||The Beat Rats "Have Mersey!"
WOW!!! Have Mersey indeed! The long awaited followup to their 2009 Kool Kat debut "A Cellar Full Of Rats!" is finally here. Released in conjunction with Liverpool's Cavern Records, Frank, Paul, Tony, and Robert (a/k/a The Beat Rats) have returned with twelve more catchy, tongue-in-cheek-at-times, "Mersey"-inspired pop nuggets.
They take no prisoners and offer no apologies on their sophomore effort of 60's-inspired hook-filled gems that are guaranteed to have you dancing while you listen (though we don't recommend this if you're listening in your car). Close your eyes and you'll swear you're listening to a band covering obscure songs from the heyday of Merseybeat from bands like The Merseybeats, The Swinging Blue Jeans, The Big Three, et al.
"Echoing their influences of The Beatles into their music, there is a fresh vibe around the band as they deliver their brand of punk and rock infusion. A tight knit group of raw but composed musicians, their rhythms are sweet and their style is superb. They are ripping up the past and taking it to the future!" - SoundofVinyl.com
"They have a fair whiff of old Mersey and R&B-informed beat. The confident, rasping vocals and blues-twang guitars form part of a fully-charged battery that includes familiar riffs and chords, propelled by thumping bass and drums. Full of fine blasts of modern day garage-pop snazz. Strong surging rhythms decorated with appealing dynamics are also use to emphasize a less raucous, but still nonetheless livewire approach." - Shindig! Magazine
"The Rats beat out Merseybeat meets the Ramone-like tunes. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! We make no apologies for gushing about this band. We absolutely love them, we love their music, we love their gigs..." - Mintyndthebeeb.blogspot.com
The entire record is a Merseybeat/Beatles trainspotter's delight (we'll leave the comparisons up to you) that will appeal to not only fans of 60's music but also some of the other modern interpreters like The Kaisers! Love it, love it, love it!
||Various Artists "Dana & Carl Present: This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio Volume 3 + bonus disc"
THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO with Dana Bonn & Carl Cafarelli began its little mutant life on January 15th, 1992 and, like the Energizer Bunny, it's "still going" in 2013!
Carl explains "We call it a power pop show,but we mix in some Sex Pistols, Isley Brothers, Toots & the Maytals, Lucinda Williams, Velvet Underground, Al Green, and Elvis Presley alongwith your Pezband, Raspberries, Shoes, and Flamin' Groovies, 'cause it's ALL pop music anyway, right? There is a format in there somewhere, born of the giddy splendor of the golden age of AM Top 40 merging with left-of-the-dial buzz 'n' fuzz."
This 29 track collection contains a mix of rare or first-time-on-CD tracks by 80's artists like Blotto and their re-write of their own "I Wanna Be A Lifeguard" that existed only in lo-fi bootleg form, The Tearjerkers, and Mad Monster Party (fronted by Gwynne Kelly, a founding member of The Pandoras and later a member of The Negro Problem). Included are exclusive tracks from Michael Carpenter, Eytan Mirsky, Greg Yetti & The Best Lights, Steve Stoeckel & his TIRR All-Stars, Sex Clark 5, and Sounds like Digging. Others participating include Chris Von Sneidern, Lisa Mychols, Stephen Lawrenson, Mannix, The Connection, Kurt Baker, Gary Frenay, Uncle Green, Sun Sawed In 1/2, Lannie Flowers, Anni Celsi, The Richards, Hawaii Mud Bombers, The Catholic Girls, Ronnie Dark, and The Popdudes.
COMES WITH AN EXCLUSIVE 13 TRACK BONUS DISC FEATURING MOSTLY RARE/UNRELEASED TRACKS BY STEVE STOECKEL, THE FLASHCUBES, THE SUN SAWED IN 1/2, STEPHEN LAWRENSON, MAD MONSTER PARTY, ANNYLAND (Anny Celsi), SEX CLARK 5, JOE MANNIX, RONNIE DARK, SOUNDS LIKE DIGGING, THE CLICK BEETLES, GREGG YETI & THE BEST LIGHTS, AND THE TWEAKERS!
||The Bottle Kids "Such a Thrill"
The Bottle Kids are the most recent recorded effort by singer/songwriter/guitarist Eric Blakley. Most recently heard on Paul Collins' "King Of Power Pop" album on lead guitar and background vocals, he spent the better part of 2012 in his Austn, TX studio concocting "Such A Thrill". He played all the instruments, recorded and produced the album entirely by himself. The result is a record that definitely has a late 70's/early 80's vibe to it. To our ears, the record sounds like what would happen if The Plimsouls, The Knack, and Paul Collins' Beat all got together. All good things in our book!
"He scores home run after home run on this record, which rates high on the scale as one of the greatest debut albums to sail down the street in many moons. Spirited pop rock, dripping with vintage vestiges in the vein of the Nerves, Paul Collins and Doug Derek and the Hoax are the order of the day here. Despite flaunting an affinity for old school sounds, these 'Kids' are by no means a retro act.
The songwriting is inventive, the arrangements are fresh and the themes are universal, resulting in the kind of fare that will always remain relevant. A funky swagger bleeds through 'Kissing You' and 'Where Is Sara Tonight' hops and bops to a giddy new wave gait circled by contemporary designs. Spurred by punchy drumming and rushing rhythms, 'Yes You Can' rocks with passion and intent, while 'I’m In Love With You' wheels in as a touching ballad, and the title cut spins and soars with lively instrumentation and wicked breaks. Peppered with soul and style, 'Wave Goodbye (There She Goes)' is another top-notch ditty, along with the moody bluesy janglefest of 'The Most Beautiful Girl In The World'. 'Careful What You Wish For' and 'Every Single Teardrop Is A Tidal Wave' bristle and bubble with classic power pop movements. Overflowing with never to be forgotten hooks and melodies, the record sparkles consistently." - Beverly Paterson
"They're a 2013 act but have an old school power pop feel. There are a lot of parallels to Collins' sound here, as well as The Rubinoos and The Plimsouls, especially in skinny-tie power pop-sounding tracks like 'Kissing You' ('who's k-k-kissing you?'), 'Yes You Can' and the title track. Blakley does like to mix it up a bit, though - 'I'm in Love With You' is an epic power (pop) ballad that's George-Harrison-meets-Eric-Carmen, and 'The Most Beautiful Girl in the World' is jangly, Red Button-style 60's pop. But it's the rave-ups that dominate, and be careful, because the chorus of 'Careful What You Wish For' will get stuck in your hand, and 'Clap On' finds him singing the lyrics as fast as guy from Reunion's 'Life Is A Rock'. Everything old is new again." - AbsolutePowerpop.com
Ain't nothin' wrong with that!
||Keith LuBrant "Who I Am"
Over the years, Keith's been praised for his ability to blend of power pop and rock and roll filled with pop sensibility and classic influences. So one day in December, Keith calls Kool Kat HQ and says "Hey, my new record's ready, but I gotta warn you though, I had to get the inner guitar hero out of me on this one, so there's lots of guitars on it." Like that's ever been a problem with records we feature here! We certainly don't mind Keith, it's "who you are". And who Keith is also still a master of pop hooks, so he can bring his entire arsenal of guitars if he wants!
"It's a testament to the musician that is Keith LuBrant. Seemingly effortless, he blends classic rock, power pop and other influences together into songs that are well written, performed with honesty and have the ability to resonate with people who prefer different genres and influences. Nothing is overdone, nothing is underdone, it’s all right there. He doesn’t hide behind fancy productions or other bells and whistles." - InnerEarMedia.com
"He's back like clockwork (sic), having last entertained us six years ago with 'Searching for Signal' and releasing his debut album six years before that. Like his first two albums, this also features catchy, no-frills power pop but with a bit more emphasis on the guitar sound this time around. The pulsing rocker 'Wide Awake and Alive' comes roaring out of the gate as he announces his return with a declarative statement about playing music he loves, and 'She Always Finds a Way' shows his mastery of the power pop form with crunchy guitars and a sing-along chorus. Elsewhere, 'Call Off the Search' recalls vintage Gin Blossoms, the midtempo 'Breathe' boasts an easy melody and some fine guitar work, and the agreeable rocker 'Stranger in My Skin' nods to the guitar riff of The Who's 'Baba O'Riley' in its chorus. He sounds like he's never been away, and he'll probably sound that way when his next album comes out in 2019." - Absolutepowerpop.com
COMES WITH AN EXCLUSIVE BONUS DISC - "WHO'S DEMOS" - FEATURING FOUR TRACKS NOT ON "WHO I AM" - "GREAT TIME FOR THE CRASH" (DEMO), "ALL DAY AND ALL OF THE NIGHT" (KINKS COVER), "CAN YOU TELL ME WHY", AND "IF I FALL"!
||Stephen Lawrenson "Obscuriousity"
WOW!! Stephen makes quite a pop splash here on his 2013 Kool Kat debut! And to drive home this point, the crack "Pop Squad" of Kool Kat insiders/contributors cheerfully chime in!
