghetto Love,” “All Babes Are Wolves,” the current single “Baptized By Fire” and “Sex Bomb,” which strikes just the right balance between sexy and campy.


gossipmusicformenAfter a strong, fast paced first half, Music For Men, the new album from Portland based band the Gossip, slows down a lot towards the end, unfortunately putting the brakes on what is otherwise is pretty terrific dance record. Fortunately, the album follows up the concluding two disco and soul-styled ballads with an uncredited B-52’s style rocker, “Spare Me From The Mold,” which closes Music For Men on a high note. It’s not that the ballads are bad, as it’s pretty clear that lead singer Beth Ditto, who possesses one of the most distinctive and powerful voices in modern rock, could sing just about anything and make it sound compelling. It’s just the faster paced songs, which mix up New Wave, punk and disco influences almost seamlessly, are just so much better: Any band would kill to have songs as dance floor ready as the first single, “Heavy Cross,” as well as “8th Wonder” and “Pop Goes The World” and that closing number. (“Men In Love” would be included, too, were it not for a strangely uninspired chorus.) Despite some of my misgivings, I still recommend Music For Men, because when the Gossip are at the top of their game, they play dance oriented rock like they invented it, and that’s just too much good fun to miss.