I have been a longtime fan of rockabilly, punk and garage rock, and even heavy metal. It’s not that I am the completely cranky purist who will only endorse these genres, because I will even wander all of the way into electronica and other turntable-inspired music when the mood strikes. Today I sat down to check out the PrimaDonna Reeds’ new album, and see what they were all about. I had heard that they were produced by an individual who had been in Johnny Thunders’ band as a bass player, and that naturally excited me quite a bit. I started with the featured track “Red Stilettos”, and began to feel what their vibe was about.
The very beginning of this song has a riff that is similar to what you would hear on a Queens of the Stone Age Cut, and a bit reminiscent of surf rock. The female vocals have a pleasantly calculated formula that almost has a Japanese Go-Go element, and makes the track stand out as just pure rock and roll fun. I really enjoyed how the guitar keeps breaking into solos: many other critics don’t understand it, and always claim that it is a bit more showboating than just having fun. Having fun is the key component here, and it really works.
I once saw Evan Foster, the wildly talented surf rock guitarist from Seattle outfit The Boss Martians in a small club. When he was warming up just doing guitar sound check, the excitement was hard for the audience to contain, they approached the stage very hungry for more. This is the type of excitement I see conveyed in PrimaDonna Reeds outfit, and the sound that they celebrate is the type that fueled raucous and rowdy clubs such as the legendary CBGB’s itself.
The track “Queen of the Night” begins with some very funky keys, and nearly has a throwback to Bootsy Collins and other delicious late 70’s formulas of music. The vocals begin to flirt with what could be nearly categorized as rap, and the guitar breaks into a signature wah-pedal number. “To Feel You” is a track that embraces the pleasantly crash-dive sound of female-fronted rock, and reminds me of wonderfully quirky acts such as the Donnas and even Sleater-Kinney. The guitar work has what is probably the most difficult solo on the whole record, and makes this is a track that makes the listener want to duck into a tiki bar, and daydream about surf and sand. Look for this group to be lulling people noisily from their daytime stupor into the landscape of crowded clubs and cocktails over the coming months, and prepare to get up out of your seat hastily and move around.
The PrimaDonna Reeds
The PrimaDonna Reeds is a New York rock band formed by JC Ryder, an accomplished flamenco and rock guitarist, and Karena Reiter, a talented rock vocalist and veteran music journalist and promoter.
The band came together after a few versions of the line-up and started gigging at the usual L.E.S. clubs. A longtime dear friend of Karena’s, Luigi Scorcia, a respected actor, was at the first show and every show after that. Luigi is a highly accomplished guitarist who traveled the world as Johnny Thunders’ bassist after a stint with his Max’s mainstay band, Luigi and The Wiseguys. He immediately saw the band’s potential; Luigi signed on as the band’s producer and used his well-heeled network to fast-track The PrimaDonna Reeds into the studio, where they have been hibernating for the past nine months. When they emerged, Luigi had joined the band as a third guitarist.
The resulting CD, RED STILETTOS, is just the beginning of The PrimaDonna Reeds’ unique chemistry.