Dolls' CD is part of the big picture

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All of the myriad acts in the New London music scene have their own agendas and priorities. There's no right or wrong to the respective missions, and the creation of music is, in any case, a good and fun thing.

But the Suicide Dolls, a steamroller trio whose fusion of punk, rock and pop styles is exceptionally creative and powerful, are following perhaps the most time-honored rock stereotype. That is, they quit their day jobs a few years back, have embraced the subsequent tough financial times cheerfully, and are absolutely committed to the idea of Going For It.

"As for a strategy on how to go up levels in this business, the only thing we have tried is working really hard at it," says bassist/vocalist Michelle Montavon, who founded the band with her husband, guitarist/vocalist Brian Albano, in 2002. "Up until now, we've really only concentrated on playing whenever and wherever we could - near and far - and that's why we quit our day jobs."

Indeed, after years of slogging it out on the road, the band - with drummer Matt Covey - has established itself as a live act with a strong following and a booking history from New York City to Chicago and Northampton to Boston.

But the band had no album to help push the momentum. Though they'd tried recording at various points, the results never met with the members' satisfaction - a situation that's been solved with the recent release of their first album, a driving, anthemic collection of tunes called "Prayers in Parking Lots." Co-produced and engineered by Justin Pizzoferrato (The Hold Steady, Dinosaur, Jr., Sonic Youth), the CD was stunningly recorded at Q Division Studios in Somerville, Mass., and showcases the finest of the group's estimable catalog.

"All the road work was starting to pay off a teeny little bit, and now we have an actual CD to push," Montavon says. "We're not getting any younger so the time to give it a shot for REAL is now."

It seems like a long time ago that Montavon and Albano met and started dating - back when they were students at New London High School and couldn't find a music scene in which to nurture their ambitions. After years of sonic evolution, in towns like Chicago and Providence, they established a proper base back home and have moved forward.

"Moving up levels probably means different things to different people," Montavon says. She describes hours spent online daily, trying to broaden their touring circuit, finding new clubs and bands to link up with, and trying to figure out the advantages of label support.

"I'm sure some of the (logistical work) would be lessened with a label behind us, or at least helping out," she says. "We could concentrate more on the actual musical aspect of it, which would be nice." She laughs. "A slight pay increase would be nice, too."



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