Friday, September 28, 2007

The Donnas - Bitchin'


The Donnas
Bitchin' (Purple Feather, 2007)
Grade: A

Download: The Donnas - "Don't Wait Up For Me"

"So, what happened?" was the first question I asked Donnas lead-singer Brett Anderson over the phone as she was trying to get into a taxi. Caught off guard, she asked me to repeat myself, I think she was expecting an insult. I clarified: "This album kicks so much ass, what happened to make you guys wanna make a record like this?"

She laughed, asked me to repeat what I just said and handed the phone to drummer Torry Castellano. I did what I was told.

"Well," Anderson said. "We just had time to follow through on all of our ideas on this record ... We started with the angle that we were going straight to pop, but we are a rock band and wanted to make a rock record. We wanted to make a huge arena rock album."

And holy crap they did. All of the previous Donnas releases have been great rock records, but "Bitchin'" is different. Granted, if you are an Animal Collective or Pavement disciple, this record won't do it for you. But it's not supposed to. This record is for the elite few who actually own KISS on vinyl and wear Van Halen shirts without irony.

"The rock thing just makes sense to us, and we wanted to polish that," Anderson said. "We can still evolve and change and grow, but the genre doesn't change ... This isn't the same record we put out before, none of them are."

Furthermore, the Donnas put out this record on their own Purple Feather Records, which is unquestionably cool -- they even clocked in at #89 on Billboard on their own fuel. "We can't help but wonder what it would be like with a big label," Anderson said. "But we're also proud that we did it on your own ... It was easier to make a straightforward album on our own."

In short, the guitars a big, the hooks are great and there is always cowbell somewhere. "We are a rock band," Anderson said. "And rock bands should make rock records."

***The Donnas are playing an all ages show tonight at the Varsity Theater, doors at 6pm. Tell your friends.

Buy the record here from Amazon.com
The Donnas on MySpace
(Ian Anderson)

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