"Playing every note on the record, he proudly wears his pop influences on his sleeve. Tell me 'Small White House" wouldn't pass for a Brian Wilson-penned song. His inner Jeff Lynne pops up on both 'Pale Yellow' and the 12-string laced 'Words To Say'." - Count Keef
"It's intelligent, well written, and completely catchy. Awesome, just awesome power pop, with loads of great hooks, melodies and harmonies. It rocks. It moves you. A masterful malange of 60's, 70's, and 80's guitar rock mixed and matched with no concern for the namecheck. That's how good this is. Five stars isn't enough. Six, maybe!" - MR Gomez
"What do you think would happen if you threw The Goldbergs, The Beatles, Three Hour Tour, Teenage Fanclub (in their fuzzy period), Big Star, The Posies (circa 'Frosting On The Beater'), 'Pet Sounds' period Brian Wilson, and the Electric Light Orchestra into a giant pop blender? You'd get Stephen Lawrenson, that's what!" - Max Humphries
"Hey, this is a great album. His best so far. He's a more psychedelic Seth Swirsky." - Tom Greuling
Well guys, you've summed Stephen up quite nicely we must say!
||The Pencils "Anthology" + bonus disc
80's BRIT-POP ALERT!! I became aware of The Pencils in 1982 when reading a review of their debut single “Watching The Tears” in the New Musical Express. To this day, I can’t remember if it was because the review was positive, or if the negative references intrigued me, but either way I made sure that I promptly ordered a copy.
Upon first listen (and reinforced by repeated spins of both sides of the record) I was instantly hooked, and scoured any source of information available to learn of any subsequent releases. Sadly, they only managed to release two more (great) singles before splitting up in early 1983. Being the completist that I am when I fall hard for a band, I managed to get in contact with Derek Nicol, the band’s former manager, early in the summer of 1983. I was told that the band had indeed recorded a full-length album that was never released. As fate would have it, I was able to travel to London later that summer, and arranged to meet Derek at a pub in the West End where he presented me (as “the Pencils’ biggest fan in America”) with a cassette copy of the unreleased album. I can’t tell you how many times that cassette was re-copied over the years because I played it so much and was afraid of losing it forever. 25 years pass, it's 2008 and I contact Derek Nicol again.
This time I was looking into the possibility of releasing the Pencils’ album on Kool Kat, and wanted to get from him any leads for the master tapes, licensing, etc. His response was that he didn’t have the tapes, had no info on how to obtain them, and that they were “probably in a studio somewhere in Germany”. Subsequent internet searches failed to proiduce any other info on the band. In the Spring of 2012 I decided to have another go at it. And I’m sure glad I did. This time, a Myspace page was there to be discovered – and what a discovery was to be had. Turns out the Pencils album HAD been released – in Germany on a label called X Records – back in 1983! I immediately got in touch with “lead” Pencil Den Pugsley who revealed that only several months earlier he first learned of the album’s existence and was therefore very keen to finally give it the deluxe CD treatment.
So, to make a long story short, here it is, 29 years in the making - “The Pencils Anthology” – a 2CD set that in so many ways sums up the passion and persistence for the music I love. I can’t tell you what a thrill it is to be involved, and how proud I am of what will give once and for all, The Pencils their deserved place on the “pop map”. Disc one contains all 12 recordings made in Frankfurt for their 1984 album release, including the three singles, a non-LP B-side, and a live track from the BBC Paris Theatre, recorded in July 1981. Disc two rounds up 14 other songs, many of which featured in their set-list back in the early 1980's. If you're a fan of Squeeze, The Kinks, The Pinkees, The Romantics, Elvis Costello, and Sire Records-peiod Searchers, then you're gonna LOVE this!
COMES WITH AN EXCLUSIVE BONUS DISC - "EARLY SKETCHES" - AN 8-SONG COLLECTION OF EARLY "HOME DEMOS" RECORDED BY THE BAND IN 1981.
||The Honeymoon Stallions "Moonlighting" EXCLUSIVE CDR RELEASE!!
GOLDBERGS ALERT!!!! Brand new project from Andy Goldberg (aka The Goldbergs)! No matter what name Andy trades under (Sun Kings, Goldbergs), the results are always the same - Beatle-ish power pop of the highest order!
Previously a download-only release, this is a manufactured on-demand CDR. "The Stallions gallop out of the gate with the opener 'If It Wasn’t For You', a terrific melody with a layer of organ under the guitar riffs. 'Radio Song' has a touch of Nick Lowe with its solid hooks. 'Driftin’' is a slightly mellower Andy, similar to Jeff Larson's bluesy mid-tempo jangle pop. This newer texture continues on 'By The Moon…' and the Beatles bounce with Harrison-styled slide guitar surfaces on 'Every Now and Then.' Every song is strong here, and its on par with his previous albums.
Overall, a welcome autumn present for lovers of great guitar pop." - Powerpopaholic.com
"Top-notch power pop. Hearing 'If It Wasn't for You' will be putting on an old pair of slippers as he makes the melodies sound easy, and if this were 1975 'Radio Song' would actually be on the radio. Meanwhile, the piano-based 'Every Now & Then' conjures memories of Badfinger and 'A Little Love Tonight' closes the album on a real high with perhaps his catchiest number to date. There are a few stylistic detours here which mostly work as well - 'Gonna Fall in Love' is bluesy power pop, 'By the Moon..' is almost a torch song, and 'Driftin' is janglier than normal for him. Add it all up, and you have a triumphant return for one of the top power poppers of the last 6-7 years." - Absolutepowerpop.com
||True Hearts "True Hearts"
80's POWER POP ALERT!!!! MAJOR props must go out to IPO's David Bash for putting Terry Carolan of True Hearts in touch with us! Formed in 1979 in Houston, Texas, True Hearts were a melodic rock band with a distinct pop edge, due to Terry's songwriting. The original name of the group was The Flirt. The band was formed with the intent to be an original music group, using Carolan's tunes as the foundation, and they came out of the gate with a strong set of tunes.
With the original lineup, the band trekked to Tampa, Florida and recorded an album's worth of material. The intention was to release the full album, but they released a four song EP instead in 1980. Released regionally, it was used mostly for promotional purposes and sent to record labels in hopes of getting signed. The band broke up in early 1982. Terry explains further "In 1977, Audities co-founder Gary Littleton and I started Counterfeit Records to release a single by Just Boys. We also released the True Hearts EP consisting of songs that were taken from an album that was never released - until now!
If you like pop-rock that has similarities to Pezband, Artful Dodger, Off Broadway, Cheap Trick and an occasional tinge of Raspberries ('Starting Over' era), you may enjoy the album. Gary would absolutely approve!" You nailed it Terry!
"This album is truly an unreleased power pop classic in the tradition of the Raspberries, Badfinger and Glen Matlock’s Rich Kids. In other words, tunes that rock with memorable melodies, guitar riffs to die for as well as a couple of keyboard ballads for the band to show off their softer side and touch your heart with love and tenderness. It's an album that should have been heard by the masses on radio stations everywhere, and in a perfect world it would’ve been had it been released at the time." - Dennis Dalcin/Bucketfull Of Brains
"An excellent power pop band who, like many other equally talented bands, never got the chance they deserved back in the day. Thankfully, Kool Kat has wrested this fine album from the jaws of obscurity, and it deserves to claim a spot on the shelves of any fan of the genre!" - David Bash/IPO
||Ulysses "Everybody's Strange" (Special Edition) EXCLUSIVE CDR RELEASE!!
Previously a download-only release, this is a manufactured on-demand CDR, that tacks on four, non-CD tracks, making this a 15-track, "special edition" - "Two Different Things", "Searching", "Feeling Evil", and "I'm On Fire"!
These 70's fetishists from Bath, England are on a mission to revive glam, mixing cheesy, infectious pop with kick-ass guitar solos! They even look the part, all beards and Jeff Lynne curls. But the period fetishism is really kept to the music, which is Darkness-style meta-metal with some of the tricksiness and tempo changes of another of their favourite 70s bands, 10cc – think a more stylised, 70s-obsessed Supergrass or Super Furry Animals.
"We're a glam band influenced by Thin Lizzy," they say. " That means pop songs with a rock attitude and kick-ass guitar solos. We're not embarrassed to love rock. Thin Lizzy and Alice Cooper were a revelation. Having grown up thinking they were just 'bad metal' it was incredible to discover the depth to what they'd done." As for guitar solos, they wonder, "Shouldn't they kick a song into outer space?" For Ulysses, the 70s "is our natural home – it's the ultimate decade."
