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Rockrgrl Magazine - Fall 2003

Dresden Dolls - A War of Extremes

Equal parts rock, goth, punk, cabaret, opera and vaudville, The Dresden Dolls - Amanda Palmer and Brian Viglione - are not typical New Englanders.

They take their name from a song by British punk bank The Fall, but the significance can also be traced to the war-torn former East German city of Dresden and the China dolls that were once the city's hottest commodity.

"We speak to what everyone here associates Dresden with, the fire bombing and destruction. But the dolls are a juxtaposition of something beautiful and delicate and small and vulnerable," Palmer says. "Our music is banshee-like and bombastic and really aggressive at times. Then it slims down to barely a whisper and is very fragile, vulnerable and personal. There's not a lot in between. The music fluctuates between those extremes."

The Dresden Dolls mix their passion for punk with Palmer's penchant for German cabaret, creating something like a rock opera without the dramatizations of props, although they dress in white facial makeup and black zoot wear.

Dresden Dolls recently caught the ear of Boston producer Sean Slade(of Radiohead and Hole fame). He's not the only one listening - the duo has a slew of fans ranging from hardcore teen goths to 50-something intellectuals. "at every show we look out and the crowd totally spans the gamut," says Palmer. "It's bizarre and beautiful."