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The Dresden Dolls

A variety of noteworthy groups were active on the Boston music scene in the late '90s and early 2000s -- groups ranging from retro-soul/funk band Superhoney to the quirky, '80s-minded synth pop/new wave trio Freezepop to the hard-to-categorize Moonraker (who have since moved to New York City). But the most unique and intriguing group to come out of Boston during that period may very well have been the Dresden Dolls, a highly unorthodox duo consisting of lead singer/pianist Amanda Palmer (who handles the songwriting) and drummer Brian Viglione. Formed in 2001, the Dresden Dolls have favored a most unlikely blend of alternative pop/rock, riot grrrl catharsis, and German cabaret -- especially the German cabaret that flourished when the Weimar Republic was in power in Germany in the '20s and very early '30s (before Adolf Hitler and his Nazi regime came to power).

The name Dresden Dolls was, in part, inspired by a song from British punk band the Fall, but it also acknowledges Palmer and Viglione's German influences; Dresden, after all, is a German city that was bombed extensively during World War II. However, Palmer doesn't sing or write in German; all of her vocals and lyrics are in English. But even so, the Dresden Dolls' Weimar-era influences are impossible to miss -- not only because of their music, but also, because of their physical appearance. When Palmer and Viglione (whose colorful live shows helped them acquire a small but enthusiastic cult following in and around Boston in the early 2000s) perform together as the Dresden Dolls, their clothes and makeup provide a look that is half goth and half Weimar-style burlesque -- a look that successfully unites the cultures of different countries and different eras.

Like their attire, the Dresden Dolls' clever, darkly theatrical music draws on an unusual variety of influences. Marlene Dietrich and Kurt Weill have influenced the Dresden Dolls, but so have alternative rockers ranging from Tori Amos to PJ Harvey to the controversial Hole founder turned solo artist Courtney Love. And just as the New York City-based, London-born singer/songwriter Nellie McKay has no problem reminding listeners of Doris Day one minute and Alanis Morissette or Randy Newman the next, the Dresden Dolls know how to make their combination of influences from different periods sound perfectly natural and organic rather than forced, pretentious, or contrived.

In 2003, the Dresden Dolls' A Is for Accident (a collection of live recordings) was released on the Important label; that CD was followed by their first full-length studio album, a self-titled disc that came out on 8ft. Records in 2004. The next year, the tour/video compilation Paradise was released, and Yes, Virginia..., the band's second album, arrived in 2006. The similarly titled No, Virginia... followed two years later, collecting the duo's B-sides and outtakes and pairing them with five new songs. ~ Alex Henderson, Rovi
full bio

Comments

I still love them, why they break up
I will always love The Dresden Dolls
Brian is hot
amanda i love you
Saw Amanda and Neil Gaiman at the Bard Center in NY a few months back (An Evening With...). They are such an amazing creative force and an incredible close couple. If the show ever comes your way spend what you have to for tickets. They do not disappoint!
eckmcooley
Saw Amanda in concert recently. I do wish they hadn't broken up. Her new material is more pop than punk. Great band. I love trying to decipher the meanings of her songs on rainy days <3
great sounds all way's make me happy
nguzman84
@ San Francisco 2010 New Years Eve - great concert swell night!!
I love these guys!!!!!!
their self-titled album is in my list of top five albums EVER. It is just brilliant.
Talented band. If they (Amanda) wrote an off off broadway musical, it would be so great. Weird and cool with a message. Thats how she writes. Every word is worth reading. I'd be first in line to see it.
renagonzalez 3 9 1 2
they're married? hmm...hate to break it to that girl on youtube that wanted to marry both of them, o'well.
what if your neither angry or gay and just like it hmmmm??
Neil Gaiman is very, very lucky, isn't he? Of course, he's brilliant as well.
They Did it. They are married now.
choperini117 0
And...um...s h e ' s engaged to marry Neil Gaiman...
She openly spoke of being bisexual at a Youth Pride trip a few years back in Boston.
LOL.. no way this is "angry lesbian music". Have you seen the live performance of Coin-Operate d Boy? FemmeDom music, maybe.. but not les
what if your an angry gay male?
My friend call this angry lesbian music. What ever brilliant musicians.
choperini117 0
"Girl Anachronism" makes me so happy...the song as well as the marvelous video.
So gracious in person and so electrifying on stage - need'em like I need to breathe.
<3!!!
Much like Voltaire.
The Dresden Dolls complete my life, Girl Anachronism makes me giggle like a school girl lol.
A band that speaks to the chubby goth girl inside all of us. God how I love them.
now thats hot
bwaltz82
id bang her
eff yea for dresden dolls!
=>
they make me smile so, so much.
My son - the drummer & bass player - was into "grind-core" music. My Daughter - the theatre geek vocalist - was into show tunes & girl pop... then they found PANDORA & the Dresden Dolls... they even TALK to each other now. Thank you.
amazing!
jabb_rwock
woot!
She's Bi? I really love them now!
Amanda is my hero. And I love this music. <3
Does anyone else think its ironic that banner ads on this site advertise Who Killed Amanda Palmer, but her new album isn't in Pandora's catalogue?
rock love
ileesia1788
I've seen the Dolls perform half-a-dozen times and each time, the show gets better. It's soooo wonderful to see music and art and performance all wrapped into one fantastic package! I even got to meet the Dolls after one show, and they were both so nice that I wondered if I had stumbled into an alternate universe. Long live the Dolls!
chocolate_st r s _ a n d _ b r k n _ h e a r t s
this band is absolutely amazing i love them so much
I <3 Amanda.
the dresden dolls are SUCH a breath of fresh air in a largely stale music scene....i LOVE LOVE LOVE them. thank you pandora for opening my eyes to them, i cant believe i hadnt heard them prior to this website!!!

UNF!
I discovered The Dresden Dolls when I was 15, and I've been in love ever since. I love their passionate and aggressive songs, which are veined with biting wit. I also look up to Amanda Palmer, who is not only a brilliant lyricist and musician but an open and proud bisexual. I love this band!
I'm a huge Dresden Dolls fan in San Jose...but I'm volunteering with City Year in Boston in hopes that I can see the Dolls a lot more on weekends!

Amanda's lyrics are always so heartfelt and REAL. And it's almost like one great American life story musical (without cheesy tap numbers) that is constantly flowing from Amanda's fingers.
The Dresden Dolls have been my favorite band for a long time now, and I must say that I'm pleased Pandora is helping to spread their music. Amanda Palmer is absolutely incredible. Keep listening! Can't wait for No, Virginia!
Thanks to Pandora for playing "Backstabber " , "Sex Changes", and "Half Jack"-- i can't wait for No, Virginia... (#3).
wow wow wow to Amanda and Brian. Keep making music!
I've loved them for a long time now and I don't think I could ever stop. Haha, they're just great. I love their sound!
bookgrl1190
So. Damn. Good.
So good! Never would have found them without Pandora. Really have to see them live.
Each live show I've seen is different, always original & amazing.
loveisevol81
I've seen them on a late nite talk show. They played girl anachronism and coin operated boy. After that I went to pick up they're album, been listening to them ever since. Can't wait to hear album number 3.

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