"They are a band rather fond of the stomping beats of the Chinnichap era, the 'hey!'s and handclaps of the Sweet, Suzi Quatro, the Glitter Band et al. They are like a harder, more metal Denim: Denim meet the Darkness, if you will." - The Guardian
"Oh goody, I've been waiting for this ever since I first supped their brew of melodic, psychedelic glam from a goblet of mainstream pop-rock early last year. They stole the show that night with the eye-catching Bolanesque locks and threads of frontman Luke Smyth and the sensational Bonhamesque (I kid ye not) drumming of Shane Maxymus. I've seen them thrice since and they've upped the bar each time. Their debut comes close to capturing the considerable verve and dynamism of the live act, its clean, phazy, bang-up-to-the-minute sound letting the songwriting, musicianship and harmonies shine (the minute in question just happens to be from 1974)." - Shindig! Magazine
A fun-filled, rockin' stroll down memory lane for sure!
||The Brotherhood Of Lizards "Lizardland" (Expanded) EXCLUSIVE CDR RELEASE!!
Originally released in 1989, and recorded by Martin Newell (Cleaners From Venus) and bassist/multi-instrumentalist Peter Nelson, their (brilliant) sole release is back and better than ever (including 7 rare/previously unreleased tracks that appeared on an extremely rare, promotion-only cassette, and is now on the Kool Kat label)!
"Dedicated Anglophiles' search for the quintessential British pop album need look no further. Recorded a step or two up from the Cleaners' rustic four-track catalog, this is soaked through with the cozy ambience of merry olde England, summoning up images of teatime, gardens and 'misty chimneys smoking in the rain' via charming, chiming guitar pop with nods to obvious forefathers like the Beatles and Kinks, as well as later practitioners such as XTC. The delightful 'The Happening Guy' has ba-ba-ba backing vocals straight out the '60s hit parade, while 'The World Strikes One' is filled with sharp observations about ordinary folks, in the manner of Ray Davies. More of the same is available on the witty 'Love the Anglican Way' and 'Market Day,' and there's even a droning number, 'Rusty Iron Sun,' that recalls great faux-Indian moments like 'Norwegian Wood' and 'Fancy.'" - AllMusic.com
"Psychedelic pop that embodies the best elements of the early/mid 80's neo-psychedelia: jangly guitars, 60's harmonies, upbeat melodies à la XTC/Dukes of Stratosphear with a subtle melancholy." - Loveinspurtsblogspot.com
"Bridges the gap between the Cleaners' bare-bones jangle and the more baroque sound of Newell's first solo album, 'The Greatest Living Englishman'. Nelson's influence is immediately noticeable in the use of mandolin and glockenspiel on several tracks, and Newell's songwriting is sharp and consistent. Pastoral psychedelia is the order for the day on many of the tracks, including the excellent opener 'It Could Have Been Cheryl'. 'The Dandelion Marine' and 'Sand Dragon' are other are also excellent soft-psych songs, but upbeat pop numbers like 'She Dreamed She Could Fly' and 'The Happening Guy' provide some good variety. 'Market Day', with its lilting melody and mandolin riffs, is one of my favorites. Like Newell's best songs, it revels in its English-ness, and he harmonizes with himself beautifully on the chorus." - Wiresandwaves.com
Bonus track listing: "On Planets Where I Was Young", "Carmosine", "In Fireglow", "April Moon", "Hey Hey Hey We're The Brotherhood Of Lizards", "Tinny Rain", "The Radiant Boy", and "Duck House"!
||Dan Kibler "Dan Kibler" + bonus disc
Dan's jangly and twangly (with some pedal steel flourishes sprinkled about), self-titled Kool Kat debut was co-produced by Michael Giblin (Cherry Twister/Parallex Project). Michael also plays bass and keyboards on the record. The record merges a pop/alternative air with traditional, straight from the heart, no chaser, country heartbreak. It's masterful, and it's original. This guitar-entwined, roots pop at its finest folks!
Dan is capable of taking a simple melody and infusing his heart felt lyrics with bite. Timeless sounds abound here, driven by Dan's gorgeously rough-hewn vocals, the thousand pound chops of the guitar-wielding Dan and John Fritchey, and the classy rhythm section of Giblin and Tony Melchoirre.
"The razor sharp pop that forms the backdrop for his melancholy musings lingered for weeks after the first listen!" - Music Reviews Quarterly
"His twin gifts are his hickory-smoked vocals and songwriting perched smartly inbetween introspection and sing-along popcraft." - Option Magazine
"His music is rootsy as hell, but without any real or imagined Southern accent." - MOJO Magazine
"I believe than Dan is a great creative talent who seems to get better with age. His thing is intense emotion, and he channels it through a great voice that gives his songs such texture. He lets you hear it in the way he can sing with a cracked, angelic grace over waves of guitar electricity, all nicely played with conviction by a great, backing band!" - Max Humphries
Includes an extremely cool cover of The Zombies' "I Can't Make Up My Mind"!
COMES WITH AN EXCLUSIVE 9-SONG BONUS DISC - "WHAT'LL IT BE: A DAN KIBLER MIXTAPE" - COMPILED BY DAN HIMSELF - FEATURING TRACKS FROM HIS TWO OUT-OF-PRINT BIG DEAL RECORDS RELEASES ("CAPSULE" AND "HAUNTED") AND HIS "FOREVERAGO" RELEASE!
||The Riffbrokers "Music From Big Yella" EXCLUSIVE CDR RELEASE!!
This pairs The Riffbrokers' latest 5-song EP "The Green Key Will Let You In" with 7 additional, previously unreleased tracks! The original EP tracks are a thought-provoking dessert served less than a year after the Seattle band's critically praised 2011 full-course, "Every Pilot's Blinded By The Sun", hit the shelves. Produced by the group's longtime comrade Johnny Sangster, "Green Key" marks the introduction of former Evangeline and Low Land High guitarist Chris Cline into the Riffbrokers camp. His distinctive, melodic guitar stylings punctuate frontman Nick Millward's gritty vocals throughout the EP's tracks, while Barb Hunter (Visqueen) places her haunting cello in the center of "Cowboy Film." Yes, haunting. "Green Key" proves to be a spell-casting departure, a contemplative diversion from the Americana-based power-pop the Riffbrokers are better known for. However, the band re-embraces their signature - in spades - with the EP's blistering and appropriately titled finale, "Reentry."
"Featuring more of the Petty/Replacements-style rock we've come to know and love over the years, the record features several strong tracks including the opener 'Around Too Long' and the closing rave-up 'Re-Entry'. But its the contemplative middle that makes this a special release; 'An Extra in a Cowboy Film' and 'The Green Key Will Let You In' show that it's not all loud guitars and heartland rock with these guys." -Absolutepowerpop.com
BONUS TRACK LISTING: "Bride 1945" (Paul Siebel cover), "The Late John Garfield Blues" (John Prine cover), The Bells (Reigning Sound cover), "Leaning On The Everlasting Arms" (cover of an 1880's period hymn), "The Green Key Will Let You In" (demo), Rubber And Glue" (demo), and "Bitter Angels" (demo)!
Michael Mazzarella's first venture in a long history of recorded output began with the Broken Hearts in Hartford, CT. Defying the practice (and necessity) of the day by refusing to be a cover band, they built an impressive backlog of originals which helped establish an "original scene" in Hartford. In 1985, after much radio exposure, some TV, and a lot of live gigs, they recorded their only album "Want One?". Since then, Michael's name and reputation have risen to cult status through his singing, songwriting and producing. His next band, The Rooks, were established in 1994 and released their self-titled debut. Their signature song "Reasons" stood aside some of the genre's best loved artists like Matthew Sweet, The Posies, Redd Kross and Jellyfish on Rhino Records' definitive power pop compilation "Poptopia! Power Pop Classics of the 90s"! After The Rooks split in 2005, Michael continued to deliver solid material without retracing his steps, but always with an eye and ear to capturing melodic sounds and scope in excellence and maturity.
With an ever-growing song catalog and three solo albums under his belt, his next album "Love In Laureltide Green" is finished and scheduled for an early 2012 release. This 4-CDR "Songwriter" collection represents all of Michael's released material to date, covering his songs with The Broken Hearts, The Rooks and solo albums. The discs were purposely not sequenced in order but, as varied compilations to showcase his consistent and different (yet compatible) styles as a songwriter. Here is your chance to get Michael's entire catalog at a great price! PLUS, we are offering a BONUS DISC of 21 previously unreleased demos, many of which were written either for The Rooks ("Christine Obscene", "Shine Your Light On Me", "To Tell The Truth", "Crimson Girl") while others ("Save Me Baby", "Out Of The Rain And The Thunder", "Metropolis Mine", "We're Gonna Move") were written for Michael's current band Sonic Blue Sound Revue. "
From start to finish, almost no comparisons can be drawn to anything else ever done. His music has a timeless, craftsman-like quality - his somewhat cerebral and almost bizarre pop seems deserving of it's own genre." - All Music Guide "He has penned some of the most beautiful and frank songs this side of John Lennon."- David Bash For fans of melody, harmony and lyrical twists, this is a terrific collection!
|The Cleaners From Venus "In
Chimp World" EXCLUSIVE CDR RELEASE!!
