Nov 15, 2011

Lynchpins of the sputtering Green Bay music scene ((and living maybe two miles from me)), Holly and the Nice Lions politely append a rhythm section ((consisting of two members of Beach Patrol)) to a core nexus ((consisting of one member of Holly Trasti)) to yield a sort of quasi-punkily electrified variant on the alt-pop female singer/songwriter theme, occasionally veering into the alt-countryisms for which i’ve always assumed the genre was known ((although i’ll admit i have no idea what i mean when i use the prefix “alt-” and i was more of a Mac guy anyway)), but usually sounding more like Chrissy Hynde’s cute little sister ((er...i guess that would be more like “Chrissy Hynde’s cute daughter” at this late date)) fronting the Dead Milkmen or something, except for “Biologies (us vs. art)” which just sounds like Holly after being punched in the head by D.J. Lebowitz and suffering temporary but severe brain damage, and “Ode To A Young Girl” which sounds like some kind of attempt at a feminist Led Zeppelin, but I always thought Robert Plant sang like a lesbian anyway, so in the grand scheme of things that’s really nothing noteworthy. The lack of overt ((i.e., monied to any degree of noteworthiness)) production values usually doesn’t hurt the overall project, as Holly’s guitar chops and adorably plugged-up singing voice aren’t really sonically wowing enough to be the music’s selling point in and of themselves ((put in a slightly less insulting way, “it’s all about the tunes, dude”)), but the album’s two standout tracks—”Coyotes” and “Two Way Street”—are veritably crying out for some serious lovin’, recording-budget-wise. The marchy beat of “Coyotes” evokes delirious campfire visions of some sorta female Adam Ant rocketing to MTV superstardom circa 1982 ((or maybe if Chrissy Hynde was the maid in the “Goody Two Shoes” video and kicked Adam in the nuts and stole his microphone)), but “Two Way Street” is legitimately amazing—i had heard the song live tons of times, but had always assumed it was some Stax/Volt thing that i was too lame/caucasian to know ((especially since they were playing that Stax/Volt box set all afternoon long at the last barbecue i went to at Holly’s house)). Apparently it’s actually an original? Who knew? And where did Holly learn all this stuff about all-night-do-right men and testifying and stuff anyway? I always assumed she just sat in her room listening to Sleater-Kinney and practicing guitar and reading Batman graphic novels! Cripes! I mean, seriously! This song’s so great it sounds like a cover! Take that as backhandedly as you wish, but if i ran a real record label ((i mean, a REALLY real one, with money and hookers and A&R guys and stuff)), i would throw a fucking PILE of cash at this song, and wait for it to throw piles of cash back at me. Or, if i was one of those guys who runs around trying to get famous singers to record songs written by songwriters whom i represent, i’d be shopping this one in tenacious and persistent fashion until either some big famous person recorded it and made us all a gob of money or they all kicked me in the butt so many times in rejection that they fractured my coccyx and i could not continue my pimping. As neither of these scenarios are the case, the band will have to settle for me playing it repeatedly in my car as i drive to the Red Owl® for peanut butter and horchata mix. So long and thanks for all the Sun Chips®! BEST SONG: “Two Way Street” BEST SONG TITLE: “Stop Sobbing,” because it sounds like that Kinks song the Pretenders covered. Actually, it’s really “Tight Tight Tight” but i didn’t want to go there. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Holly and the Nice Lions were originally called “Holly & The Non-Italians,” but changed their name after a guest appearance by the original drummer of Holly & The Italians ((who, oddly enough, currently resides in Wisconsin, although he has never invited me to any barbecues)) somehow made shit too real for the Holly & The Italians people, who hit Holly #2 & crew with a cease and desist regarding the name, which should go far in explaining this liner note item: “Steve Young does not appear courtesy of Holly and the Italians, but rather the Queen of England.”

 –norb (Memorized Dictionary)