Saturday, November 15, 2014

Video Of The Week: The Dollyrots

Formed in Florida but based in Los Angeles from the minute they decided to be a full-time band, The Dollyrots were always about punk rock's primal energy mixed with pop, fun and cuteness,  so it's no wonder their original indie label (Lookout!) was also the one that launched Green Day.

For their 15th music video in 10 years of professional music-making, director R. Ian MacLeod decided to have the band (singer-bassist Kelly Ogden, guitarist Luis Gabezas and part-time drummer Aixa from Go Betty Go pretending to play Stacy Jones' parts) and various characters pose and dance in front of green screens and white backgrounds, with added effects popping up, including the complete lyrics to Get Weird.

And it's a fun song, in the same vein as the rest of their songs that have appeared in movies, TV shows and film trailers - it just lacks the actual element of weirdness. And perhaps a bit of edge, a bit of balls. Or a message. Some consistence, like former label-mates Green Day, or the owner of their second label Joan Jett.

I like art for art's sake (Radiohead), and I'm not adverse to straight-ahead rock, and The Dollyrots score a fine 7/10 on that scale, but they have 5 albums now, and Barefoot And Pregnant is their second after a $33,000 Kickstarter campaign that was originally slated for $7,500 - perhaps it's time they added a bit more value to their output.

I suggest taking a full year to make their next record, keeping their feet on the ground by raising their kid (Ogden and Gabezas are a couple in ''real'' life), and listening to one ''message band'' per week and nothing else - I suggest the following 52: Bad Religion, Joan Jett, Pearl Jam, Rage Against The Machine, Ani DiFranco, Bruce Springsteen, John Fogerty, Sonic Youth, Hole, Tupac Shakur, Public Enemy, Fishbone, Meshell N'Degeo'Cello, Living Colour, Stevie Wonder, Sex Pistols, Me Mom & Morgentaler, Megadeth, Suicidal Tendencies, Infectious Grooves, The Clash, Social Distortion, Green Day, Fugazi, Outernational, Jack White, Placebo, Pennywise, Nine Inch Nails, Vulgaires Machines (sure it's in French, but they'll get the gist of it), Sahara Hotnights, The Raveonettes, The Minutemen, Ben Harper, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Mos Def, Erykah Badu, The Roots, Damian Marley, SuperHeavy, Dead Kennedys, Against Me!, The Mahones, Hawkwind, Crass, Flux Of Pink Indians, X, Ghost Mice, The Nightwatchman, P.J. Harvey, Bikini Kill, and Amanda Palmer / Dresden Dolls.

But there's a good base with The Dollyrots. They can carve out a guitar-driven pop song, they just need to take some polish off the production and not sound so calculated, so maybe just work a bit on their lyrics and delivery. But it's good stuff, I own three of their records myself, and never go more than 10 days without listening to at least a couple of songs all the way through.

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