Previously a 4-song download-only EP, "In Chimp World" has been expanded to include 7 previously unreleased tracks - ONLY AVAILABLE ON THIS RELEASE! Martin Newell explains "This 'album' came about almost by accident. Sometimes I'll go and make an album with a definite theme to it. Other times, I'll be on a rolling recording programme, eventually ceasing work at a certain point to declare the project finished. In this case, neither of these methods applied. This collection of songs was done almost absent-mindedly, just because Dave Allen and I thought we should be recording. In the end, I decided to go the 'Magical Mystery Tour' route: that is, to leave 'Chimp World' as an EP in the UK and then let the Americans have it as an album. It's a funny thing, but to me now, one or two of the songs actually do sound a little American: 'Good Morning Mr Jenkins' for instance – and 'I Wanna Stay In'. Maybe this is what was meant to happen. It still sounds like the Cleaners From Venus." It sure does!
"Picking up right where 'English Electric' left off, once again the production is simple, built around Martin's graceful, plangent acoustic guitar work, with just a touch of electric 12-string jangle or playful parlour piano and the tofu equivalent of real drums. Martin himself calls this as 'an album of inspired demos,' and that’s a perfect description! The distinctive chord changes that Cleaners/Newell fanatics constantly ring for again ring loud and clear on a collection of songs that just might be even better than his previous one. They’re filled with addictive melodies, references to such everyday charms as shop windows, and very English vocals and song titles like 'The Shadows and Me' and 'Bloody Tuesday'. He suggests that 'Good Morning, Mr. Jenkins' and 'I Wanna Stay In' 'sound a little American,' and maybe they do. But one thing’s for sure: as long as he keeps coming up with wonderful tunes like these, he will remain North Essex’s Greatest Living Englishman as far as passionate fans in the U.K., U.S., Far East and everywhere else are concerned!" - Baron Saturday Spot on, as always Baron! We'll take a new one from Martin or The Cleaners any day!
|The Modulators "Tomorrow's
Coming" EXCLUSIVE! CDR RELEASE!
Major, major kudos and thanks must first go out to IPO's David Bash for turning us on to and putting us in contact with this 80's New Jersey band that totally escaped us "back in the day"! In conjunction with the group, this is the official reissue of their now incredibly rare 1984 LP, and bolstered with 3 non-LP bonus tracks taken from singles and EP's - representing their entire recorded output. Jangle, jangle, jangle is the order of the day here on this pop-drenched gem folks! The hook-filled songwriting and vocal harmonies are also first rate throughout. If you didn't know better, you might think they were from the UK (there are some very strong period indie Brit-Pop influences on display here) or even the Midwest (Marshall Crenshaw and the Shoes immediately come to mind).
The Merseybeat influences are definitely present throughout. They even cover Bob Dylan's "My Back Pages"! "Songs like 'Spin Me Around' and 'She's So Cynical' are the type that keep running through your head long after the last chords have been struck and last notes sung. They've delivered a fantastic set of vintage powerpop! Sometimes the old ones are the best – they had no need for any gadgets and technology. They just play, simple as that and it works really, really well." - Minty and the Beeb Go Gigging "Though it was a well-kept secret to anyone outside of Northern New Jersey, The Modulators were one of the finest practitioners of power pop in the Garden State. During their heyday in the early to mid '80s, they released several 45s and one LP of perfectly crafted, hooky tunes, and you'll be able to hear them for yourself on this fine reissue. The story does not end there, folks;
The Modulators are still going strong, as their live gigs in New York, New Jersey and Liverpool (at The Cavern Club!!!) would attest. File under: Get This CD, NOW!" - David Bash/IPO Nice one David! Solid from start to finish!
|John Wicks "Lessons Learned
(Live & Unplugged)" (DVD)
Kool Kat's first-ever DVD release captures John Wicks of The Records and guitarist Dennis Taylor in a very special unplugged setting! The perfomance was recorded at McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, CA on August 20, 2010. John explains - "Having amassed a wealth of new material over the years, but having devoted a great deal of time to my band projects, I was especially pleased to have the opportunity to showcase some of my acoustic songs. Performing them in such an intimate setting was a highly satisfying and enjoyable experience for me, and one that I hope to repeat more often in the future. Thank you so much for watching and listening!" Track listing: "Her Stars Are My Stars", "The Sun Sets Over London Town", "Lay Your Burden On Me", "He's Gone", "Things We Said Today"/"Bus Stop" (Beatles/Hollies covers), "Learning To Live Again", "Come on Round", "Sink or Swim", and "Starry Eyes".
|The Genuine Fakes "The
Genuine Fakes" + bonus disc WOW!!!
The Genuine Fakes are four guys from Sweden who share a love of skinny ties, moustaches, classic power pop (in the truest sense),and 90s indie-rock. Formed in 2005 by singer/songwriter Johan Bergqvist, bassist Mårten Bengtsson, and drummer Johan Sundin, in 2007 keyboardist Tommy Wassgren joined. Notable influences proudly on display are Popsicle, Fountains of Wayne, The Posies, Jellyfish and Cheap Trick. Not a weak one in the bunch! One influence you would never expect to see here though is Beyonce Knowles, as The Genuine Fakes give her 'Irreplaceable' track a complete makeover!
Their full-length debut has been a digital-only release, until now! And the critics are already gushing about it! "Around about a decade ago it seemed like not a week would go by without discovering a new band like Fuzzbubble, The Tories or Sugerbomb or solo artist like Will Owsley and every one of their albums would go on to become classics of the genre. Taking more than just a page out of that chapter of the book of power pop then come The Genuine Fakes. Between all of the guys who make up the band they manage to somehow cover all the points of reference just made whilst also adding in their own dash of genuine fakery to the mix to give you an antidote to the winter blues. 'The Genuine Fakes' kicks off the album in classic 'just under one minute opening titles track' style, for the TV show we'd all love to see, followed by a nine song set of self penned tracks that sets the bar of European power pop excellence about as high as it can possibly go. Track's like 'Cmon Linda', 'Something New' and I Don't Want It' are your new musical best friends that you've yet to meet, whilst 'Star' and 'Mindset' are the hit singles the band so richly deserve. Wait. ...scratch that...EVERY TRACK here should be a hit single, as this is as near to musical perfection as you'll get." - Uberrock.co.uk "My kind of music. Big time. Melodic and loud power pop. Powerful chords, catchy-as-hell songs, killer hooks, gorgeous singing and harmonies. That’s what I love to hear. However, I’ve also consumed a huge amoung of power pop during the last 15 years and therefore at this point only great power pop will do. Thankfully this is a non-issue for The Genuine Fakes, because this is indeed fantastic pop music and easily able to find the core of my heart" - OneChordToAnother.com "They have created something which fuses that love of The Posies with Fountains of Wayne and a touch of Weezer, ensuring a listen which is not short on memorable hooks. " - RealGoneRocks.blogspot.com COMES WITH AN EXCLUSIVE 5-SONG BONUS DISC OF PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED TRACKS!! JUST ADD TO YOUR SHOPPING CART!
|The Cleaners From Venus
"English Electric" + bonus disc EXCLUSIVE CDR RELEASE!
The first album for some years by the unique Cleaners from Venus, the 1980s d.i.y. pop phenomenon. The invention of the English musician and writer, Martin Newell, The Cleaners main currency was songwriting of an unusually high standard. The songs were often recorded in domestic environments using basic equipment and mid-60's production values. The results over long years have slowly built Newell and the Cleaners a substantial following.
Because of much renewed interest, Martin went back into the studio, and using his old methods, made "English Electric" - which many are saying is probably his best album since 1993's "The Greatest Living Englishman"! "On 'English Electric', Martin Newell hasn’t reunited the Cleaners from Venus band but revived the brand. It’s a valid decision since, even working on his own, he’s made his way back home again 'to when I was young and meant to be a star', as he sings on the title track. One listen to those captivating chord changes – so uniquely his own, and enriched more frequently here than on his past few solo records with chiming Rickenbacker – and there’s no question that this is his most immediately engaging and consistently catchy collection in quite some time.
There are at least a few songs here worthy of 'Golden Cleaners' stature, like vibrant opener 'Wake Up and Dream' and toe-tapper 'Sunken City'. And with 'Ghost of Jenni Rainbyrd,' he has created another intriguing femme fatale to stand proudly beside the likes of 'Julie Profumo' and 'A Mercury Girl'. Nicely done, dear fellow!" - Baron Saturday COMES WITH AN EXCLUSIVE 14-SONG BONUS DISC - "THE STOPPING TRAIN". JUST ADD IT TO YOUR SHOPPING CART!!
|Various Artists - A Kool Kat Kristmas
When was the last time a great pop Holiday record! With contributions from both artists currently or soon to be on Kool Kat, this quite possibly be just what the pop masses ordered! This 12-song Holiday Pop Fest features contributions from Maple Mars, The Smith Brothers, The Goldbergs, Parallax Project, William Duke, Keith LuBrant, Frank Royster, The Britannicas, The Strand, John Wicks, and The Sun Kings!
