Little Dolls

Austin band dies wanting to be the best dog in your show

"Solidly in the tradition of Stooges/NY Dolls rock" . . . wait, wait, all the red lights in the universe flashed on the nanosecond my internal fact checkers saw that phrase. So I asked around—as in, I queried some rock experts whose music collections/accumulations are even twice the size of mine. It's now official. Here's the grand total of American groups who have recorded/issued outstanding versions of identikit Stooges- or NY Dolls-style whateveryouwannacallit: zero.

This would make Austin's recently defunct East Side Suicides an anomaly, because their twin-guitar attack traffics in only those two styles, and a good 60 percent of the riffs/songs catch fire even by strict "Shake Appeal"/"Trash" standards. The 14 originals at hand are spread between two different self-titled attempts at an "official album" recorded/issued a year apart (seven tunes duplicated, seven that aren't), with the contrasting merits/demerits of the two collections a standoff. Lead singer Frankie Nowhere's vocals intentionally tilt throughout between faux-Iggy or faux-Dolls as the riffs or words dictate, fittingly enough.

Gold stars for the strongest tunes would include "Don't Kiss" and "Justa Lookin," a duo that would've upped Raw Power's historical rating. And seriously, ditto, the four-minute live-set-closer, moody mid-tempo throb of "Black Leather Boots" would have made for a far more effective final Funhouse track than endless random sax honking.

The one and only Frankie Nowhere
photo: Tamara Green
The one and only Frankie Nowhere

The practical inference would be that, if you have ever gleaned listening enjoyment from any of the failed (according to me and above experts) 6,034,572 wannabe Stooges/ Dolls outfits of the past near 30 years, these two sets are probably the best-of-show stateside and should be tracked down . . . I certainly wouldn't wait another three decades to see if anyone else in our colonies gets it even half right.

 
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