The Pleasure Kills set to blast with female-fronted New Wave

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the mall, the Eighties are, like, totally back. Just look around: Elements of the Reagan era are popping up faster than you can say “voodoo economics,” and music most noticeably seems to be where the decade is being culturally mined.


If the threat of a looming New Kids on the Block reunion has you bunkering down inside of a cultural fallout shelter, San Francisco’s The Pleasure Kills are certain to blast you out of hiding with power pop and punk that is, like, unabashedly fun.

“I had never even heard of power pop until (I read our first review),” said the group’s lead singer, a former Oklahoma City resident who calls herself Lydiot. “I guess I always thought we were punk, but now I’ve come to realize we’re something different.”

Guitarist James Jameson said, “After we started going online and finding out about the bands we were being compared to is when we started hearing the term ‘power pop.’ I don’t even know if we sound like those bands as much as they all sound like each other, but through that, we figured out we are power pop and we stuck with it. We couldn’t make it as punks.”

Like Blondie, The Go-Go’s and Joan Jett before them, The Pleasure Kills are a female-fronted five-piece that deliver a pop-perfect combination of bubblegum hooks and punk grit. Lydiot, for example, may appear to pack all the makings of a quintessential teenage fantasy pop queen, but underlying the sticky sweetness is an undeniable edginess. To borrow and paraphrase Bart Simpson’s description of Milk Duds, The Pleasure Kills are “sweet on the outside, poison on the inside.”

The daughter of a sushi chef,  Lydiot was introduced to her band mates outside of traditional band-breeding grounds. Instead of a garage or small club, the origins of The Pleasure Kills can be traced back to a sushi restaurant.

“I moved from OKC to the Bay Area off and on for about five or seven years,” Lydiot said. “Me and (bassist) Adachi (aka A-Dutch) have been working in the sushi bar industry for a long time and James was a bartender. ”

The group later found organist Jeffrey Ject through an Internet posting and soon began recording music together. The act released its first single, “Smash Up the Radio,” last year and received accolades from a variety of indie pundits, airplay on numerous college radio stations, and a position in the Top 30 chart at the University of San Francisco’s pioneering, student-run KUSF-FM.

Although the group jokingly accredited couples counseling for helping the male musicians function better with their female lead, The Pleasure Kills are definitely working well together. With a debut full-length scheduled for release sometime in 2009, the band is set this month to release its second single, “Mission Boy.” The group’s Southwest tour brings it to The Conservatory on Sunday for its first OKC show.

“Nobody has fallen off the stage in four shows,” James said, jokingly. “We try to have less cocktails before we go on and more cocktails after.”

The Pleasure Kills seem so enthusiastic about playing in Lydiot’s hometown, however, one anticipates that their stage safety record might be in danger. “Lucas Ross

Lucas Ross

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