The Gossip

Standing In The Way Of Control | Kill Rock Stars
By MATT ASHARE  |  March 22, 2006
3.0 3.0 Stars

The GossipLike White Stripes, the Gossip have always been masters of making a lot out of little — just drums, voice, and guitar. And they’ve kept one foot planted in punk while exploring garage-rocked variations of R&B, as in roots ’n’ blues, with the other. But the two outfits come from different worlds: instead of dirty Motor City blooze, the Alabama-bred Gossip kept Southern gospel and soul in their hearts when they made the move to the Amerindie capital of Olympia. Frontwoman Beth Ditto’s belting has its roots in both the gritty sexuality of Big Mama Thornton and the uplift of Calvin Johnston’s vision of International Pop Revolution dance party, and she brought some much needed sex to the scene. But after half a dozen years together, Ditto and guitarist Nathan Howdeshell (a/k/a Brace Paine) found a new drummer (Hannah Blilie), and on Standing in the Way of Control, subtler soulful numbers like “Dark Lines,” a slow burner with a backdrop of simple bass thumps, lightly tapped tom-toms, and piano chords supporting Ditto’s whisper of a voice, offset the heavy pounding of reverb-drenched screamers like “Eyes Open.” The spooked croon of “Coal to Diamonds” gives Ditto a chance to explore the emotional dimensions of that big voice of hers; “Yr Mangled Heart,” a funk-fried jam with tribal refrains, is custom-built for a little raw-throated screaming. Standing in the Way of Control is the sound of a band in transition — a promising sign from a trio who once seemed happy enough riding a one-trick pony off into the sunset.

The Gossip + Panther + UV Protection | March 26 | Middle East downstairs, 480 Mass Ave, Cambridge | 617.864.EAST
Related: Indie gets the blues, Song feast, Out, loud, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Beth Ditto, The White Stripes, Big Mama Thornton,  More more >
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