Review : Gossip - Music For Men
UncutIt’s one thing to be a fanzine-scene punk darling, another to be an indie icon, and still another to be a full-blown global pop star. Beth Ditto will soon be one of the few individuals lucky enough to have experienced being all three. From the first note of Music For Men – a clomping hoof of a drumbeat that leads like a beckoning finger into the slinky, country-tinged “Dimestore Diamond”– it’s clear that this is an album with a mission. Consider it a resounding rebuttal to anyone who suspected that The Gossip might be a one-hit-wonder whose long silence in the wake of their 2006 dancefloor-devouring gay-rights anthem “Standing In the Way of Control” was down to the fact that they simply didn’t have any more good songs. Brace yourselves, naysayers, for a tour de force.
Of course, there’s nothing like making your major-label debut with an esteemed production wizard at the wheel: Rick Rubin, the bearded bear-man who has previously worked with everyone from the Beastie Boys to the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Johnny Cash, has been trumpeting his love for The Gossip since her first saw them play in 2007, and he clearly knew what buttons to push – figuratively and literally – to bring out their best. Brace Paine’s guitar sounds like it could saw through marble; Hannah Blilie’s drumming crashes and booms with concussive force; and while there’s no denying that Ditto has one of the best soul-punk set of pipes on the planet, she really goes to town here, unleashing a Janis-Joplin-meets-Dolly-Parton vocal wallop like a woman with a horsewhip. They make use of all the tricks at their disposal, too – layers of synth, plinkety pianos, the punctuating “oohs” and “ahhs” of backing vocals – all of which take them far away from the stripped-down blues punk that defined their sound when they emerged on the Olympia, Washington riot grrl scene a decade ago....full text
NytimesA short list of tweaks turns Gossip into a pop band on its album “Music for Men.” Concentrate a little more on melody. Round off some guitar distortion. Follow through on the dance beats of the 2006 studio album “Standing in the Way of Control.” And add instruments and backup vocals here and there to the band’s bare-bones sound: Hannah Blilie on drums, Brace Paine on guitar or bass and Beth Ditto on vocals. And voilà — indie-rock barnstormers are pop contenders.
Formed in Olympia, Wash., in 1999, the Gossip worked the club circuit. At first it played stark blues-rock stomps like those of its contemporaries the White Stripes. But in 2006, having dropped the “the,” Gossip took up other riff-driven possibilities and it had dance-music producers remix tracks for an EP. The song “Standing in the Way of Control” was adopted by a British TV series, “Skins,” and became a European hit. With a move to a major label and a top producer, Rick Rubin, Gossip is now aiming well beyond its longtime base. “We’ll capture their attention,” Ms. Ditto vows in “Pop Goes the World,” over synthesizer bass and Latin percussion, adding, “We’ll make ’em stop and stare....full text
RollingstoneTwo parts Corin Tucker to one part Big Mama Thornton, Arkansas' Beth Ditto is a bow-down awesome singer, and her powerhouse trio have been making groove-wise punk blues for a decade. But here, with help from producer Rick Rubin, they remake themselves as a badass dance machine. Guitarist Brace Paine slashes out grooves, drummer Hannah Billie keeps it live, and Ditto skids between fuck-me hollers and don't-fuck-with-me roars, quoting Aretha's "Chain of Fools" on the queer anthem "Men in Love" and riding B-52s-style riffs on "Spare Me From the World." Punk purists may hate it. But dance-floor revelers will drown them out....full text
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