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The Gossip
MOVEMENT
(KILL ROCK STARS)

Stars graphics

Yeah, itís another bass-less one-car-garage band fueled by a combustible mixture of sweat, punk, and blooze. The Gossip left their native Arkansas for Olympia, the idea being that openly gay singers would have a better chance of survival in one of indie rockís reigning capitals. Also, the kind of rhythm and blues they prefer has more to do with Jon Spencer blues explosions than with anything of a more traditional sort.

What distinguishes the Gossip ó and makes them one of the most exciting club bands in the world right now ó is singer Beth Ditto, whoís an unabashed heavyweight in both senses of the word. You donít feel her full impact on Movement, the groupís first full-length (and at that only 30-plus minutes long). But when her voice begins to quaver on the subdued first verse of the swampy opening track, "Nite," itís clear that thereís a lot more power in those pipes than sheís ready to reveal just yet. On the faster-moving "Jasonís Basement," with its noise-guitar bursts, Ditto begins to let loose as she invites someone to come dance with her ó something sheís also apt to do from the stage. By the time the band kick in the train-kept-a-rolliní groove of "No, No, No," sheís sounding more and more like punkís answer to Bessie Smith or Big Mama Thornton. If that seems an exaggeration, just check out her a-cappella-with-handclaps breakdown in "All My Days": itís straight out of a Southern Sunday storefront church service.

BY MATT ASHARE

Issue Date: July 11 - July 17, 2003
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