Pick of the Week – January 5-11, 2015

I’m a fan of female-fronted rock bands.  That’s been true ever since I discovered The Go-Gos back in the mid-1980s (and developed an immediate crush on Belinda Carlisle when I saw the video for “Head Over Heels” on Nick Rocks.) before moving on to groups like Garbage, K’s Choice, The Breeders, Veruca Salt, No Doubt, Evanescence, and, most recently, Paramore. 

Most, if not all, of those groups have recognizable names for people who paid any attention to  punk and alternative rock music throughout the 80s and 90s.  My pick for this week, though, is an album from a female-fronted band that never achieved that level of fame: Artificial Joy Club.  The band, fronted by Louise Reny (aka “Sal”), had previously been known as Sal’s Birdland and released two albums under that name before changing to Artificial Joy Club.  In 1997, Artificial Joy Club released their one and only album, Melt.

Track #3 from the album, “Sick and Beautiful,” was released as a single and got a lot of airplay on KLSU, the modern rock radio station out of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where I was living at the time. 

You can watch the oh-so-very-90s video from 120 Minutes, complete with Matt Pinfield’s introduction, HERE.

The whole album is very solid, though, right from the opening track, “Psychic Man” (Which gets extra points from me for a Star Trek reference.) through the remaining nine tracks, including the aforementioned “Sick and Beautiful,” as well as “Skywriting,” “Spaceman,” and “Cheeky Monkey.”

And, in researching this post, I discovered that they made a video for another song off of the album, Spaceman.  There are also several videos from a performance on a German television show, proving that they were great live.  The entire album is available as MP3s from Amazon (Sorry.  I have no idea about iTunes), and you can even get it on one of those CD things that some of us still have lying around.  It’s well worth a listen.

- Alan Decker

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