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Pretty Girls Make Graves preview

| May 3, 2006 | 0 Comments

Pretty Girls Make Graves, Giant Drag
Metro, Chicago
Friday, May 5, 2006

Pretty Girls Make Graves’ third album is a reckoning of sorts for their fans. It’s a long road back to their early calling as a Murder City Devils side project, or as a spunky, female-fronted alternative to At The Drive-In. Élan Vital (Matador) is Blondie for the Joy Division set, death disco after hours.

For the first time PGMG sound like frontwoman Andrea Zollo’s band. Not that she wasn’t an integral part of the first two discs, but in otherwise rudderless, post punk riffing (“The Magic Hour” in particular) she’s the entity adding swagger where it’s needed, or desperate pangs. Momentarily she recalls Karen O.’s heated throes and even Placebo frontman Brian Molko’s androgynous sneer. A smattering of gypsy instrumentation adds a gutted, post-Soviet urbanism for Zollo to stilletto over, as she more assuredly transcends the riot grrrl archetype.

Now the rest of the band needs to follow suit.

Los Angeles’ Giant Drag likewise do a fine job shedding the skins of their influence (PJ Harvey, My Bloody Valentine) on Hearts & Unicorns (Kickball). Annie Hardy occasionally does her best to sabotage the operation — opening “Kevin Is Gay” features a closing verse consisting of “meow” — making you wonder if the cover shot of her with a knife in her thigh should be one of a gun to her toes. Yet there’s something charming of how Hearts holds together despite repeated thrusts of water that jerk the beat and melody. “Cordial Invitation” has a innocent, dulcet chorus worlds away from “Yflmd”‘s Rid Of Me grind, though Giant Drag never seem to be plainly covering bases. It’s all within their range, bark bark.

The Joggers open.

Steve Forstneger

Click here to download Pretty Girls Make Graves’ “The Nocturnal House.”

Click here for a sample of Giant Drag’s “My Dick Sux.”

Category: Stage Buzz, Weekly

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