Love at first dirty rap? That could be the case with blue-eyed rapper and songwriter Amanda Blank. After making the rounds opening for dance pop duchess Santigold, the performer released her debut, I Love You (Downtown), earlier this month. In an alternate universe Blank would be the one ordering everyone to dance, rather than Lady Gaga. Or not: She’s a little too verbose, a little too rangy -- there are too many thoughts jangling around that head to boil it all down as simply as LG. Blank plays Rickshaw Stop Aug. 30.
A member of the loose coalition of kindred spirits like the aforementioned Santi, Spank Rock, and Diplo, Blank’s also acutely conscious of her pop predecessors. See “Might Like You Better” off the new album: the vocalist and sometime stadium rock lover yowls like a cat in head, “I might like you better if we slept together!” while overtly paying homage to and riffing off SF post-punk band Romeo Void’s “Never Say Never.” She’s horny and ornery, turning the tune into a schoolyard taunt, while giving proper credit where it’s due. No surprise since Blank is firmly planted in hip-hop, despite the electro and dance-punk forms she plays with, and calling out, referencing, and toying with the power of yesterday’s beats is a major part of the DJ-centric tradition.
But Blank isn’t without hooks of her very own, on full display on opener, “Make It Take It,” a motor-mouthed, bouncing banger that rolls crazily forward on its back wheels and act-first-think-later rhyme like a mad motor-scooter. She owes a debt to punky, pro-sex provocateur Peaches, but she’s eons lighter, carefree, and poppier, sporting such sassy kernels of dance-floor-perfect sparkle magic as “Shame on Me” and “DJ” (the latter should have Britney and Madonna giving Blank a ring tout de suite), as well as adoring, womanly raps like “A Love Song.” “I need love,” she drawls, as the last word reverberates into the astral. The hard truth from a soft-hearted lassie unafraid to extol the joys of make-up rather than the break up.
Amanda Blank performs Aug. 30 at Rickshaw Shop, 155 Fell, SF. (415) 861-2011.
Aug 17, 2009
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