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Posted at 12:43 PM ET, 09/30/2010

The Dance Party returns to Washington with a new album and tales of sex, drugs and rock-and-roll

By Alex Baldinger

The Dance Party returns to D.C. on Friday with a new album and wild stories of L.A. excess. (Michelle Musikantow)


After making it out to Los Angeles to record its full-length debut, D.C.'s the Dance Party took its power pop anthems and tested them at an unusual venue.

Once a month for about six months, the group set up shop at L.A.'s Crazy Girls and did a set as the strippers did theirs. The shows were such a hit that a promoter in the industry wanted to take it national.

"The girls were having fun, we were having fun, the audience was having fun, and that's what we're about, period," guitarist Kevin Bayly said in a phone interview before a television appearance in Park City, Utah. "It's not about a deeper message."

Naturally, things got a little wild, particularly on the night before the band headed off to play South by Southwest earlier this year.

"It was probably the craziest party I've ever seen," said frontman Mick Coogan. "It was really like 1980s excess, like Sodom and Gomorrah -- it was crazy. There was crazy stuff going on in that club."

Obviously, the band doesn't play down its hard-partying image -- it's also a theme that finds its way into its lyrics. But they are just as quick to take advantage of the professional opportunities afforded to a band on a major label imprint, Atlantic's Hell Ya! Records, in L.A.

Before the group ever set foot on Sunset Boulevard, Justin Hawkins, the singer and guitarist from the Darkness, was enlisted to work with them in a studio session on their first day in town. They later got the likes of Weezer bassist Scott Shriner and Toto keyboardist David Paich to lend their talents, among others.

The band members wrote more than 50 songs during their sessions and heavily re-worked the 10 demos that got them signed in the first place.

The resulting album, "Touch," was released this week. It is a straightforward synth-pop album with huge choruses, guitar solos and lyrics that are meant to incite, well, dance parties.

"We set out to write a pop record," said Coogan. "It's not indie rock, it's nothing like that. It's over-the-top pop music in just the way that we would do it."

It is their hope that the new songs and time spent honing their skills will translate into a much tighter live show, which will be on full display at a homecoming of sorts at the Rock & Roll Hotel on Friday.

"For a long time we had a band that would throw wild parties, but we couldn't play as well," said Coogan. "But the purpose of this tour, and the purpose of this next year, is hopefully we have songs, hopefully we have this great party vibe, but also that we're just going to be able to steamroll people from our live performance."

--Brandon Weigel

By Alex Baldinger  | September 30, 2010; 12:43 PM ET
Categories:  Music  
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