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Edie Sedgwick

Edie Sedgwick is as much a platform for ambiguous postmodern musings about the culture of a celebrity as it is a rock band. Correction: Edie Sedgwick can be a platform for ambiguous postmodern musings about the culture of celebrity because it is a rock band. Sort of. Edie Sedgwick was originally, of course, the most infamous groupie of all time, one of Warhol's "superstars" and (supposedly) the subject of Dylan's "Just Like a Woman" and "Like a Rolling Stone" before she died of the inevitable drug overdose at 28. Sedgwick's cultural significance comes not from anything she did, but who she hung out with, slept with, and worshipped -- among them, Dylan, Lou Reed, and Mick Jagger; she was the embodiment of celebrity worship (if you're interested, read more about her in the excellent Edie: American Girl by George Plimpton), which is precisely why the band named itself after her.

Now naturally, a couple of college-educated indie types who name themselves after the original poster girl for the Warholian 15 minutes and title all their songs after our age's most-worshipped celluloid heroes ("Jennifer Love Hewitt," "Gwynneth Paltrow," etc.) must be exercising their well-developed senses of irony, no? Well, they claim otherwise. Consider: "Our position is not sarcastic/ironic. We do not embrace the tired xyz coordinates of truth and non-truth. We do not participate in the telling of a serious joke. Edie Sedgwick has no sense of humor: stale laughter is irrelevant to our living, breathing politic. Our tributes to the likes of Christina Ricci and Meryl Streep come from the guts. We feel for these figures in the same now-trite fashion that Woody Guthrie felt for Sacco and Vanzetti or John Lennon felt we should 'Give Peace a Chance.' But, because our subject matter is ridiculous, we preserve our postmodern credibility while going beyond the postmodern's inability to say anything at all about anything at all. We care for -- we take a stand for -- not a Leftist cause du jour, but for the glam and glitter of our party-girl culture. We become this culture's mirror: an eloquent ghost in the machine." That's from "Edie Sedgwick Propaganda #1," and while this claim to non-ironic objectivity is delivered with tongue-and-cheek irony (of such a high caliber I couldn't resist reprinting it for your reading enjoyment), it also invites you to take the band seriously. And seriously, did Titanic make you cry, though you mock it every chance you get? Does some small part of you care what Julia Roberts wears on her way to the manicurist, as dutifully reported by Instyle Magazine? Does Entertainment Tonight matter to you? These are the questions Edie Sedgwick wants you to ask yourself.

Musically speaking, the drums-and-bass duo makes minimalist, skeletal post-punk that recalls the highly rhythmic fare of fellow DC-area acts like The Impossible Five and The Eternals. Justin Moyer, also of the avant-punk outfit El Guapo, handles the low-end in a busy, jazzy fashion that sometimes suggests bass hero Mike Watt of the Minutemen. Ryan Hicks handles drums and percussion. Occasionally you'll hear some keyboards, but for the most part it's just the bass, the drums, and Moyer's cryptic paeans to celebrity. "Faye Dunaway" and "Edie Sedgwick" each come from the band's 13-song debut LP, First Reflections. Intriguing and highly recommended.