By Andrea Philp
Photography by Tavishe Coulson
Taking their name from the old Alice Cooper song, Dance Yourself to Death are on the verge of very big things. Popular on college radio, featured as the prom band in the Elton John-produced film “It’s a Boy Girl Thing”, crowding clubs around Toronto, and making girls and boys swoon are just some of the things these ladies have been up to.
With Jen Markowitz on vocals and bass, Nina Martinez on guitar, and Susan Gale on drums and back-up vocals, they sound like The Ronettes making love to Chrissie Hynde and then having breakfast with members of Squeeze and XTC. They evoke a subdued version of Detroit Cobras, but I promise they’re not derivative. The band has a timeless sound, and that’s what makes them instantly charming. I’ve been able to catch three shows by them in the past year, and I can tell you that their crowd and popularity only grows.
Dance Yourself to Death’s brand-spankin’-new self-titled four-song EP contains infectious hooks in call-and-response arrangements of guitar and vocals, and each instrument is given a chance to shine. They don’t dilly-dally with long interludes or overindulgent guitar solos — they get straight to the point, and play some of the catchiest music around town.
Markowitz pronounces her lyrics tenderly and humbly, with tangible emotion. I’ve seen a few vocalists over the years who give off too much “in your face” attitude, but Jen doesn’t do this at all. There isn’t a stitch of ego in her performances. It’s punk rock, yes, but these girls aren’t the type to show up late and drunk to a show, smash their instruments over a table of beers, and then make out with all the hot young things in the crowd. They are responsible punk rockers, which makes them even more endearing. DYTD will be the next big thing from Toronto; it’s just a matter of time. They are friendly enough for pop radio, but still edgy enough for alternative and rock stations, and with their good looks, they could be video darlings to boot.