$5 FROM EVERY CD SOLD WILL BE DONATED TO THE SUSAN GIBLIN FOUNDATION: The late wife of Mike Giblin of Parallax Project, Susan Kroah Giblin held degrees both as a Paralegal and as a Certified Veterinary Technician, a degree that she obtained after going back to school at the age of 35. As one of Central PA's greatest friends to cast-off and wayward animals, she was a 17 year volunteer at the Helen O. Krause Animal Foundation, and served as its medical coordinator for nearly a decade. She also maintained a fostering room in her home which was rarely empty, and was well-known for her compassion, empathy, and personal connection with both patients and their owners. The Susan Giblin Foundation for Animal Wellness and Welfare was formed to honor the memory and continue the work of Susan Giblin, a Certified Veterinary Technician and noted animal advocate, who passed away from leukemia at the age of 46.
The Foundation's mission is to raise and dispense funds to support animal caregiving organizations, to foster awareness and education of complementary therapies, and to support the continued education of those in the animal medical field. We sincerely hope this this goes well, we're already planning "Volume 2"! GREAT MUSIC FOR A GREAT CAUSE!!!!!
|Blank Pages - Absolute Uncertainty
The latest release (and Kool Kat debut) from these New Jersey’s power pop veterans. Their fourth collection continues their tradition of irresistible hooks and memorable melodies. Their sound blends and wide variety of pop references ranging from the old school (Big Star, Beatles and Raspberries) to the modern power pop purveyors like Jason Falkner, Mike Viola and Sloan. Lead singer, guitarist and songwriter Greg Potter turns in another batch of songs full of earnest lyrics and memorable hooks. More than your average pop tunesmith, Potter’s tunes have depth and inventive changes that keep you coming back for more.
From the straightforward pop-rock of the album opener “Let it All Out” to the acoustic introspection of “I’ve Said All I Can Say,” the record moves seamlessly from the sounds of fuzzy tweed amps to jangling acoustics. Their unique style of power pop is inspired by such bands as Badfinger, Beach Boys, Beatles, Big Star, Byrds, Joe Jackson (Potter's vocal delivery resembles him a lot), Cheap Trick, Elvis Costello, Electric Light Orchestra, Jason Falkner, Jellyfish, Kinks, Knack, Paul McCartney and Wings, Matthew Sweet, Monkees, Pearlfishers, Police, Raspberries, Sloan, Superdrag, Velvet Crush, XTC, and the Who.
"They write catchy pop songs circa 1983, with touches of present day pop that make it fresh and delightful. Tons of melody, personal lyrical content, and well-crafted songs keep your toes a-tappin'. Lots of influences, from Beatles to Costello, without ever hanging on any particular style" - SpaceCityRock.com Very very catchy!
COMES WITH AN EXCLUSIVE BONUS DISC "THE EARLY YEARS" CONTAINING FIVE PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED TRACKS RECORDED IN 1996.
|The Sterling Loons - March To The Tune
For their Kool Kat debut, we bet that prior to creating this record, Eamon Nordquist and mates raided someone's very kool record collection ("Pebbles", "Nuggets", "Rubble", and "Boulders" volumes had to have been in there) to have come up with a gem that's very heavily steeped in the tradition of late-60's influenced garage pop rock/Psych/Freakbeat!
COMES WITH AN EXCLUSIVE BONUS DISC CONTAINING 7 PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED TRACKS: "SOMEDAY SHE'LL GET AWAY PT 2" (alternate version), "GOODTIMESONG", "MORNING SUNSHINE" (demo), "KEEPS ME OCCUPIED", "SMILE AND WAVE", "WINE AND ALL THINGS FINE" (alternate version), "THE CASTAWAYS CODA".
|The Goldenhour - Tonight Becomes Tomorrow: The Early Years 1996-2000"
We're thrilled to offer this release from a band that has quickly become one of our current faves! United with a passion for 60’s garage, power pop and northern soul, The Goldenhour made their recording debut in 1998 with the 7” vinyl offering "Until I See You Again" on soul/garage label Detour Records "Tonight Becomes Tomorrow" covers the years before their debut album "Beyond the Beyond".
For longtime fans who have been after their early recordings, this brand spanking new collection will be an important and welcome audio document! Many of the songs presented here are either previously unreleased, never been available on CD, or have only previously appeared on rare, out-of-print EPs! "A tip of the hat to Jennie and company at 'Double Breasted Modzine' for calling our belated attention to the Goldenhour, a Glasgow quintet that deserves a huge following among mods and rockers everywhere. This odds ‘n sods collection – most of it previously unreleased and culled from demos, a radio session, a rare single and a various artists comp – should definitely add new followers to the ranks of those who already know their two wonderful albums proper. Their frantic blend of the Zombies and early Deep Purple will whisk your mind and feet from the garage to the discotheque, where lights swirl, organ whirls, and the music hurls you out onto the dance floor. Highlights include hitherto, high-energy numbers like 'Fast Train,' the organ-led instrumental 'The Network' and a cover of the Zombies’ 'Just Out of Reach'. They’re joined by alternate takes of faves like 'Until I See You Again,' 'Tonight Becomes Tomorrow' and 'Beyond the Beyond' that are rougher, faster, and more intense than the original versions.
Throughout, Neil Sturgeon’s voice soars effortlessly over Ally Maclean’s churning organ, Dave Andrews’ searing guitar, Neil Menzies’ melodically pulsating bass and Andy Gailey’s crisp, powerful drumming. The Goldenhour are currently on hiatus, and while we wait for what comes next – particularly Sturgeon’s forthcoming solo album – we just can’t get enough of this exuberant collection!
Fair warning, though: listening at breakfast time will get you so excited you’ll throw your bowl of Sugar Pops on the living room floor!" - Baron Saturday Oops!
|William Duke - The Sunrise and The Night
Born and raised under the California sun, William Duke has fond memories of summers in the ‘70s playing Atari and wearing out his collection of records and 8-tracks by The Beatles, The Monkees, Styx, KISS, Supertramp and Cheap Trick. Little did he know that listening to his older brother’s prog-rock albums by The Moody Blues, Yes, ELO and Jethro Tull would also have a big creative influence on his music.
Beyond the obvious dichotomy in the title "The Sunrise and The Night", the album’s inspiration comes from the discovery and loss of various relationships over the years. The title track deals with a dream he had about a country drive – with a childhood friend who has slipped into drug addiction – as the night treads into the quiet, melancholy hours before dawn.
The album is arguably his finest work, calling on influences ranging from the Beach Boys and Big Star to ELO and Bread. "Until recently, multi-instrumentalist Duke contributed high harmonies, bass, and a bit of songwriting to San Fran’s The Bye Bye Blackbirds, one of my fave bands of the past few years. And a couple of toe-tappers here, the solo acoustic 'The Great Escape', with its wanderlust lyrics, and the jaunty 'You’re Young and You’ll Forget,' featuring twangy electric guitar, would have fit right in with the Blackbirds’ set list. But, whereas he came across sort of like Timothy B. Schmidt of Poco and Eagles fame in the Blackbirds’ cow-pop context, he looks more toward Millennium/Sagittarius/ soft-sike legend Curt Boettcher for inspiration when working on his own.
'The Sunrise and The Night' more or less takes up where his previous solo effort, 2005’s 'The Ghost That Would Not Be', left off. He has some help here and there, including from Blackbirds Bradley Skaught and Lenny Gill, but plays most of the instruments himself. His use of delicate, music box-like acoustic guitar tones and lots of cool keyboards (e.g., moog, mellotron, harpsichord), as well as his fragile, soft and sweet voice, help him conjure up that delicately lush Boettcher vibe, despite having not so nearly as lavish a production budget as the late, great producer/arranger. There are lots of lovely songs here. 'You’re Young and You’ll Forget,' for example, could have been recorded 40 years ago by The Ballroom. Other haunting beauties include the L.A.-inspired 'The Canyon', 'The Impending Happiness' and 'Sacrificial Light'." - Baron Saturday
COMES WITH AN EXCLUSIVE 20-SONG BONUS DISC - "THE ALTERNATE SUNRISE AND THE NIGHT" - FEATURING DEMOS/ALTERNATE MIXES/EARLY VERSIONS OF SONGS FROM "THE SUNRISE AND THE NIGHT
|The Rosewood Thieves - Live @ The Basement plus Outtakes & Demos
|The Britannicas - The Britannicas
The words "classic" and "timeless" are often used when it comes to guitar-based pop music, but that is exactly what you get with the jangle-filled debut album from The Britannicas! The only surprises are the ones worth having, spread over 40 minutes of spectacular hooks and harmonies! This should come as no surprise, given the band's musical pedigree.
