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LONG BLOG

Artist of the Week: Stolen Babies. All thefts are final, no refunds.

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Stolen Babies definitely has a Sleepytime Gorillas Museum vibe, which is why it's no surprised that they've had some members of SGM appear on songs. If I had to describe their sound it would be a burlesque show burning down to the sound of an accordian player waiting to die as the flames licked at his striped socks.

The information on their website is far more indepth than anything than I can find anywhere else. There are some neat tidbits I can provide you before I just post the bio.

Dominique Lenore Persi, the lead singer of the band, is the sister of Raymond Persi who has worked on a ton of Simpsons episodes as a director, even winning an Emmy for one episode, and worked with Disney on several projects such as Frozen and Wreck-It Ralph. He the voice of Flash the Sloth in Zootopia. He also co-directed the music video Ghost of Stephen Foster for Squirrel Nut Zippers (A fantastic video).

Gil Sharone, twin brother of other Babies's band member Rani Sharone, replaced Travis Barker(Drummer for Blink-182) on tour for +44, and has worked with Maynard James Keenan(of Tool) as well as toured with Marilyn Manson and as a teenager he and his brother appeared on an episode of Full House.

So there you go, I just connected Marilyn Manson to Frozen in 2 moves.

Here is most of the key parts their official bio on their webpage cut with clips I can find of their music pertaining to the era the bio discusses. You might be interested to read the whole thing such as quotes from the band members.

The Stolen Babies’ mythology began back in 1997 when Persi, the Sharones and keyboardist Ben Rico were part of a 12-member-strong ensemble called the Fratellis. The group garnered a reputation in the Los Angeles area for productions that included puppets, performance art and a stellar level of musicianship. But the Fratellis weren’t just a bunch of opportunistic “weekend weirdos.” Rani and Persi’s keen interest in special effects, animation and ’80s fantasy films helped inform the band’s aesthetic. Rani had a stint as a machinist at the legendary shop Chiodos Bros., working with stop-motion animation and armatures on installations at Disneyland, as well as major motion pictures (Team America), while finding time to design props for the Fratellis’ live shows. Persi became versed in the realm of theatrical makeup, working at SOTA FX and bringing those visual techniques into both the Fratellis and Stolen Babies.

But having a Las Vegas mentality about your show is one thing and the stuff coming out of the PA system is something else. How good were the Fratellis? Well, when you’re invited to play the birthday party of new-wave avatar and film-music composer veteran Danny Elfman, you better have more than a killer version of “Free Bird” in your repertoire.

When the scheduling and economic realities of maintaining a large group became unmanageable, the Fratellis belonged to history. But Persi and the Sharone brothers were already looking forward to the next thing: a smaller band that would distill the breadth of the Fratellis’ musical worldview sans fronteres, with the power and fury of the underground hard-rock scene.

Stolen Babies’ debut album, There Be Squabbles Ahead, arrived in 2006, and it seems none of the genres they traipsed through would ever recover. Heavy-metal mazurkas buttressed against funhouse film scores and laudanum-punk rave-ups, while Persi conjured everyone from Edith Piaf to Judy Garland to the shrieking turbines of a Boeing 747. Squabbles was technical, but not self absorbed; cartoonish, but not jokey; urgent, but not mindless.

The following year, the band embarked on a seven-week tour sponsored by Revolver Magazine. They were first on a bill of four, with the headlining slot belonging to the highly regarded metal act, Lacuna Coil. But instead of being eaten alive by that band’s dedicated fanbase, Stolen Babies hit a nerve with the headbanging faithful, selling tons of copies of Squabbles and other merchandise. They were garnering rave notices for Persi’s scorching schizophrenic vocal prowess and the band’s towering metal-meets-Kurt Weill velocity, powered by the Sharone brothers’ sibling mind-meld intuition. Critics and bloggers were making themselves arthritic trying to bang out an all-encompassing reduction of the Stolen Babies’ raison d’être.

And in a move that’s just as unpredictable as their sound, Stolen Babies celebrated their bona fide success on this tour in a most unusual way—by going on hiatus.

 [Editor]: The band reunited and in 2012 released a new album titled Naught. This little bit is unclear via the bio as they just go into discussing the new album with no context.

While parts of Squabbles could, at various junctures, feel as random and violent as a knife fight in pitch-black darkness, Naught shows a retooling of the Babies’ vision, influenced by all of their individual experiences during their break while raising the level of the group’s virtuosity. Despite Persi moving from Los Angeles to Oakland after touring behind Squabbles, her heart was very much still entrenched in Stolen Babies—and it shows on the band’s new music.

Producer Ulrich Wild gave Naught a greater sense of clarity, allowing many of the subtleties (especially Rani’s genre-hopscotching and Persi’s come-hither-so-I-may-stab-you delivery) to shine like halogen searchlights across a night sky. Crunching hard rock (“Splatter”), foreboding sound-design (“I Woke Up”), anabolic dance rock (“Prankster”), quirky new-wave rock (“Birthday Song”) and gothic vibes (“Dried Moat”) coexist like the best playlist you’ve never heard. (And in the case of “Mousefood,” it could be all of those genres in 165 seconds.) It’s to Stolen Babies’ credit such advantageous sonic pursuits don’t come off as contrived or clever. The fury, psychosis and musicianship come from the heart—not method acting. Gil laughs when he remembers the lively discussion that ensued when it came time for the band to pick a descriptive category for Naught in the iTunes store. These days, the band’s utility boilerplate tag for what they do is “experimental rock,” a designation Persi is most comfortable with.

They look like they'd be fun to see live. Until next time, try and stay away from the child catcher!

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About Khalid Eternal Nighone of us since 12:52 AM on 06.15.2015

Every time I think I know what I'm doing with my life, I forget.