WHO THEY ARE: The Red Hearts, led by singer-guitarist Lenny Pops, with bassist Danny C., drummer Erich von Tretbar and Farfisa organist Dan Collins.
HOW THEY ROCK: Inspired by ’70s-era punk, both American and British, the Red Hearts combine Clash-style rhythmic flair and Stoogey riffs with vox that brings to mind Richard Hell and a fucked-up Elvis Costello.
SEEING RED: Like many L.A.-based rockers, Lenny Pops has served time in the Brian Jonestown Massacre, and is the proud owner of a T-shirt that reads: I was in the BJM and all I got was this lousy T-shirt! Since moving to L.A. from Detroit 10 years ago, Pops has also been in Spectacle (with Moving Units’ Blake Miller), the Snakes, the Morlocks, and the Thieves — which later became the Red Hearts.
BLOODY GOOD: “Teenage angst has turned into full-blown adult angst,” quips Pops, the main songwriter. One listen to the Red Hearts’ recent single “More and Faster” (which came out in November on Mean Buzz Records), and you’ll know exactly what he means. Pops’ woozy rants punctuate hook-heavy, devil-may-care rock & roll altar call that is anything but lovey-dovey.
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TRUE FROMANCE: Don’t let Pops’ puffy ’do fool ya: He’s not jumping on the white-boy Afro bandwagon — he’s actually trying to jump off. “I grew it pretty damn big back in the late ’90s,” he says. “I look back at pictures, and I’m like, I wish somebody told me how big it was. I’m keeping it small these days.”
LOVE BANDITS: The band’s first incarnation, the Thieves, was forced to change its name, as a U.K. band already had dibs. (Those Thieves recently moved to L.A. as well!) Originally, Pops’ Thieves were a power trio, featuring two ladies, Nina Cole (drums) and Hethur Suval (bass). Pops says they had a raw, minimal sound, which has been revved up with the new band. “What was a four-cylinder is now a big, souped-up muscle car,” he says.
THINK PINK TOO: MySpace band hookups work! After meeting Nashville’s equally colorful Pink Spiders on the site, the Red Hearts signed with Mean Buzz Records, run by the Spiders’ Matt Friction.
BE THEIR VALENTINE: Saturday, February 17, at Safari Sam’s (with the Lords Of Altamont and the Love Me Nots); Friday, March 2, at the Knitting Factory (with the Power Chords and the Pop Machine).