Music Review: Here and Now by Taxi Doll

Hey there…

Every so often I find some new artist (or artist new to me) who happens to infect me with a guitar-synth-pop (though they call it “rocktronica”) groove. Taxi Doll not only did that but has embedded itself deep in my psyche with their album Here and Now. I just can’t get “Strange Rush” out of my mind…

As someone who grew up in an age of Depeche Mode, Erasure, and Cause & Effect, I have a soft spot for synth-pop, whether it’s dark and moody like ‘Peche, cheerful and upbeat like Erasure, or a mixture of the two like Cause & Effect. Now I have to add a fourth group to that list – Taxi Doll. And unlike the other three, Taxi Doll is fronted by a female — like Blondie, No Doubt, and Garbage. They have bridged that gap and somehow created something new, fun, and funky.

From the opening strains of “Come to Me” with its infectious dance beat to the syncronous smooth of “Strange Rush”, Taxi Doll runs the gamut. For a new group, I found the tracks extremely well engineered. All too often new groups fall into the trap of what I call “playing with the knobs and buttons” in the studio. Taxi Doll sounds like they worked out any kinks with their sound long before the album was recorded, tinkering to get things just right for their fans and the world to fall in love with.

It’s obvious as you listen to the album that they produced it so that it ebbs and flows between dance-heavy tunes and slower tunes, and back again. I respect any band that can do that on an album (I think that the art of assembling an album is rapidly disappearing in an age where people can download individual tracks on a whim). And to find a relatively new band that has that kind of maturity is amazing.

So if this Los Angeles-based band has been creating their own brand of music since 2004 and why haven’t I heard of them before?

Back in 2004, Dhana (vocals) and Gregg “G-Dub” Allen (production/keyboards) met through a mutual friend, Joy (artist/producer of D:fuse & Perfecto). Dhana then met Jason Graham (drums) when he toured with the Supreme Beings of Leisure. And then Matt Emmer (guitar) and Brian Hendrix (bass) had met previously but were recruited separately. Kismet? Fate? Whatever it was, it started a fusion of styles and music to create Taxi Doll’s unique sound.

As they gained momentum, they gained notice of fans and labels alike. Universal got on board as their single “Waiting” climbed to #3 on billboard’s Hot Dance Airplay Charts and #1 in Music Week (Europe). Their new single “Be With You” reached the top 10 on the Billboard Dance Club chart and was #5 on the UK pop charts. Obviously the world was taken with Dhana’s sweet vocals merged with guitar grooves.

Television and movie music moguls aren’t deaf to their sound either. You may have heard some of their music on television in such shows as The Hills, Laguna Beach, and Veronica Mars or in movies like John Tucker Must Die and Firewall. I expect that since their album Here and Now‘s release in February that dance clubs across the world are going to be hearing much more of Taxi Doll in the future.

If you like bands like Goldfrapp, Depeche Mode, Republica, and Garbage, you should definitely give Taxi Doll a listen. While you do that, I’m going to go back to listening to “Strange Rush” again…

–Fitz

p.s. They seem to be out of stock at Amazon at the moment, but be sure to check them out here.

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