A great band needs a great origin story. And The Bobby Lees (no relation to the underground comedian) have surely got one: Singer-guitarist and actress Sam Quartin formed the band after vacating NYC for Woodstock and recruiting a bunch of skilled teenagers from the local School of Rock. No, seriously. And here’s something else to take serious as cancer: Their highly combustible sophomore album Skin Suit. Rambunctiously swaggering, gleefully unhinged and feverishly blistering, the 13-song set veers wildly between punk, garage-rock, blues, funk, noise and whatever combination of the above they decide to spew at any given moment — along with choice covers of the Chicago standard I’m a Man and Richard Hell’s Lower East Side anthem Blank Generation. Throughout it all, Quartin’s paranoid lyrics and sweaty, wild-eyed bray dose these tracks with an unpredictable, disturbing dementia reminiscent of Royal Trux’s Jennifer Herrema having a psychotic meltdown while fronting Jon Spencer’s Blues Explosion. The latter resemblance should not be be much of a surprise, since Spencer expertly underproduced this twisted tangle of lo-fi lunacy and white-knuckle intensity. Like umpteen other albums, this one was supposed to come out months back, but got bumped. As a result, I’ve had it on repeat for a while now. Soon as you click play on this sucker, I’m pretty sure you will too. But back to that origin story: I interviewed Quartin way back in March; assuming I can still find the recording to transcribe, look for that chat in the next few days. In the meantime, try Skin Suit on for size. Just remember to put the lotion in the basket.
THE PRESS RELEASE: “The Bobby Lees are a young bone-shaking garage-rock band out of Woodstock, NY. In the past year they’ve played with The Chats, Future Islands, Boss Hog, Daddy Long Legs, Shannon & The Clams and Murphy’s Law. Their sound mixes classic garage-punk hits with raw and emotive storytelling. Their new record Skin Suit was produced by underground punk legend Jon Spencer of the Blues Explosion.”