For every Taylor Swift, Avril Lavigne, and Britney Spears -- that is, for every 15 year old who submitted to the studio system, allowed herself to be made-up and songwritten into superstardom -- there's 10,000 who did all of that and still didn't make it. Before she was old enough to drive, Waltham's NOELLE LEBLANC was hanging out in basements with a local producer and singing other people's songs. At 16 she was signed to RCA and flying from China to Japan. At 20, after several Warped Tours and a couple of criminally underperforming but first-rate power-pop records, she was toast, and burnt. We ran into her a while back after she'd quit her longtime band Damone; she said she'd taken a job as a forest ranger up in Vermont. She finally felt good enough about her own songs to press a CD-R of her home demos, and started playing out with her brother on drums as THE ORGAN BEATS. At the time, we thought it might be a nice hobby for her in early retirement. On New Year's Eve, she opened for her old pals in Waltham by playing a set of Pat Benatar covers.
Then we got the new Organ Beats album, SLEEP WHEN WE ARE DEAD -- studio-recorded, fully-realized, pushy, catchy. Towards the end, Damone were walking a fine line between Sunset Strip nostalgia and mallpunk sleaze -- not bad work if you can get it -- but the Organ Beats record, in sacrificing the easy hooks and the eye-candy flash, feels more substantial and far less disposable. We're gonna go ahead and call it a comeback. And if you happen to be in the vicinity of Kenmore Square tonight, you can see them before Brooklyn finds out about it -- you can see 'em at Church.
DOWNLOAD: The Organ Beats, "Sleep When We Are Dead" [mp3]