Music News

We Ragazzi

These days, indie rock is back in vogue with mainstream critics, who act as if the genre rose phoenix-like from the ashes of the '90s grunge movement when Julian Casablancas decided that modeling wasn't for him. The truth, of course, is that the style has been thriving all along in the loamy underground that nurtured it in the first place. Take Chicago's We Ragazzi, which could be accused of jumping on the indie bandwagon if the group hadn't been formed in 1997, back when said bandwagon was mired in enough muck to fill Soldier Field. Wolves With Pretty Lips, a fresh-from-the-womb CD on the Suicide Squeeze imprint, is actually the group's third full-length, and a definite step up from its immediate predecessor, 2001's The Ache. Songs such as "When Young Lovers Have No Place to Go" and "I Want Butterflies (All the Time)" spotlight a spare, pleasantly abrasive sound built upon Alianna Kalaba's modern-primitive drumming, Colleen Burke's clever keyboarding and Tony Rolando's serrated guitar. As a singer, Rolando yowls and whines like a hepcat on a hot tin roof, infusing the music with the sort of passionate weirdness that's always welcome, no matter what's considered popular at the moment. Seven years later, We Ragazzi's right on top of the trends.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts