Bad mothers

By BRETT MILANO  |  May 29, 2007

Brebner took the pair to his home studio and produced some rehearsal sessions that wound up forming the majority of the album. He also joined them as bassist — which made Angeline the first band he’s played bass (rather than guitar) in since the late-’70s edition of the Modern Lovers. (Angeline’s current drummer, Michael Guardabascio, is also a long-time Jonathan Richman sideman.) The remaining members — violinist Meredith Cooper, vibraphonist Cheryl Etu, and pedal-steel player Steve Sadler — provide a wall of sound that moves Angeline away from the standard folk-rock realm, at times suggesting Brian Wilson’s brand of sound textures. “I thought it would be cool not to make it a guy band with guitars,” says Brebner. Adds Grogan, “I think the vibes and the violin give it a kind of otherness, an æthereal overhang to everything. It only happened during the recording that I heard it and said, ‘That’s it, the Angeline sound.’ ”

The loveliest songs on the CD — Viens’s title track and Grogan’s “Shadows” — also have the heaviest lyrics, so it’s easy to assume that the two friends prompted each other into deep thoughts on life and death. But it turns out that both think deeply without much prompting. “I’m still that rock girl I used to be,” says Viens, “but everybody’s got to grow up sometime. I want to go further and explore the way art can use beauty to teach something, or maybe lead you to the next level of awareness.” And Grogan? “I tend to be more emotional when I’m in a quiet room by myself. When we’re together, I’m more like, ‘Okay, the culture is fucked up. Now what can we do about it?’ ”

Meanwhile, Grogan has another high-profile project under way: she’s part of Hormone Replacement Therapy (a/k/a HRT), an all-mom line-up that formed in Sharon. They’ve been on the Today show, and they’ve been the subject of Rocker Moms, a reality-TV show that’s now airing on Canada’s Slice network and may get picked up by Bravo stateside. This was an amusing turn of events for Grogan, who wound up with the group only after rent increases forced her out of Cambridge. “They met me and said, ‘Do you want to play with us? We’re going to be the greatest rock-and-roll band ever.’ They’re amazing; they know how to do business and get attention. And they party like I haven’t done in 16 years.”

ANGELINE | Paradise Lounge, 969 Comm Ave, Boston | June 14 | 617.562.8800

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