The Britannicas consists of three seasoned songwriters, multi-instrumentalists, and vocalists, all of whom are no strangers to long-time pop fans. Joe Algeri (Jack & The Beanstalk - Australia), Magnus Karlsson (Happydeadmen, The Charade - Sweden), and Herb Eimerman (Nerk Twins - USA) have delivered an effort that can truly be termed "International Pop"! Each musician recorded their parts in their respective home studios and shared the tracks across the oceans. Clearly, the tyranny of distance was no impediment to producing great music!
The record seamlessly covers the entire palette of classic-era pop music - from the jingle jangle of "Those Good Vibrations", "Don't Go Back", and "Stars"; to the garage rock of "The Girl From Malasana"; to the power pop of "Baby Said Yeah Yeah" and "One Of These Nights"; to the more sombre folkiness of "Blue Sky Grey" and "Love Trap", to the outer-worldly psychedelia of "The Other Side"! For those whose tastes don't stray far from the three holy B's - The Beatles, The Byrds, and the Beach Boys, these 12 tracks will certainly "ring" true!
|Maple Mars - Galaxyland
Rick Hromadka, who more or less is Maple Mars, writes sway-inducing tunes and he's not afraid to let rip with some heavy duty guitar sounds - which is where his approach differs from most of the L.A. pack. And don't forget the sweet harmonies! A dash of Pink Floyd, a sprinkle of Cheap Trick, some Jellyfish on the side, and a big dollop of the Beatles best describes them.
|Frank Royster - Innocence Is Bliss
Brandishing lots of jangly guitars, and an unabashed fetish for British Invasion pop, this is Frank's sophomore effort for Kool Kat! The former Fire Apes guitarist is aided here by former bandmates Tommy Hamer (drums) and Julian Volpe (bass). The record was brilliantly produced by The Spongetones Jamie Hoover (who also contributes lead/rhythm guitars, lap steele, dulcimer, bass, and vocals to the proceedings), who, like Frank, makes no secret of his love for the Fab Four - and it shows throughout the record in the magic production and instrumental touches and embellishments he tastefully adds!
The results are a match made in pop heaven! Includes a very cool cover of The Beatles' "Every Little Thing" and closes with Frank and his son McCartney (no surprise in his choice of his son's name) doing a very touching version of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" (we've got dibs on McCartney's first solo record)! "Frank has exhibited amazing growth since his Kool Kat debut! Similar to groups like The Smithereens, he has stayed in touch with his British Invasion roots.
The record is full of killer melodies, tons of guitars, terrific musicianship and great songwriting. The songs are so amazingly upbeat, catchy and beautiful to the ears you have to listen to it on repeat ten-thousand times over. 'Brena, You' could've been a Paul McCartney/Wings track from 'Band On The Run'! There's not one dull moment on here. Play this record loud and sing your heart out! - M.R. Gomez
COMES WITH AN EXCLUSIVE 7-SONG BONUS DISC ENTITLED "ALTERNATE BLISS"! TRACK
LISTING: "BRENA, YOU" (acapella), "LONGING FOR BLISS" (instrumental without "Twinkle"), "I NEED YOU" (acapella), "I NEED YOU" (telephone mix), "CAN'T YOU MAKE ME SMILE? (acapella), "MR. WONDERFUL" (acapella), AND "BRENA, YOU"
|The Beat Rats - A Cellar Full Of Rats!
In 1964 it was Beatlemania, in 2009 it's time for Beat Rat mania! This New York City-based quartet whisks you back to the days of The Star Club in Hamburg, Germany - but with only a slight modern touch! Their no-frills brand of Mersey-inspired garage pop is a hook and guitar-filled delight! "New York: birthplace of the Velvet Underground, The Ramones, Sonic Youth, The Strokes, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and home to all things cool and trendy since the late 60’s.
The Beat Rats are the latest sons of the Big Apple to pick the torch for rock’n’roll and run with it. These boys aren’t, however, running down the more obvious paths the city is known for (I.E. Punk, Hardcore and Noise Rock). They are reaching back to the halcyon days of The Beatles, Mod Pop and Garage Rock. If these guys were bigger anglophiles they’d be living in a flat in Shoreditch. ‘The Beat Rats Theme’ is a statement of intent, all surf guitar, hip shaking rhythm and petulant, catchy vocals, and it doesn’t outstay it’s welcome. Each track on the album is a short, sharp blast of classy retro rock. Not that they repeat themselves. 'I Can’t Wait' has a slower, more bar room blues feel that could either be about a woman or a drug dealer. ‘Rat Fink' hints at the Banana Splits as much as any real band. While also bringing to mind Link Wray and the soundtrack to 'Pulp Fiction'. the production on the album is pretty basic, but it fits the overall mood of the record, making it sound as if the band recorded on an 8-track with analog equipment, in a Greenwich Village loft. For all I know they did. I’m guessing the real way to experience the band at it's best is live (we've done that folks with the bonus 5 song live EP!), with sweat pouring out of the walls and everybody in the room shaking ass and taking names." - Bubblegum Slut Fanzine
COMES WITH AN EXCLUSIVE FIVE-SONG BONUS LIVE EP! TRACK LISTING: "RATFINK", "MARYANN", "GUITAR BOOGIE", "THE BEAT RATS THEME", AND "MINE ALL MINE"! YEAH YEAH YEAH BABY!!!! GREAT!!!
| Parallax Project - I Hate Girls
Parallax Project was supposed to be a loosely organized, shifting collection of musicians. That's what founding member Michael Giblin envisioned when he set out to create his first solo album, 2002's "Oblivious". But like Rocky and Post-It notes, where you're headed and where you end up are often two different things. In assembling a band to promote the album, he ended up with a crack live unit that drew upon a collective love of 60s Mod, 70's new wave, and Elvis (the skinny, mousy British one - see "Half" and "You & Me" on the new one for proof). Over the course of the next few years, the band honed its edge and flaunted its love of the Ray Davies songbook, the result of which was "Perpetual Limbo". Produced by Don Dixon, their third full length release (and Kool Kat debut) "I Hate Girls", now flaunts the fruits of
|The Tomorrows - Jupiter Optimus Maximus
The Tomorrows are Marc Stewart, Scott Fletcher, Tony Kerr and Adrian Buckley. Using tools and techniques from past ages and marrying this with their skills, invention, and souls, these four gentlemen have created a sound that is of this moment. Glorious flights of melody and space travel whimsy are welded to a pumping steam engine core as The Tomorrows create a soundtrack for the now. The result, "Jupiter Optimus Maximus", is their recorded debut! "The Tomorrows carry on the psychedelic pop tradition, but streamline things a bit so that the songs are tighter and even more melodic. Fans of Chewy Marble will eat up those great bent notes and striking chord changes! Definitely a force to be reckoned with!" - David Bash/IPO "Imagine if you will, a dark and stormy night high in the mountains of 'PowerPopSylvania' where a mad Power Pop scientist dedicates his entire life to creating his very own Power Pop Monster. Working late into the stormy night, he ever-so-carefully combines ingredients from the distant past (The Beatles, Badfinger), elements of the not-so-distant-past (The Records), and a dash or two of the present (The Roswells, Higgins) - then, to be absolutely certain that these exotic ingredients all blend perfectly, fuses them together with a million volts of a loud, heady mix of electric guitars, keyboards, hooks, and harmonies! 'It's alive', he screams. 'It's alive!' 'All of my years of endless research and dedication to the betterment of music have enabled me to create this living, breathing Pop Monster - The Tomorrows!' OK, well maybe it didn't happen exactly that way, but it very well could have. The results are definitely still there! Brilliant!" - Max Humphries
COMES WITH AN EXCLUSIVE BONUS DISC FEATURING A STUDIO COVER VERSION OF THE BEATLES' "AND YOUR BIRD CAN SING" ALONG WITH THREE LIVE TRACKS RECORDED IN AUGUST 2008 - "CANNONBALL", "BALLAD OF A LESSER MAN", AND "GOODBYE"! GREAT!!!!
|Andy Reed - Fast Forward
We're darned proud to be able to host Andy's debut full-length that's essentially a one-man produced effort (only drums and flute are the guest appearances). It's very hard not to gush over this, but we can't help it! Another stellar example of "Sunday Morning Pop", this acoustic guitar/piano-led effort is a pleasure from start to finish. Contained within are ten slices of top-notch, well-written, gorgeous, hook and harmony-filled, pure pop that'll stick with you on first listen! In a nutshell, the musical references that are in play here are The Beatles, Jellyfish, Todd Rundgren, Elliott Smith, and Brendan Benson - all very good things for sure! The samba-tempo'd "The Criminal" is as brilliant piece of 60's-inspired "Sunshine Pop" as you'll ever hear! The vocal harmonies are heavenly throughout!
