Is there anything sexier than a chick playing a guitar with the vim 'n' swagger of someone who was born to strum? Or a gal at the mic, strutting and confident in her knowledge that every eye in the room is upon her? That's what you'll take away from the second volume of Sympathy's celebration of rock 'n' roll femme pulchritude. The 30 wildly diverse tracks include the A-Lines' garage punk, Tina & the Total Babes' Plimsouls-styled power pop, Scarling's shoegaze, Wanda Jackson's Americana twang, Mr. Airplane Man's trance-blues choogle and the Detroit Cobra's shoop-shoop R&B. Several other hometown acts appear, including the Come Ons and the Fondas, and one of the most powerful numbers is unquestionably Ko & the Knockouts' "Go-Getter," which marries classic girl-group sweetness to Stooge thuggery for a combination that's, er, a knockout. Japan's exquisitely monikered the Banana Erectors wink at the Buzzcocks as produced by Phil Spector (in under two minutes!) on "You Got That Uh Uh." And the late, great SoCal trio, the Chubbies, perform a triple bypass on every beating aorta within earshot of their "Didjahavtasaythat?" It boasts a timeless "Don't Fear the Reaper" chord progression, production worthy of a major label and a stuttery, tremulous vocal line from lead Chubbie Jeannette Kantzalis that's the very essence of self-recrimination and heartbreak; it roars out of the speakers and defies you not to duck. This CD won't beat actually standing in a club and watching these lionesses in action. But hallelujah it's the next best thing.
Fred Mills writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.