The Galaxy Hut
August 2, 2004
By DOUG SHEPPARD
Ask any Washingtonian what it’s like in Our Nation’s Capital in the summer - and I guarantee you’re not gonna hear about how much they love the weather. Yep, we have a much more powerful weapon against terrorists than firepower: the humidity. And long after Osama Bin Laden’s a crepe suzette for worms (or more preferably, on a meathook in Dupont Circle), we’ll have the humidity that falls on the city like pig blood on Sissy Spacek’s head, engulfing everything more than an overlarge sauna in some Planet of the Apes sequel.
So yeah, that AC can come in handy. And sometimes, it takes more than the electrified cool to provide comfort, so when the word on the street is that an all-girl band from North Carolina is in town, ready to rock, you go.
Such was the case when some Tarheelettes called the Pinkslips rolled into the Galaxy Hut in Arlington, Va. on the muggy, rainy Monday night of August 2. You don’t go to these gigs to fall in love. But anyone with the spirit of rock and roll pervading from their head down to their toenails couldn’t help but feel the atmospheric pressure rise once inside this Galaxy.
These are the kind of Pinkslips that you like to be handed: raw and spontaneous, but with the same kind of chemistry that makes Revlon’s new lipstick stay on longer, or maybe like the impression of the “lipstick-stained blonde hair” in Alice Cooper’s “Teenage Lament ’74.”
The main inspiration for lipsmackin’ here, however, lies in the songcraft. “New Crush,” the title track from the Pinkslips’ self-released new EP, is a catchy girl-boy love tune revisiting the nexus between the coy flirtatiousness of the Shangri-Las and the friskiness of the Runaways, updating it onto a new palette. Elsewhere, the Slips let their catty side corner the listener, as on rockers like “9 to 5 Nights,” a friendly backhand slap across Dolly Parton’s face, and especially this year’s best rock song, “Never Dating a Rock Musician Again,” where the screechy harmonies blurt it out with feminist spunk (and seeing it live is even better). And on “The Angry Song” and “Your Pinkslip,” the spirit of Meg White is transplanted as the Pinkslips claim rock ’n’ roll angst for the fairer sex.
But this ain’t the self-pitying, spiteful woman trip heard on so many lame alternative rock records (not to suggest that male alt rockers whine any less) over the past 20 years; it’s a bold expression of what women can do for rock and roll, the way the Pleasure Seekers (Suzi Quatro’s first band) did it in 1965, the way L7 did it in 1991, and the way the Gore Gore Girls did it in 2002 (and continue to this day). And if bassist/vocalist Leigh Fox bears a stunning resemblance to a young Victoria Principal as guitarist Beth Turner and drummer Elizabeth Hammond set the stage alight, then that’s just the hot pink frosting on this cake.
Perhaps the main virtue the Pinkslips embody, however, is innocence - in a musical sense. They formed in late 2002 in spite of no prior experience, apparently not realizing they were about to step in a back-stabbing, nepotistic, whoring heap of cow manure called the music industry. They may also be blissfully unaware of how truly hard it is to write a good song (says the crabby writer who’s tired of tuneless Stooges wannabes), or how hard chemistry is to come by between musicians. (Sssshhh ... don’t tell them!) Or maybe they knew all of this.
But in any case, their projection of innocence, not to mention the genuine fun of their live show, is our gain. To paraphrase the Originals, “baby, these women are for real.” And to paraphrase Kim Fowley, “I’m going up the street to have ice cream, and when I come back, the Pinkslips better be bigger than those bimbos named Jessica and Britney or ... fuck you!”
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