Thursday, January 19, 2012



  Dance. Think. Chew gum at the same time.

Three things about The Deadtown Lovers  that make them cool:

1)      The Lovers have their own theme song, just like The Monkees.
            Or The Demolition Doll Rods.

2)      For last Halloween’s Night of the Living Cover Bands show-- instead of the obvious and tired Ramones, Misfits and Johnny Cash tributes-- the Lovers covered Wire. Who the hell even knows who Wire is these days? That night it was apparently only me and a couple of guys from Full Speed Veronica.

3)      When they were UNM sophomores Soni Reducer (guitar, keyboard) and Deadtown Lincoln (bass) adopted a recovering hippie older than them by about fifteen years and hipped him to the best in punk and powerpop, old and new.

 photo by Monica Alissa Padilla

Okay that last is actually a disclaimer since the old guy was (is) me. Since I liked their tastes then it’s no wonder I like their band now. In 2000, Soni played with the whammy glammy The Phase while Lincoln did time with the elusive garage/trash band The Wheelers. Now the pair have joined forces with Mary Alayne (drums) who in her UNM days played alto sax for goofball third-wave ska outfit 3 Ball Combo and Rudi Thornburgh (keys, guitar) of electro-techno Clocklife and (with wife Soni) Ypsilanti, Michigan’s Pop-Bubblegum Favorite.

 I cornered The Lovers to see what makes this band self-describe themselves as the sound of “empty storefronts and warehouses.”  That’s apt as far as the old “No Future” punk outlook but this foursome’s stance is more like yeah, so what are you gonna do about it? The Deadtown Lovers’ answer is intelligent and insistent music, buzzy garage punk with a hint of pop.
 With thoughtful and invocative lyrics, all four share harmonies and rotate lead vocals because according to Mary, “One singer is boring.” Rudi’s inventive and unobtrusive “leads” swirl gracefully like counterpoint melodies behind the mainframe of the song.

Soni’s chops at her guitar a la Johnny Ramone and The Damned’s Captain Sensible rolled into one. Lincoln thumps the bass and pens punchy songs like his role model Dee Dee Ramone.

 “Lincoln writes good stuff that we all whittle down to its essence.” says Soni of the band’s fully collaborative efforts. Compelling originals are complimented by carefully chosen (read: somewhat obscure) covers of The Ramones or The Buzzcocks.

 Speaking of which, Lincoln adds  “It hasn’t really worked but originally we wanted to sound like The Buzzcocks” while Rudi waggishly counters “When we play, people dance for half a set then get confused.”  That confusion could stem from the fact that punk with intelligence long ago fell by the wayside in favor of a more popular (but misguided) intentionally offensive attitude . Eschewing that, The Deadtown Lovers have chosen to make music for dancing and thinking.

 Also on the bill are Red Light Cameras who are lately hitting their stride, moving from an earlier uneven approach to a harder indie sound that matches singer Amanda Machon’s powerhouse voice. Reminiscent of a quirkier The Start, tonight’s headliner is the post-powerpop The Melismatics. This tour is in support of the Minneapolis band’s fifth CD, released on January 10. Mania! features more electro-beats and synthesizers than previous outings as well as improved intricacy in vocal harmonies by guitar player Ryan Smith and lead singer Pony.

Sunday January 22, 2011
Launchpad, 618 Central SW, Albuquerque NM
8pm $5

this appeared in slightly different format in