OCTOBER 2004 RAVES
Debut is a sonic boom
Staff music critic - Gannett Newspaper
(October 22, 2004) — My, what a long way
the blonde from the Raw MaGillys has come. April
Laragy has abandoned her roll-in-the-hay cowgirl
punk for roll-in-the-Milky-Way space pop.
Laragy and the Atomic Swindlers come out in
a big way with two shows this weekend celebrating
the new album Coming Out Electric.
Coming Out Electric is grand Beatles pop, as
told by Barbarella. The band blends prog rock
on "Space Bandit" and echoes of David
Bowie & the Spiders From Mars on "Diamond
Dreamer," then drifts through space dust
on "Underground Love." They even get
a little rough, as we see when Laragy channels
Joan Jett on "Sex66."
The enhanced CD also comes with a charming animated
video for the lead track, "Float (My Electric
Stargirl)," which debuted at the ImageOut
Festival and hints at lesbian fellowship.
October 6th, 2004
Space is the place
By Ron Netsky
Local albums are released by the dozens every
year; many of them are terrific. But the new album
by the Atomic Swindlers is an absolute knockout. Coming
Out Electric transports you back to a time
when albums took you on a journey.
Pop this disc in the CD player and you'll wonder
where it came from. Is it the soundtrack for the
latest Barbarella movie? Did David Bowie
put his dress back on and re-emerge in a female
It's as if the entire group was trapped on a
desert island for the last couple of decades.
They just got back and lost no time taking up
where Bowie left off with Ziggy Stardust.
In fact, Roy Stein's "Float" offers
another imaginative take on the "Space Oddity" concept.
And April Laragy's "Wonderlove" seems
to come from the same unisex planet as the Mott
the Hoople's gay classic "All the Young Dudes," (which
was written and produced by Bowie). It's a totally
On this album, space is most definitely the place.
Its futuristic setting is such a strange anachronism
--- looking backward to a 1960s view of the future
and forward to the real future at the same time
--- that it works.
The melodies are as beautiful and as catchy as
they are off-kilter. Laragy has the perfect ironic
sneer built into her vocal chords. She's acting
as much as singing on every song in a manner reminiscent
of great 1970s singers like Lene Lovich and Kate
But maybe the best thing about this album is
the lack of attention paid to current trends.
Forget rap and hip-hop, this is state-of-the-art
1973 --- total, full-throttle self-indulgence
--- and there's not a weak link to be found. The
songwriting is simply superb.
Some of Stein's tunes --- notably "Drag" ---
contain beautiful echoes of John Lennon, with
equal shares of the psychedelic and the poetic.
And his "Intergalactic Lesbian Love Song" is
a wild, gender-bending update of "Hey Joe." Trainer's
tunes, like "Diamond Dreamers," continue
to explore the cosmos, but they're firmly rooted
in earthy rock. Laragy's beautiful ballad, "Underground
Love," is perfectly contoured to her emotional
Most of these tunes are greatly enhanced by Chris
Yockel's slashing guitars. But on Gary Trainer's "Stars
In My Pocket," it's Scott Ostrowski's wonderfully
quirky guitar supporting Laragy's Betty Boop swoops.
Each song is lovingly built, texture upon texture,
constructing a world of sound with far-off voices
and atmospheric effects. Put on some headphones
before inserting this CD. This is a soundscape
well worth entering.
And don't miss the website www.atomicswindlers.com/missioncontrol.html,
where you will find Joel Trussell's animated video
of "Float," perfectly executed in a
retro kinky moderne style.