In one ear

Mar 3, 1999 at 12:00 am


Detroit’s not all factory stacks, freeways and volume-driven, tough rock ‘n’ roll. This city’s produced some of this century’s most sublime rock moments of love, tenderness and – of course – unabashed getting it on. Strike that, Smokey Robinson alone has given love a good name. Two bands that merge Detroit’s dual traditions of hard and soft, tough and tender, industrial and interior, muscular and heartfelt are the Demolition Dollrods and Queen Bee. Not coincidentally, both trios ignore rock’s too-enduring gender bias and get it on with the all the sexuality of rolling around in the back seat of your parent’s car when you were 16. And more power to ’em, too!

For a band that creates a stir wherever it goes and carries flash as cash while moving indie rock meccas from coast to coast, Detroit’s Demolition Dollrods have been a bit on the quiet side as of late. While six months ago you couldn’t turn around without seeing their tight little asses shaking from stage and scene, of late, Margaret, Danny and Christine – the Dollrods sisterhood – have made few pastied appearances. Perhaps realizing that too much of a good thing is still too much – over-gigging burnout has squashed more than its share of excited audiences in this little big town – the ’Rods have been holed up in the studio, laying down tracks for their forthcoming LP due, likely, this fall. Better still, it seems as though the minds behind NYC indie giant Matador Records – home of Liz Phair, Pavement and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, among others – took a shining to the girls as they tasseled their way around the United States with Mr. Spencer & Co. The upshot? The label has inked a contract with Detroit’s sweethearts for at least one full-length.

It’s been a while since Matador got a good infusion of garage-rock power and glam polish and, besides, would you rather see the Pavement blokes in their skivvies?

Stay tuned for details.


While stalwart San Francisco punk label Alternative Tentacles – helmed by the brilliantly mercurial convention tweaker Jello Biafra – has made some of its stock-in-trade as of late issuing, of all things, Noam Chomsky lectures and speeches on CD, it hasn’t lost its flair for digging up the hard-edged rock gems, either. Case in point: Detroit’s own Queen Bee. True, frontwoman Karen Neal may have had an insider track with AT thanks to her participation in that label’s former recording group Thrall – seek out Thrall’s 1996 AT full-length for testimony. But if the single released by the label for the girl-boy trio is any indication of what Neal’s capable of while fronting the new entity, the group’s planned full-length should be something worth salivating over – if you’re a fan of hard-edged, mind-and-libido-engaging guitar chops, frantically thudded rhythms and just plain rock ’n’ roll fun. While Thrall’s world was guided by nihilistic evocations, Queen Bee takes rock back on behalf of the kids who just want to bounce their heads to the undeniable beat and occasionally sing along with a phallic-oriented chorus or two. It ain’t brain surgery, but guilt-free rock love was never supposed to be, so ... Queen Bee is celebrating the unveiling of its self-released 5-song EP – recorded at timeStereo studio by His Name Is Alive mainman Warren Defever – this Friday at Detroit’s Alvin’s. Bee there or bee square (sorry!).


Karen Neal’s extreme side project, Lickitty Clit, makes most musical sexplorations look like games of doctor in the basement. Clit’s red-paisleyed celebration of cunnilingus is a self-empowered gash bash that kicks off with a sleazy answering machine message left by a honey-throated Romeo character inviting a woman to his studio for some unspecified production work. "I’d really like to see you again, baby." Too bad for him. The rest of the self-titled CD is Clit’s profanely hilarious response to the degrading tomfoolery. Neal alternately sings and screams in positions and moods of all kinds – from lust to justified hysteria. Get it from Evil Eye Records, PO Box 640264, San Francisco, CA 94164-0264.