Led by the enchanting force that is Alicia Perrone -- think Blondie's coquettish sleaze, Siouxsie Sioux's histrionic wail, and Joan Jett's surly punch -- Simon Stinger recently landed a cameo and a song in the Dan Aykroyd and Kirk Douglas comedy Diamonds, but that's a small accomplishment next to the realization of Devil on My Mind. The San Francisco quartet's second independent release is a 21st-century girl's revelation of all that was enjoyable in the '80s: the belief in ego, love, and music; the freedom of blazing down the freeway with dried roses hanging from your rearview mirror; the simple joy of pounding your feet in the dark corners of a nightclub filled with black-clad fans who believe in the star potential of their local musicians. The CD opens with a strident remake of Devo's "Girl U Want," dominated by the low-slung predatory growl of Victor James' bass line and crowned by Perrone's snotty certainty, before rolling into 12 originals that are limber enough to supplant your own youthful anthems about ditched romance. "Dead On" exposes an ex-boyfriend's penchant for dating carbon copies with the irresistible sing-along "Johnny's got a girl and she looks like me." "When a Boy Meets a Girl" finds Perrone exposing her siren's claws with the slinky line "I don't really care if you love me back/ Or at all/ I just want you to want me till it hurts you." "Hollywood Ending" decries the myth with seductive sweetness before finding release in the new wave bombast of "Summertime." "The Last Girl in the World" fulfills the ambition of both Adam Ant and Siouxie Sioux to carry their particular flavor into contemporary world of pop. And "Go Sugar" picks up where Concrete Blonde left off. Simon Stinger's cohesion, its ability to combine Perrone's distinctive vocal talents with rock 'n' roll balls and new wave snap, make Devil on My Mind the most dazzling, fun, and charmingly insolent album I've heard this year. They celebrate their record release at Ian Brennan's "Burlesque on Broadway" which also features the Slow Poisoners, Phoenix Thunderstone, Old Grandad, Rosin Coven, Bite, Ocean 8, and the Cantankerous Lollies burlesque troupe (expect more nudity from the bands than the girls) on Saturday, April 1 at the Broadway Studios at 7 p.m. Ticket price is $10; call 291-0333. Simon Stinger also performs at Paradise Lounge on Saturday, April 8; call 861-6906.
After an eight-month hiatus, "Bardot a Go-Go" has re-emerged to celebrate my birthday one day early -- or, rather, the early birthday of Serge Gainsbourg, the heavy-lidded king of cool who eked out a living as a bar pianist before reluctantly taking a singing role. Charmed by his "petulant homeliness," the French public embraced Gainsbourg -- as all should -- but he always preferred to write for others, giving Johnny Halliday, Petula Clark, Jane Birkin, and Dionne Warwick hits, and committing the masturbatory coos of Brigitte Bardot to vinyl. This birthday celebration will feature all of his best songs -- "Ford Mustang," "Je T'Aime... Moi Non Plus," and "Bonnie and Clyde" to name a couple -- as well as a brand new Serge slide show (marvel at the dark sunglasses, smoldering cigarettes, and rumpled suits), go-go gals, rare French videos, and other happy, bouncy Europop on Saturday, April 1 at 330 Ritch at 9 p.m. Ticket price is $7; call 541-9574.