Maybe you liked the lo-fi early singles by female-fronted acts such as the Dum Dum Girls, Best Coast, and Frankie Rose. But after all three cleaned up their acts for their debut long-players — and cleaned them up further for their follow-ups — maybe you wondered what happened to all that murky reverb, that air of mystery, that hint of danger.
Well, apparently they went to Wax Idols, an Oakland band led by Heather Fedewa, aka Hether Fortune, formerly of Hunx and His Punx. A fan of Nick Cave, Fortune has a dark outlook. This comes across in her lyrics and her intimidating onstage demeanor. (Reportedly, she works as a dominatrix for her day job...if “day job” is the right term for that.) However, it hasn’t always come across in the music.
Wax Idols’ debut full-length, No Future, released last year on HoZac Records, sounded like it was recorded in the dank basement of a meth lab, but the songs were upbeat. Sure, they had titles like “Dead Like You,” but they were uptempo and catchy. It wasn’t hard to imagine Fortune smoothing off her rough edges and putting out something as family-friendly as Best Coast’s The Only Place or, failing that, as professional-sounding as the Dum Dum Girls’ Only in Dreams.
Instead, new single “Schadenfreude” sounds like a lost track by proto-Goth band Christian Death, circa 1983. The B-side, “The Last Drop,” sounds like Pornography-era Cure, singing inscrutable lyrics about “marriage in a slaughterhouse” and “dead lovers.” It looks as if Fortune isn’t going to clean up her act anytime soon, and certainly not in time for her follow-up later this year. Hooray for that.
WAX IDOLS: Soda Bar, Sat. June 30, 9:00 p.m. 619-255-7224. $7.