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Starlite Desperation 

Monday, July 19, at the Beachland Ballroom.

The Starlite Desperation
  • The Starlite Desperation

Starlite Desperation's 1998 debut, Show You What a Baby Won't (GSL), caused a few ripples in the indie undertow, with a rough-housed Roxy Music sound and a brazenly sexy swagger rarely seen in indie rock. But more than two years later, their harder-edged follow-up, Go Kill Mice (Flapping Jet), got scant distribution. Members came and went, and a move from then-happening Detroit to always-raining Portland sapped any remaining momentum. The band splintered, and singer-guitarist Dante Adrian reappeared briefly in two similar combos -- Belle Isle and the Lost Kids -- leaving Starlite Desperation a distant coulda/shoulda been.

Now that groups like the Strokes, Vue, and Von Bondies have pimped the gutter-glam vibe and garage bands in general have popped up all over the place, the return of Starlite may ultimately resign them to couldabeens again, but certainly not for lack of trying. Though it's only a six-song EP, the band's latest, Violate a Sundae, is a most bracing rock record. They still slink around like a cougar, but they pounce more often: The grabby riffs show that they did their time in Detroit, but the overall strut of the rhythms and unapologetic big, loud production proves that they're now prowling the sleazy streets of L.A. This batch bodes well for the full-length, due in the fall. Then again, who knows; Starlite has a way of imploding.

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