When bassist Kyle Rose Stokes joined The Love Me Nots, a Phoenix-based garage act, last May, it meant more than simply acquainting herself with the band's cache of high-energy surf-rock stompers — it meant submitting herself to a full-on, Sally Jessy Raphael-style extreme makeover. "In my natural state, I'm a cut-off and wife-beater kind of girl," says Stokes, also a member of all-female grunge outfit The Dames. "None of my friends could believe that I was going to wear a dress!" To be sure, stained undershirts and flip-flops would never cut it with this crowd. Formed in 2006 by lead vocalist/organist Nicole Laurenne and guitarist Michael Johnny Walker, The Love Me Nots have cultivated a hard-earned reputation for raucous live shows, farfisa-keyboard-drenched go-go songwriting and, yes, sharp threads. They're one of the Valley's most aesthetically pleasing bands and, arguably, one of the most musically accomplished: Their 2008 long-play Detroit was singled out for yearly Top 10 distinction by the Village Voice. So while Stokes does feel pangs of nostalgia for her punk-rock tomboy days, she likes her heels and slinky cocktail dress, too. "And my mom is very happy," she adds.
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