Friday, August 26, 2011

The Fondas - Coming Now, The Fondas! - 2003

It might seem surprising to folks who only learned of the Detroit garage rock revival when the White Stripes' "Fell in Love with a Girl" hit mainstream radio in 2002, but the local guitar band scene has lasted long enough that there are now second- and even third-generation Detroit garage bands, of which the Fondas are a front-tier example that has leapfrogged over many of the original Detroit garage bands both in name recognition and musical sophistication. Though much of the press attention surrounding the Fondas focuses on lead singer Julie Benjamin's movie star looks and magnetic stage presence, the real leader of the Fondas is guitarist Steve Shaw. Shaw, a protégé of Alex Chilton with a similar obsession for vintage R&B and obscure early rock singles, founded the Detroit Cobras in the mid-'90s, but left that band after only a few releases. The Fondas are stylistically in the same ballpark as the Detroit Cobras, mixing punky aggression, garage rock primitivism, and a sultry R&B vibe, but with a greater emphasis on band originals over reworkings of rare B-sides known only to hardcore record collectors. -AMG