There’s nothing but optimism right now surrounding Los Angeles duo Broken Baby. They just released their sophomore full-length Late Stage Optimism on September 24th, an eleven-track display of exquisite indie rock with hints of glam, punk, power pop and disco. They have a very LA sound which has made them a top local draw, routinely selling out clubs, pre-pandemic and fortunately now again as we move forward towards a new year.
Combining the skill and the brains of Alex Dezen, former frontman for The Damnwells, and his wife Amber Bollinger, a former actor, the couple recorded the album primarily in their El Sereno, California area home. Dezen, no stranger to home recording, produced and mixed the album, doing such an effective job that it sounds like it was recorded at an upscale recording studio. Their energy shows up big time throughout Late Stage Optimism, bringing a much-needed jolt of punk rock enthusiasm for what hopes to be a more rocking 2022.
With such a diverse sound encompassing so many different genres, it seemed all too practical to connect with Broken Baby for a Stereo Six session. Dezen and Bollinger offered us six albums that helped shape the sound of their stellar new album.
1. Cyndi Lauper – She’s So Unusual (1983, Portrait Records)
“This whole album, top to bottom, is a pop masterpiece. Brilliant, fun, topical, profound, deeply beautiful, and timeless. This may be the best album of that era. Actually, it is. It’s the best. We’d be lucky if anything we wrote could be considered a B-side to that album.”
2. Gang of Four – Entertainment! (1979, EMI Records)
“What a seminal post-punk record. Andy Gill’s masterful inside-out guitar style is a constant inspiration. Minimal and angular, while still being lyrical and narrative. How? Leaves us shaking our heads in disbelief.”
3. Jesus Lizard – Goat (1991, Touch and Go Records)
“Not enough can be said about Jesus Lizard. Existing somewhere between art and rock, jazz, and punk, David Yow and company cannot be charted on any map. Duane Denison is Alex’s favourite guitar player of all time. That should tell you something.”
4. Shellac – At Action Park (1994, Touch and Go Records)
“Minimal and brutal, yet irrelevant and witty, pretty much everything Steve Albini creates has the same disjointed clarity and beauty. Big big fans.”
5. The Pretenders – The Pretenders (1979, Sire Records)
“What a record! Chris Thomas at the helm (after Nick Lowe gave them the cold shoulder), and Chrissie Hynde’s songs. An incredible combination. And the songs. The songs! They’re all so amazing. We are forever in debt to Chrissie’s bravery and perseverance. To The Pretenders, we are forever in your debt.”
6. Le Tigre – Le Tigre (1999, Mr. Lady)
“It’s pop, it’s political, it’s snotty, it’s fun… the best combination.”