If you've been picking daisy petals all these years, wondering whether to assign your devotion to this black-and-white-clad band of renown, now is probably a good time to pucker up. With the release of this year's disc The Demon and the Devotee, The Love Me Nots have pushed beyond the rigid confines of garage rock, where bands admire their heroes but are supposed to maintain a safe, respectful distance from them. Screw that, says LMN singer Nicole Laurenne — every song title of this dirty dozen is a throw-down to any clueless dude who thought chicks + Farfisa = Blondie: "I'm Gonna Be Your Girl," "She's Nothing Like Me," "Make Up Your Mind," and, of course, "Cheap Knockoff," wherein Laurenne shows she's anything but. Laurenne really comes into her own on this record, especially on "The Girl Lights Up," a picture-perfect summer song showcasing Laurenne's soulful-but-girlish croon (not unlike Bangles singer Susanna Hoffs'). Add Michael Johnny Walker's expert guitars, which acknowledge the existence of Aerosmith (something verboten in most DIY cage-rattling), and you no longer have Rat Fink re-retreads. You've got classicist pop of the first order. As a side benefit to heaping love on a local band that gets it twice as much in Europe, you get to check out The Foundry on First, a mid-size venue that we've needed for a long time, and a chance to see Tempe super-group The Persuaders, whose lapsed band memberships include The Pistoleros, Dead Hot Workshop, The Gin Blossoms, and Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers.
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