Cheap Cassettes “Ever Since Ever Since”

Holy smokes, my brothers and sisters and friends of the revolution, if you like good music, this record is gonna shock you with it’s Replacements like greatness. It is extraordinarily, mind bogglingly good. Reminds me, some, of that Sylvain song from the Dolls reunion record, “End Of The Summer” and the Generation X song, “Heaven’s Inside” and not just thematically, but his guitar playing has become somewhat spectacular, his singing’s been perfected, the songs themselves are beautiful, he’s become an all around fantastic entertainer over these past few decades, and I can say that to you as somebody who knew him briefly in our early twenties, when we shared many of the same influences, collaborators and even common experiences. I was writing about his early work in my personal memoirs, how I remember really digging a goth demo he did called “Tombstone Radio”, and then, seeing his Manic Street Preachers influenced band, A Streetcar Named Disaster, and then, appreciating the Dimestore Haloes song, “Hot Pink Stereo”. I have not kept up with his prolific discography in recent years ’cause I been otherwise involved, but honestly, man, oh man. It’s just so good. You like Paul Collins the Beat, or Candy, or Rick Springfield, Chris Isaak, or Material Issue? This album might become one of your very favorite records. He is eclipsing some of his own former influences, at this point. “Ever Since Ever Since” is undoubtedly one of the best power pop records I’ve heard in a long time. Sensational, uplifting, energizing, it’s what you want. “One Black Summer” reminds me of my whole youth, really, the bottles we emptied, basement shows, and girls we knew who wore a lot of makeup. I think the big, right now, solid platinum hit you need to hear most urgently is called, “Endless Summer Ends”. I’m an absolute fan club, total sucker for this stuff. Just dig this right now. I dunno about you, but I really love this. Also, he has a good sense of humor, and does not take life so dead seriously like I do, and in perilous, uncertain, tumultuous, oppressive and regressive times like these, I’ve come to really respect and sincerely appreciate his work. Vive le Cheap Cassettes! /JD Misfortune.

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Star Park “S/T” EP

If you’ve been following the glam trash glitter bubblegum and power pop subculture this zine celebrates for a long enough time, you might remember the O’Donnal Brothers, of Bang Bang Satellite fame, who always write catchy, memorable, and deeply heartfelt songs about smalltown melancholy and day job disappointments, modern heartbreak, and existential despair. If you’re a fan of moody, broken dreams pop songs ala Big Star, Badfinger, Beat Angels, or Gin Blossoms, you will undoubtedly appreciate their latest three hit songs. Their new guitarist is really golden, totally brings that poppy Ryan Roxie or Michael Brooks feel their melodic pop songs require. It’s a miracle whenever hardscrabble, blue collar people are able to find their way into a recording studio in this horrible pay to play world, nowadays. I am pleased to hear new music from these long enduring cult figures and at their usual standard of high-excellence. If you are hip to any of their old bands, like Ill-starred, Bang Bang Sattelite, A Streetcar Named Disaster or China Stars, you’re sure to love the latest tunes, from these weary old underground heroes. God bless ’em, if you’re into vintage glam or power pop, tell all your friends about STAR PARK. /Pepsi Sheen. 

Brad Marino “Extra Credit”

Following his EP “Four Track Attack”, BRAD MARINO (The CONNECTION) is back with a solo album on which he plays every instrument with a little help from his friend Kris Rodgers on keys/piano. Opening song “Broken Clocks” has a big RAMONES feel, and powerpop sweetly mixes with old-school rock’n’roll in “It’s Not Right”, “Don’t Do The Crime” or in “No One Else Tried It.” The 60s pop influences can especially be heard in “Wake Up Baby” or “Fit To Be Tied” and sunny hits like “C’Mon C’Mon C’Mon” and “Broken Record Baby” will stay in your head for the rest of the day after you’ve listened to them for the first time. You’ll even hear some country touches in “What Comes Naturally”, but punk rock is always around the corner (“From The Start”) and Brad doesn’t forget about the roots of rock’n’roll when he chooses to cover CHUCK BERRY‘s “Bye Bye Johnny”… “Extra Credit” is already in my top list of this year’s best powerpop albums. /Laurent C.

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Watts “All Done With Rock’n’Roll” EP

“All Done With Rock’n’Roll” opens this 4 song EP in a hooky way, reminding me of CHEAP TRICK. “Hi Definition” has a bit of AEROSMITH in it; a well written 70s hard rock song that will stay in your head after the first time you’ve listened to it!
If you need some high quality American rock’n’roll with sunny poppy backing vocals, then just listen to” Sunlight Alleys” before getting your hard rock’n’roll dose with “Tear It Up.”
These guys know how to keep a song simple and catchy, the way TOM PETTY used to do. Whether we call it rock’n’roll or not, this is great! /Laurent C.

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The Dirty Truckers “Tiger Stripes” EP

You can’t judge a book by its cover, and sometimes you can’t judge a band by its name! I was expecting some Southern rock here, and well, I’m not the biggest fan of that style. I was very wrong, ’cause these guys actually sound power pop, in the vein of The REPLACEMENTS (this EP was actually produced, recorded and mixed by Sir David Minehan of The NEIGHBORHOODS (REPLACEMENTS reunion/Paul Westerberg.) “Stranger In Disguise” and “Human Contact” sound like they could be played by every alternative rock radio in America, and “Feedback” already sounds like a classic!
These six songs will make you think of long drives across the US, and college heartbreak stories. You’ll also hear a bit of STONES in the catchy “Not That Into You”, and some SOUL ASYLUM in “Just Ran Away.”
Thank you Rum Bar Records for bringing us some fine American rock’n’roll again!/Laurent C.

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Tom Baker and The Snakes “Lookout Tower”

As soon as opening track “Gotta Find Her” starts, you know that you’re going to hear some good old American rock’n’roll on this record. Nevertheless, this is not a revivalist album, you’ll also get a modern powerpop touch on “Run It Out” and its fine guitar melodies, or on the poppy “Doll Eyes.” Songs like “Make It Hurt” or “Waitin’ For Nothing'” are on the edge of hard rock’n’roll, while “High N’ Tight” and “Satisfied Fool” both have some pretty cool STONES influences.
The REPLACEMENTS also seem to be an important band for TOM BAKER and The SNAKES, especially in the song writing and sense of melodies in a song like “Needle In The Red.”
“Maybe Come Back To Me” is very good at staying stuck in your head, just like a CHEAP TRICK song, and “Say Goodbye” closes this album in a melancholic way that makes you think that the band managed to release an album that already sounds like a classic.
“Lookout Tower” is out on March 31st, on Rum Bar Records, make sure you don’t miss it! /Laurent C.

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3 Parts Dead “Master” EP

3 new songs by Boston hard rockers 3 PARTS DEAD, from dark slow grungy heavy metal (“My Mistake”) to modern hard/sleaze rock (“Summer Of Sam”) and 70s boogie influenced drum beats (“The Mirror”.) The chorus in “The Mirror” also has a bit of a STONE TEMPLE PILOTS feel, and 3 PARTS DEAD shows us that being heavy doesn’t mean forgetting about the melodies, this is why the band can appeal to 80s/90s hard rock fans as well as people who are into heavier modern rock guitars.
Keep an eye on this band, ’cause they might be a future major hard rock name if they get lucky enough to get on tour and open for bigger bands… /Laurent C.
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