COMES WITH AN EXCLUSIVE, BONUS CD FEATURING "GLUTTON OF SYMPATHY" (JELLYFISH COVER), "TOO MUCH TO HANG ON" ("GREAT COMPRESSION" EP OUTTAKE), "A PICTURE" (2003 DEMO), AND TWO SONGS FROM THE NOW RARE, BRENDAN BENSON-PRODUCED, "REWIND" CD BY THE HASKELS - "SONG OF HOPE" AND "COMIC BOOK HERO" (FEATURING BRENDAN ON BACKING VOCALS)! GREAT!!!!!
|The Jellybricks - Goodnight To Everyone
OK - let's see now....Crunchy and jangly guitars: check. Top notch, sugar-sweet, hook-filled songs: check. Tighter than Joan Rivers face execution: check. Tons of harmonies: check. The 'Bricks are back baby! We're both honored and thrilled to be a part of the release of their fourth full-length album which was produced in part by Saul Zonana! The Jellybricks show that their brand of pop hasn’t lost its fizz after more than a decade. Continuing where their 2004 Kool Kat debut "Power This" left off, "Goodnight to Everyone" showcases their maturing songwriting skills and studio savvy, while capturing the vigor of their acclaimed live shows.
| Doug Derek & The Hoax - Who The Hell Is Doug Derek?
Doug Dreke & The Hoax
An unheard power pop gem - until now! Fans of Paul Collins' Beat and The Plimsouls, this is for you as there are lots of similarities throughout! This little-known garage power pop band from New Haven, CT existed from 1980 to 1981. The songs and music presented here reflect the energy, spirit and overall sound of a lot of American bands at the time, and provide another entry into the long list of garage pop bands that existed during this period!
It all began with vocalist/bassist Doug Riccio (a.k.a. "Doug Derek") (who's got a little Peter Case in him) and vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Michael Brochin, who reunited with two additional former band mates in drummer Rich D'Albis and guitarist Bob Cedro to form the initial lineup. Accurately self-described as "pop with a lot of balls", they were able to create more than 30 original songs together during that short, yet very productive period. All previously unreleased until now, ultra-catchy songs such as "Bobby's Gotta Get Back To Boston," (could've been a college radio hit in the day), "I Don't Really Like It Here" (both presented here in two versions), "I Need Your Love (Let Me Take You Into The Night)" and the anthemic "Airwaves" (a tale about a fictional band making it to the top of the charts with an unusually dark, ironic twist at the end) reflect the obvious Power Pop influences of Brochin and a darker, more mysterious side in Riccio that culminated in a songwriting duo that could be considered to be a somewhat unusual pairing of minds for the time.
Kool Kat is pleased to present debut album that never was - finally released 27 years after the songs were originally recorded.
COMES WITH AN EXCLUSIVE BONUS DISC - THE 11-SONG "LIVE IN THE BASEMENT" CD! Originally dubbed "The John Tapes" this is a last-minute session of songs not even found on their studio release, recorded live on a 4-track recorder in Riccio's parents' basement. They are the last actual recorded performances of the band, capturing their unmistakable raw energy! GREAT!!!
|The Goldbergs - Under The Radar
The follow-up to "Hooks, Lines & Sinkers" is here! And we're quite chuffed to be able to proclaim it a Kool Kat release! It could very easily be titled "Hooks Vol. 2" as this Beatles-inspired gem's got everything that the previous one had and more! Solid songs, solid playing, lots of guitars, hooks, and harmonies - from start to finish! Oozing with total "Brit-ness", it sounds a lot like a more modern-sounding Red Button! "Goldberg sounds like he sprang from the halcyon power pop days of 1998 with tunes that are snappy, crisp, and clean, evoking the chirpier side of the style!" - fufkin.com
Andy explains - "The Goldbergs is essentially a solo effort. It's my vehicle, my creation, my vision, my aesthetic, though there are certain key individuals who have contributed to "Radar" that deserve mention. An immense amount of credit goes to long time confidante and secret weapon, Paul Umbach. He is indispensable in translating the sounds in my head into a first-class finished product. From producing and engineering, to mixing the entire record, he ensures that it turns out exactly as envisioned. New York session greats Rich Pagano (Fab Faux) on drums and John Conte (bass) appear on 8 of the 11 tracks."
COMES AUTOGRAPHED AND WITH A BONUS DISC FEATURING FIVE EXCLUSIVE, PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED LIVE + STUDIO TRACKS!
|The Strand - Another Season Passes
Who says you can't go back home again? This is a brand new release on the Kool Kat label from the re-formed band! And we're quite happy to report that they sound as if they never missed a beat! Led by founding members James Garner and Bill Lasley, they deliver nine new songs written between the early 80's and 2007! It's fun to try and guess which ones were written when! It reads like a New Wave/Brit Pop "how to" guide! From the opener, the Plimsouls/Paul Collins' Beat-inspired "Rising Tide", to the jangle-filled, "Stepping Stone"-inspired "Not As A Stranger", to the East Coast/Gary Valentine-inspired pop of "Along For The Ride", to the Paisley Underground-inspired "The Center", to the 80's Brit-Pop inspired (think the verse melody of The Jam's "Start") "Scared Streets" (presented here in two versions - the version that appears later on the disc is VERY Jam-like in its aggressive delivery), and the closing, bedroom acoustic pop of "Hand In Hand", you're swept away with good old fashioned, well-written, well-played, well-produced, jangly and crunchy guitar-filled, tastefully keyboard laced, New Wave Pop that we're absolute total suckers for!
COMES WITH EXCLUSIVE FIVE SONG BONUS DISC FEATURING A STUDIO COVER VERSION OF THE ZOMBIES' "IS THIS THE DREAM" ALONG WITH FOUR TRACKS RECORDED LIVE & RAW IN 1984 AT THE 9:30 CLUB IN WASHINGTON, DC - "SECONDS WAITING", "I CAN'T EXPLAIN" (WHO COVER), "POPULAR GIRL", AND "KIDS TODAY"! Of course we're just a wee bit biased! GREAT!!!
|JOHN WICKS AND THE
RECORDS - ROTATE
Their first release in nearly 10 years! "The Records have always been 'Top of the Pops' in my pantheon of powerpop purveyors. After hearing the four minutes and twenty-three seconds of "Starry Eyes" that seamlessly melded the amphetamine rush of punk with the crystalline jangle of vintage Brit-invasion the song singlehandedly reunited me with my rock and roll roots the Beatles, the Raspberries and Blue Ash! This one reworks 4 stellar tracks from 'Rock'ola' and adds eight new recordings.
It could just have easily been called 'Revolve(er)' as John's musical palette continues to mirror the Records' classic sound, one that is heavily influenced by middle-period Beatles songcraft, and his penchant for crafting gorgeous melodies remains undiminished. Stellar tracks include the opener 'Oh Yeah!' with its infectious chorus and 'That Girl Is Emily' which utilizes a sweet, slightly lysergic circular guitar motif that immediately places the song high on the list of great rock tunes written about girls named Emily. 'Different Shades Of Green' and 'So Close to Home' are instant powerpop classics which would have fit comfortably on 'Crashes' with their shimmering guitar work and anthemic choruses.
This is a must-have for Records fans and true powerpop aficionados! Without question, John remains at the top of his game and continues to make great music!" - Kid Charlemagne/PowerPopblogspot.com
COMES AUTOGRAPHED AND WITH A BONUS DISC FEATURING FIVE EXCLUSIVE, PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED LIVE + STUDIO TRACKS!
|FOOLING APRIL - IN
Our best-selling, and one of our hardest working bands are back with a stellar second effort! Their single, "Firefly", from their debut album found a home at #1 on the Clear Channel unsigned charts for almost 4 months and was featured on over 450 Clear Channel station websitesm, all coming shortly after being selected the flagship band for a new online venture, "American Idol Underground", that lead to appearances on FOX and NBC television as well as a full feature in "American Idol The Magazine".
They're poised for wider-reaching success!
And, like their brilliant debut, this one also features top-notch, hook-filled songs and crisp, tight execution! Not ones to fool with a successful formula, their well-produced, keyboard-led brand of pure, radio-friendly pop will immediately appeal to fans of The Argument, The 88, Ben Folds, Crowded House, and even Steely Dan!
COMES WITH AN EXCLUSIVE, 4-SONG BONUS DISC OF THEIR PREVIOUSLY DOWNLOAD-ONLY "WHITE PINE SESSIONS EP" CONTAINING SONGS NOT AVAILABLE ANYWHERE ELSE - "PRETENDING" (early version), "BACK TO NEW", "C-4" (early version), AND "FIREFLY" (early version)!
|MAPLE MARS - BEAUTIFUL
Their third release is a pure pop delight and sees the band stretching out a bit musically! Rick Hromadka explains - "'The new album picks up where 'Circular Haze', our second album, leaves off. Musically, it recalls the 'beautiful' blend of our psychedelic power pop and lush acoustic orchestrations.
