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Elizabeth Wight: The Californian Girl As Dance Goddess

Elizabeth Wight’s secret takes a while to become clear -it would’ve helped if she was blonde. Wight’s secret is she is the epitome of a Californian girl. It’s been a coupla hour since Bret Jensen and I concluded our interview and that’s what stays with me most.Bret is going to the show tonight (at The Danger Halloween Party tonight 3rd Ward, 195 Morgan Ave,, Bushwick, Brooklyn, 10pm) and will be writing a full length profile soon. Consider this my first thoughts.

Elizabeth is the lead singer for the excellent dance rock band Love Grenades in town for CMJ. But she is an odd girl. A frequenter of LA’s  rocks clubs and dance clubs from the age of fourteeen (“A street kid”), emancipated from her parents at the age of fifteen and  a mind bloggling age to be on your own. And I mean on your own. She worked to support herself. Elizabeth calls the clubs her Churches but I’m thinking they were more like her home. Eliazbeth began her career singing for Gram Parsons cover bands and local punk bands till she took matters into her own hands and wrote and played five demo songs in her bedroom.  She is signed to Modus Vivandi (a very good dance label), and has a terrific EP Tigers In the Fire I am sure you’ve read about in Rock NYC many times. She is currently  recording her new album with various producers none of whom I know.

Given what I know of her life I’d have expected somebody harder, more cynical. If your parents let you down when you’re a teen, when they lift the structures of childhood, it could lead you to anarcy and at the least it could lead you to a serious break of emotional faith. If those whose job it is to do so don’t hold your trust sacred how can you believe in anybody else might do so? But the woman seems to wear the mantle of her back story with ease and a smile. Where her guard could be up  she seems to shrug it off and where somebody else, certainly most people in the biz on the East Coast, might make a practise of not being forthcoming,  everything about Wight is as open as  her wide, frankly and franly attractive smile and it is strange, it’s not what we’ve bought into.

On stage and on record Wight comes across as a red hot, dead cool, maneating femme fatale, in person she is a quintessential laid back member of the LA music scene. Calming, guileless, never happier than with a forty ounce beer and miles of sand and sea. She doesn’t have a bad word for anyone with the possible exception of Britney Spears.

The music isn’t quite what it appears to be either, the rough and tumble ribaldry of “Tigers In the Fire” (“I can screw anyone that’s  nice then walk away”) is  actually a break up song with Elizabeth putting on a brave face while her life falls apart. What she has to say about this is fascinating and I hope Brett decides to pull the quotes when he writes the profile.

Equally fascinating  is Elizabeth’s  description of how she writes songs. She starts with a drum pattern,with Beats Per Minutes, adds a bass line, and puts the”pretty things” on top. Wight writes the lyric last though my claim that that’s somewhat clinical is rebuffed. “I write poetry. I think I’m a romantic.”

Elizabeth has had a cold since she got here and has been sneezing regularly so the boys of New York haven’t had a taste of the big orange -poor New York boys. Wight is, to put it bluntly, a little knock out, and any New York  guy who wouldn’t trade off the flu for hooking up with Miss. Wight would probably prefer Sam Sparro’s company.

She has met many people during the past week,  including Chris Stein and Debbie Harry who signed all her vinyl Blondie albums, Love Grenades is something of a Blondie circa “Call Me” for the 2010s. She also met  Mark Ronson who should really work with this very gifted woman. Either way  you’ll be hearing a lot more about Love Grenades, from me, from Bret Jensen next week, and from the pop universe when her first album drops.

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