Credit: Michelle Musikantow
It seems like a common rock and roll cliché for bands to move to Hollywood, party with reckless abandon, and hang out at strip clubs. For Washington D.C.'s The Dance Party, the L.A. party lifestyle seemed like the most obvious next step in their career.
While in Hollywood writing and recording "Touch," their debut record for Atlantic Records' newly established Hell Ya! Records, The Dance Party simply took over Crazy Girls - L.A.'s premiere strip club - setting up shop with a naughty monthly residency involving energetic performances, excessive partying, and most importantly, onstage strippers.
While the band's over the top live show and song writing may have seemed out of place in Washington, D.C., a city best known for power suits and politics, The Dance Party fit right in with the drugs, sex, and rock and roll of the Sunset Strip. "In Hollywood, we found a lifestyle that matched the music we wanted to make," says the band's lead singer Mick Coogan, "We found muses in the beautiful California girls and inspiration in the excess. Our record is a natural expression of how we live and we're proud of it." The band's series of sold-out shows at Crazy Girls gained instant notoriety, quickly becoming one of the most insane parties in Hollywood. Where else could a rock band built for shirtless, sexual, and cocksure strutting find a home?
While working on "Touch," the band found themselves trading riffs with Justin Hawkins of The Darkness, jamming with David Paich of Toto, and tightening hooks with Matt Squire of 3OH!3 fame. Says Mick; "Sitting down with demigods Justin Hawkins and hearing him rip solos and trading key licks with David Paich opened our eyes as to where we could take our pop music."The Dance Party recorded the album at a variety of studios in Los Angeles, including Swinghouse Studios, Mad Dog Studios and the legendary Sunset Sound Factory in Hollywood. Seasoned rock veterans Scott Shriner of Weezer and John Button of John Mayer-fame shared their talents on bass as Warren Huart (The Fray, Kris Allen), Julian Bunetta (Leona Lewis, Jessie James), and Luke Walker (Christian TV, Sugar Ray, Filter) carefully crafted the band’s sound.
“Touch" is the soundtrack of lusty East Coast boys set loose on the landscape of L.A. Their songs exhibit musical freedom with a refusal to follow the conventional patterns of pop music. Coogan echoes; "I think our songs rely on tough guitar parts, combined with big melodies layered on top of unique synth tones. I love singing home run choruses, but I also love channeling R&B and singing falsetto. We all grew up loving every slick rock band--from Def Leppard to the Smashing Pumpkins to Phoenix--but we all love Michael Jackson and Prince just as much. I think it's reflected in our songs." The Dance Party is bringing reckless swagger back to rock and roll, ushering in this renaissance with raging guitar solos, giant arena filling choruses, and fearless lyricism.
On the lead single "Sasha Don't Sleep," frontman Mick Coogan alternates between a wailing growl and a Prince-y falsetto whisper to convey lyrics ranging from casual sex to Armageddon-level revelry. Guitarist Kevin Bayly draws from '80s arena-rock riffage and brings his own touch to searing guitar solos and cocky leads throughout the album. On the band's second single, "Pretty Girl," the rhythm section is locked together by bassist Dave Keuhl and drummer Jon Jester, who viciously digs grooves and revisits huge drum fills ranging from Josh Freese to John Bonham.
As everything about The Dance Party suggests, “Touch” is a record that encourages excess and living for the moment. The Dance Party rock without irony. They want to melt your face. They want to have sex with you. They want to headline the first Rock & Roll Festival on the Moon. They want to rule the world.
Hell Ya! Records/Atlantic Records
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