Local Wire

Johnette Napolitano

Near the conclusion of Austin Powers (the first one), Dr. Evil taunts our hero, "There is nothing worse than an aging hipster." Veteran femme rock icon Grace Slick has said "old people" look, uh, foolish playing rock 'n' roll. It is a nice trick if one can manage it — that is, maturing both personally and musically but retaining at least some of the inspiration of youth. Johnette Napolitano seems to be doing fine on that score. She made her rep with Concrete Blonde (of the same L.A. scene as Wall of Voodoo and those Go-Go's). After their mid-'90s dissolution, there were other bands (with ex-Italians Holly Beth Vincent and Byrne-free Talking Heads), film soundtracks (Wicker Park, Underworld), obscure discs of experimental electronica, and, most recently, a solo set of songs, Scarred (Hybrid). With Napolitano playing nearly all the instruments, Scarred is one of those harrowing albums — like Plastic Ono Band, No One Cares (a '50s Sinatra classic), and Tonight's The Night — that can emerge from only life lived a while, after time and bitter experience teach a body a thing or three. And her voice still packs a soulful wallop.
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Mark Keresman