For a band with such a frightfully high mortality rate, New York Dolls have done an admirable job of resurrecting themselves. Thanks to prompting from devout fan Morrissey, they reentered the spotlight a couple of years ago and this summer released One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This (Roadrunner Records), a resolutely fresh-sounding collection of songs recorded with producer Jack Douglas, the man who also engineered their iconic debut 33 years earlier. What could have easily been a geriatric gaffe is instead a remarkably smart and infectious piece of work that references the spirit of their shambolic roots, but crackles with the sort of sharply insightful lyricism that only comes from weathering a life as tragedy strewn as theirs. Frontman David Johansen has retained his convincing delivery and grown into a much more dexterous songwriter, while guitarists Sylvain Sylvain and Steve Conte hold up their end of the deal with plenty of passion. Curious fans can witness this impressive revival when the Dolls play El Corazón on Saturday, November 11.
Although the lovely ladies who make up local metal outfit Free Verse will be celebrating the release of their new record, Arranging the Dead (Fish the Cat Records), at the Funhouse on Friday, November 10, they'll also be starting the process of saying goodbye. "We've been together for about 11 years and [bass player] Lisa Kivindyo wants to move on to other things in her life," says drummer Machell Collier. "It's all good, though—we've always been about supporting each other in and out of the band." Their last show will be on Saturday, December 16, at the Comet.
In other local news, photographer Breanne Koselke enjoyed a well-deserved warm reception for her new photo exhibit, The Way We Get By, on November 2 at VAIN. Koselke's work captures members of several local bands (including Siberian, the Catch, and Schoolyard Heroes) in a live context and toiling away in their day jobs. Her work is on display throughout the month of November.
Musicians wanting to learn more about how to utilize the latest technologies to promote their art would be wise to attend the first annual Music/Tech Summit at Experience Music Project's JBL Theater and Learning Labs on Saturday, November 11. The event was conceptualized and coordinated by the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Recording Academy and will bring together many key players in the field, including reps from Zune, Microsoft, Pandora, and Rhapsody. "It's not enough to know how to write a good song and put on a good show anymore," explains Ben London, executive director of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Recording Academy. "The genie is out of the bottle and the old system of selling and distributing music is in decline. Some say it is a bad time for the music business, but a good time for music. I have to agree. The internet, iPods, MP3s all have people more interested in music than ever. The important part of this equation is that artists find a way to continue to be compensated for their work." The conference will open with a keynote address from Thomas Dolby; schedule and ticketing information can be found at grammypnw.com.
On the decidedly lower-tech end of the spectrum, one of the most compelling artists to surface from the underground zine and comics scene of the mid-'90s was Dame Darcy. Best know for writing and illustrating the comic Meat Cake (Fantagraphics), Darcy is on tour in support of her latest graphic novel, The Illustrated Jane Eyre, but also as a performer with her "sci-fi horror" band, Death by Doll. Darcy will be reading and signing at Bailey/Coy Books on Saturday, November 11, at 3:00 p.m. and Death by Doll will be playing at the Comet later that same night.
Lastly and most sadly, representatives from Touch and Go Records have confirmed that Larissa Strickland (AKA Larissa Stolarchuk), guitarist for the disbanded Laughing Hyenas recently passed away (cause of death has not officially been announced, but many sources are citing a combination of Xanax and alcohol). The Hyenas had many fans in the Northwest, including Mudhoney's Mark Arm. Touch and Go was still working on a formal statement when we went to press, but if any sort of memorial fund is established, I'll include the information in a future column.