Horny Plenty

Arkansas punks get in the mood

From Fear's "I Love Livin' in the City" to "In the City" by The Jam, the history of punk rock is chock-full of tributes to urban life and all the struggle and glamour that it entails. But aspiring rockers growing up in Middle America, aching to escape suburban ennui or rural frustration, arguably have a lot more to scream about -- conformity, narrow-mindedness and brutal politics, for starters. Even after they flee the confines of their back-roads 'burbs for a bustling metropolis, they bring their angst along with them.

Just ask The Gossip, two gals and a guy originally from Searcy, Arkansas, who confess, "We started a band because we were bored."

After moving to indie rock oasis Olympia, Washington, The Gossip found inspiration in the town's post-Riot Grrrl music scene, releasing an LP, That's Not What I Heard, on the legendary Kill Rock Stars label. Still, they didn't forget their roots. The insert on their recent six-song EP, Arkansas Heat, reads, "The Gossip would like to dedicate this record to all the kids and grownups alike stuck in a shitty small town."

Libido beat: The Gossip
Rita O'Brien
Libido beat: The Gossip

Details

Open for Har Mar Superstar on Thursday, November 21. Doors open at 8 p.m. for the all-ages show. For more information, call 480-966-7715 or visit www.nitashideaway.com.
Nita's Hideaway, 1816 East Rio Salado Parkway in Tempe

Combining Nathan Howdeshell's raw, lo-fi blues guitar with Kathy Mendonca's throbbing drums and Beth Ditto's tough, lusty vocals, The Gossip's take on small-town life is all about getting it on. After all, what else is there to do in the boonies? Their lyrics ooze sexual attitude in such songs as "Swing Low" (a wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am ode to Sapphic oral sex) and "Got Body If You Want It" (with Ditto commanding, "Honey, why don't you say my name?"). For good measure, of course, there's plenty of punk defiance, as in the swaggering "Arkansas Heat," a sassy song about "playing games with the powers that be."

This down-and-dirty make-out music is a proven boredom killer. And even if it doesn't give you the urge to grab a stranger by the hand and head to a dark corner, it will definitely make you dance.

 
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