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Album Review

Starting the first song on Motorbaby's sophomore album, Rise, with the sound of a computer connecting to the Internet doesn't inspire confidence. The lyrics on "You Can't Download Me" — "You can't download a revolution/You can't download a revelation and you can't download me" — also seem a little silly and to come from out of nowhere, especially when compared with something like Melissa Lefton's catchy satire "My Hit Song." But Rise's beginning belies the rest of the album and the accomplished singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer who is Sharon Middendorf. Middendorf, an actress/model/musician who has been in videos by the Beastie Boys and Cheap Trick, recruited Cult drummer Lez Warner and Beggars & Thieves bassist Ronnie Mancuso for her band. For Rise, the group spent five years amassing a collection of sexy songs that recall U2 and the Stone Roses. Throughout, Motorbaby's glam rock sounds like Garbage more than anything and, at its best ("Fly Away"), Middendorf's singing rivals Shirley Manson's. On "So Surprised," Middendorf even shares vocals and songwriting credits with Kathy Valentine of the Go-Go's, which is undeniably cool.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Comprised of Sharon Middendorf on vocals and guitar, Ronnie Mancuso on bass, and Lez Warner on drums, the NYC trio Motorbaby mixes straight-ahead rock with trippy psychedelia. Middendorf was raised in Cleveland, OH, and started pursuing music at an early age after being encouraged by her mother and grandmother (both music teachers). Later on, she decided to relocate to New York City to make it as a musician. To support herself during these early, lean years, she became an extra in rock videos (on...
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Top Albums and Songs by Motorbaby

RISE, Motorbaby
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