'HEAVY, DARK, AND ATMOSPHERIC' Lolita Black.
When a local punk rock guitar legend like Bob Otis sincerely declares that "there's a lot of greatness going on in this town right now," you tend to listen up, particularly when it's coming from the guy who put Rhody punk thrash on the map with Dropdead more than 20 years ago, quickly garnered a cult following with the doom metal of I, Destroyer, and is currently shredding with Lolita Black, who just released their monstrous full-length debut Inside the Wasteland.
"Starting from the bottom floor with a new band is rough, but kinda fun too," Bob Otis told me, "and the response has been overwhelmingly good so far.
"We didn't have a preset notion of our sound as much as just trying to write intense songs that rock," Otis told me last week in preps of a CD release show next Thursday (the 29th) at Firehouse No. 13.
"We didn't really have a formula in mind other than to be dark and heavy with a strong female presence in the band," he said. "I had already done hardcore punk with Dropdead and metal with I, Destroyer so I wanted to get into some new territory." Female presence and new territory? Check and check. With Jessika Pacitto on vocals and Kaleigh Melise beating the absolute shit out of her drum kit (seriously), Otis may have struck sonic gold with Lolita Black, and Inside the Wasteland is one of the most impressive debut rock albums I've heard around here in a long time. Wasteland opens with an eerie sample from Stanley Kubrick's Lolita before Otis comes in with the unrelenting riff on "Tightrope." Melise and bassist Jacob Blanchette continually up the ante as Pacitto confidently snarls, "Feasting on my pride, does it taste good?" "Criminal," "Hollow," and "Where's Your Reason" are equally vicious, and the drum work on "Worlds of None" is bananas.
"The Lolita Black name came about from watching Kaleigh play the drums," Otis explained. "At the time she was only 19 and looked completely evil when she got behind the kit. I was jokingly calling her Lolita and the name just popped into my head and it worked."
Similar to Josh Homme's Queens of the Stone Age, Lolita Black offers thick and highly-wound grooves — surely bound to have the masses shaking their asses at Firehouse No. 13 next week.
"We try to give them a heavy, dark, and atmospheric show with hooks that make you wanna rock your ass off," Otis said.
Otis is currently "shopping the record around" for label support and a subsequent nationwide tour. "We're taking it slow and trying to have fun, but also make things happen at the same time."
And for those who still insist the current music scene remains on life-support, Otis wholeheartedly disagrees. "Providence has always had a scene that constantly recreates itself," he said. "I think there's just as many amazing bands now as in the past 'glory days,' but it seems a lot of bands today just don't get the hype that some of the classic local bands like Arab On Radar or Six Finger Satellite got initially.
"I've gotten to travel a lot through the years and I'd say for pure creativity and greatness, Providence is an amazing place for music and I'm really proud to be part of it."
Pick up a copy or two of Inside the Wasteland at Armageddon Records in Providence or contact the band directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LOLITA BLACK + THE PILGRIM + CHROME JACKSON + THE LOON | Firehouse 13, 41 Central Street, Providence | January 29 at 8 pm | $5 | myspace.com/lolitablackprovidence