Sonic Reducer: Barb Wire Dolls

Geoffrey Plant
3 min read
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This third Barb Wire Dolls release is a continuation of their Flipper meets Ramones LA-bound formula and while they maintain that sloppy polish that at once makes them accessible and kind of scary these tunes are less edgy than previous albums. Is something getting formulaic? Has anyone ever complained that the Ramones were formulaic? Veering toward a slower, more generic sound is a hazard of any punk band making their way up the music industry ladder and it probably isn’t anything fans should worry about. Fans will take this album in heaping doses but newbies should check out previous releases first to find out what the fuss is about.

PYLON Pylon Live (Chunklet Records)

Never having heard a full PYLON album, it took one listen to this unreleased, double live album recorded for an unfinished PBS documentary in 1983 to solve a minor mystery from my younger years. When I was 20, my then-girlfriend convinced me to play music with her college classmate, a drummer who she thought looked like Aidan Quinn. I thought he looked like a circus geek, but the dude was a nice guy if limited as a drummer. I suspected he was sleeping with my chick, yet we played music and briefly became friends. You can imagine the conflict experienced when this guy tried to turn me on to a band that any Fall and Joy Division fan like myself should like. I hated on the Pylon album, broke up with the girl and never played music with either of them again. Years later and without prejudice, I can tell you that these Athens, Ga. contemporaries of REM and the B-52s rock as equals with the jangly guitars of the former and the danceability of the latter. File under: great unheard music.

Delphia Delphia (Copy Left Records)

Does she sing with such confident power because of who she is or is she who she is because of the innately strong voice captured on this two song EP? I can hit mute a million times during “The Voice” or “America’s Got Talent” but fact is, while Delphia borders on that indulgent screaming gimmick that seems to be necessary for an audience’s approval these days, she mostly gets through her lyrics with cool and panache without stringing a vowel or two into an entire phrase like a yo-yo with hyper-drive. While the b-side “When You Leave” doesn’t grab the listener’s ear, “Let You Go” is a sweet and rocking R&B tune that on its own makes it worth catching this singer when she performs at the Scottish Rite Temple in Santa Fe on June 25. Keep your fingers crossed that Delphia will perform “I Dream,” a song she recorded a decade ago that for a time became the theme for Kendell and Ryan’s passionate relationship on “All My Children.”

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