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The Rondelles

The Rondelles sound like the name of a girl group, right? Well, that's what they are, actually, but they're a girl group of a decidedly different ilk than, say, The Ronettes or The Shangri-Las. This effusive DC-based quartet (which, by the way, is actually half male, half female) channels the cheeky, cheerful R&B-influenced spirit of those great '50s groups into a decidedly contemporary rock sound that takes liberally from gritty garage-rock, bouncy The Ramones-derived pop-punk, and spiky Elastica-style British power pop. They wind up with careening, ultra-catchy, hook-filled lo-fi pop songs that will keep you on your feet while you listen and remain embedded in your consciousness for weeks to come.

Like The Donnas, The Rondelles made a name for themselves when they were still in high school, landing opening gigs for Sleater-Kinney and Sonic Youth and releasing an album, Fiction Romance, Fast Machines (1998) on SY drummer Steve Shelley's Smells Like label. As they grew up, so did their sound, becoming increasingly eclectic and cohesive, as documented on their next full-length, The Fox ('99, Teenbeat). In 2001, The Rondelles released Shined Nickels and Loose Change, a grab bag of gems that spans the group's five-year career, including seven-inches, compilation tracks (including a cover of Madonna's "Like a Prayer" from a Teenbeat sampler), and a half-dozen new tracks. The oh-so-infectious "Safety in Numbers" first appeared on a '97 Teenbeat single.

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