Wednesday , July 24 2024

Concrete Blonde

Concrete Blonde, the veteran trio led by singer-bassist Johnette Napolitano and guitarist Jim Mankey, recently released a fine new live double-CD, Live In Brazil, which proves they still have it.

But while the group evolved into a moody pop band over the years, on their great ’86 debut (produced by Jim’s brother Earle), Concrete Blonde was a punky new wave trio.

On the debut, Jim’s driving, insinuating guitar, and Napolitano’s evocative Chrissie Hynde-like alto voice rock with liberated passion. Every song on the original vinyl Side 1 is memorable: the loping shuffle of “True,” psychobilly drive of “Your Haunted Head,” extended menace of “Dance Along the Edge,” and the bittersweet farewell of “Song For Kim,” stick in the mind long after the record is over. But classic guitar thrasher “Still In Hollywood” was the career-maker.

On “Hollywood,” Napolitano’s voice ranges from near-conversational storytelling in the verses to a raging howl on the choruses. The band compresses into one song the hope, glamour, squalor, and resignation that has made Los Angeles a bipolar magnet – equally attracting and repelling – for 100 years. Tough, funny and compassionate, Napolitano sings in the voice of someone who had been struggling to make it in Hollywood’s rock ‘n’ roll quagmire for nearly ten years when she wrote the song in ’85. With this song – and album – she made it.

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: Twitter@amhaunted,, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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