Rock Pile: Ladies Edition

Amy Gore & her Valentines
In Love

Space Lion

Gore has smoothed out her sound considerably here since her days ripping through songs like "Fox in a Box" as leader of all-female Detroit garage rock outfit the Gore Gore Girls. But just because Gore's persona here is not all fishnet stockings and switchblades doesn't mean she's not having fun. In fact, it sounds like she's having more fun than ever and there's a significant clue as to why in the album's title, In Love. Either Gore is currently in the throes of a meaningful relationship or she's sure real good at faking it. Maybe that's why the change in sounds; instead of sounding like a tough girl, songs like the very hooky "Drivin' Around" and the likewise radio-ready "Cadillac" make her sound nothing short of the adorably perfect girlfriend. This stuff isn't mushy though and songs such as the Pretenders-like "You Won't Lead Me On" and the Blondie-leaning "Baby in Your Arms" still kick out the guitar jams. Elsewhere Gore, who wrote almost all of In Love, lends her now sweeter tones to songs done in styles reminiscent of Pat Benatar and the Bangles and undoubtedly certain fans will complain that Gore has sold out. Perhaps though this very strong effort will garner her the wider fan base that she's long deserved.

Chaos Chaos

(Self released)

Chaos Chaos is sisters Asy and Chloe Saavedra, previously of pre-teen band Smoosh. The girls are young ladies now (Asy is 20, Chloe 18) and if this five-song E.P. is any indication they have long careers as musicians ahead of them should they choose. The girls aim for a more sophisticated audience than you might expect; songs like the breathy, percussion and sax embellished "Winner" and the dance floor jazz of "My Hands" demonstrate that Chaos Chaos is not interested in disposable pop music. There's lots of Kate Bush-style nuance here too and that bodes well for what might lie beyond this impressive debut.

The Dollyrots
(Self titled)

Arrested Youth Records

Because of their (previous) longtime affiliation with Joan Jett's Blackheart Records and the fact that they have a female lead singer in Kelly Ogden the Dollyrots have suffered a bit from a misperception of what they're all about. The fact is they're more akin to No Doubt and The Dollyrots is full of energetic radio ready sing-alongs like "I Wanna Go" and "Hyperactive." Propelled by Ogden's voice and great alt-pop arrangements there's no reason not to expect The Dollyrots to up the band's standing considerably.

Bonnie Bishop

Be Squared

Bishop is a strong voiced blues rocker and yes, on occasion she sounds a little bit like that other Bonnie, Bonnie Raitt. Sometimes though she sounds more akin to Janis Joplin, as on the funky "Keep Using Me" where she sings over a piano and organ driven melody that sounds like something Leon Russell might whip up (that's Bishop's keys man Jimmy Wallace though.) "Shrinking Violet" is soulful Memphis-style pop and "Right Where You Are" borrows a well-traveled Fleetwood Mac beat but Bishop's delivery makes the familiar rhythm her own, again with help from Wallace's piano work.

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