Lyrically, it deals with adult relationships, including bittersweet breakup, and the celebration of new love. Saying goodbye while saying hello, and everything in between." All expertly delivered with the usual "Maple" formula that never fails to feature plenty of guitars (lots this time around), amazing hooks and gorgeous harmonies! Features a beautiful cover of 10CC's "I'm Not In Love"! "Paralyzed" sounds almost like a latter day Replacements song! "Fell Off The Cloud" sounds like a cross between Martin Newell and Cloud Eleven! Other songs also have a strong Cloud Eleven feel as well! "Between Two Worlds" and "Apology" are a terrific ballads! The crunch-filled power chords of "Face In The Crowd" are an air-guitar lovers dream!
COMES WITH AN EXCLUSIVE, BONUS DISC CONTAINING 6 PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED TRACKS - "WELCOME TO MAPLE MARS" (demo), "GOLDEN PEOPLE" (demo), "THE BEGINING" (acoustic), "FACE IN THE CROWD" (demo), "SOFT CAROUSEL" (demo), AND A "MARS REMAKE" OF THE THEME FROM "DARK SHADOWS"!
|KEITH LUBRANT - SEARCHING FOR SIGNAL
He's back with his brilliant sophomore effort - and what a crunchy and jangly corker of first-rate power pop it is! Features guest appearances/vocal support from Jim Boggia and Mike Viola (Candy Butchers!)
Like his terrific debut, all the hooks are still present, but some songs have taken a new musical direction. States Keith - "I knew I wanted to experiment with different styles and instrumentation very early in the songwriting stage for this project. I needed to explore a little more, dig a little deeper. I did not feel the need to recreate 'Face In The Crowd', my debut."
Throughout the record, his vocal style recalls both Robin Wilson (Gin Blossoms) and Neil Finn! And that's a good thing!
"Whether you're dialing up the spirited, power pop-styled numbers or the more reflective, introspective tunes, everything on this goes down smooth and easy. Nicely done!" - John Borack
Solid from start to finish, all 13 of the well-written, hook-filled, songs feature top-notch playing and vocals!
COMES WITH AN EXCLUSIVE 6-SONG (STUDIO/DEMOS/LIVE) BONUS CD OF POPPIN' RECORDINGS BY DIM, KEITH'S PRIOR BAND THAT INCLUDED ALL OF THE MUSICIANS WHO CONTRIBUTED TO THE RECORDING OF THE NEW CD! GREAT!!!!
CLOUD ELEVEN - SWEET HAPPY LIFE
We're pleased as punch to be associated with Rick Gallego's latest masterpiece! He recorded most of it himself, with valuable assistance from Nelson Bragg on percussion and vocals, and Zane Drake on various stringed instruments. The sound this time is a more laid back, acoustic vibe than shown on previous releases, with Rick playing the pedal steel guitar for an added dimension - without losing the melodic/harmonic textures of past recordings. A full drum kit is being replaced this time with the looser percussive sounds of tabla, bongos, shakers, etc. Full of breezy, West Coast-influenced pop and lite psych! The Beach Boy-ish harmonies are a joy! The instrumentation is gorgeous! The songs are top-notch! We could go on and on.... If you like your pop luscious and harmony-filled than this is for you! Another late contender (IOHO) for "Best Of 2006" honors!
COMES WITH AN EXCLUSIVE 4-SONG EP FEATURING PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED DEMO RECORDINGS OF "LEARN TO FLY", "BLUE MORNING" (both writtten in 1997 for the first Cloud Eleven album), "FAR TO FALL" & "CARRY ME" (both written for the "Orange And Green And Yellow And Near" album)!
FRANK ROYSTER - THRU THE YEARS
You may not know who Frank Royster is, but many of you have heard him before. He added guitars to the first (most excellent) Fire Apes CD - "A Pefect Day For Bananafish" and was a member of the band from 1996-1998! He's been a vet of the Charleston, SC music scene for close to 20 years.
The songs contained here were recorded and written over a period of about 12 years. The album was co-produced by Frank and Paolo Liccairdi, who has played drums on all of the Fire Apes releases to date. He also co-produced The Apes' "Central Park Carousel". Very influenced by the Beatles, Elvis Costello, Beach Boys, Marshall Crenshaw, and The Smithereens. In other words, a group of pop hook-meisters that we all love! In fact Jim Babjak of the Smithereens plays guitar on the track "Pressure".
Vocally, Frank's a cross between Elvis Costello (witness "Say Goodbye" that sounds like it came off "My Aim Is True"!) and Pat DiNizio! As soon as you here his powerful wall-of-guitars sound, it just screams Smithereens. The production has sort of a DIY charm that recalls the first Van Duren, Marshall Crenshaw, and Smithereens records! Very, very catchy! COMES WITH A BONUS, EXCLUSIVE, FOUR-SONG EP OF UNRELEASED DEMOS! You might say we're a bit biased, but we still think it's GREAT!!!
SOMERDALE - FRIDAY NITE IN AMERICA
Debut full-length by this New Jersey 3-piece formerly known as The Shags!
"Old school power pop done with new school spirit and verve. Definitely a band to watch out for!" - David Bash
They’ve toughened up their sound and have maintained their sweet vocal harmonies! They take you on their personally guided “musical history tour” of guitar pop (that exhibits a plethora of influences – The Beatles, Elliott Smith, The Rubinoos, The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Raspberries, Free, and Artful Dodger immediately come to mind) that begins with “FM Liberation” delivered with “Street Fighting Man”-like power chords, Keith Moon-like drumming, and John Entwhistle-like bass lines! “She Reminds Me” combines “All Right Now” riff crunch with sugar sweet “ooh and aah harmonies! “Oh Nicole” could be an Artful Dodger outtake! “Gravity” is Raspberries-like! You get the idea!
JEFFREY SIMMONS - FAREWELL, MY SWEET ALIBI
Jeffrey Simmons creates classic Pop music in the tradition of Harry Nilsson, Emitt Rhodes, Wilco and Van Duren complete with rich instrumental (mostly piano-led, strummy acoustic guitar-laced) accompaniments that include some tasteful string arrangements! “Has crafted a solo album that is daring, ambitious and utterly user-friendly melding the songs into a wholly original construction!” – CMJ His earthy, Pat DiNizio-like-at-times vocals, and sweet harmonies provide the adornment for his mostly Baroque-pop treatments! A grower!
THE SPEEDS - SING IT LOUD
After two promising EPs, this Steel City trio finally deliver their solid, big-time poppin', 10-song full length debut! This is top-notch Brit-inspired Power Pop that's chock full of crunchy guitars, hooks and terrific (Beatle-like at times) harmonies! Think Supergrass, The Shazam, The Jellybricks, Cheap Trick, and early Rich Creamy Paint and you get a real good idea of what's happening here! Delivered crisply, tightly, and with a no-frills approach! "Sunset Drive" is a great Beatles/Marmalade-inspired ballad! We're pleased as punch to be associated with this! GREAT!!!
THE FIRE APES - THE FIRE APES
Surprise surprise! Five brand new top-notch, Brit-inspired, crunchy pop gems from the ‘Apes! This is Power Pop of the highest order by one of the best in the Power Pop biz right now that features lots of guitars and hooks on top of hooks! If you liked their previous two releases you’re gonna love this one! Of course we love it!
FOOLING APRIL - EVERY GOOD BOY DOES FINE
Fans of Ben Folds, The Argument Gabe Dixon Band and Steely Dan – this one’s for you. Hook-filled, piano-led, radio-ready pop that is catchy as heck! "These guys show you inside of nine seconds that they know how to write melodic, hooky pop music with a hint of jam-band riffage. They showcase excellent musicianship, strong vocals and superb songwriting!" – Foundrymusic.com. We have a lot of trouble removing this one from the CD player – it’s that catchy!
THE QUEUE - FALLOUT
Re-release of their debut effort that had Bucketful of Brains gushing "It's a very pop record - articulate and playful - with guitars and keyboards sharing prominence...has bags of confidence, an obscene amount of musical (and technical) skill, and a very pop sound that mixes a large measure of Crowded House with some Jellyfish and a dash of Brit Pop!"
THE JELLYBRICKS - POWER THIS
Five years in the making (and well worth the wait), Kool Kat is thrilled to release the latest and greatest from Harrisburg, PA’s favorite sons – The Jellybricks!! This is what power pop is all about folks! Lotsa guitars, lotsa harmonies, lotsa hooks = lotsa fun! Produced by Cliff Hillis! Already being hailed as a potential 2004 Top-Tenner! Stop us if we’re gushing…………!
THE FIRE APES - CENTRAL PARK CAROUSEL
The Apes return with a killer sophomore effort and we’re thrilled to be involved! Fulfilling the promise of their excellent debut - "Perfect Day For Bananafish", John Seymour and mates deliver 12 slices of classic, guitar-driven hook-n-harmony-filled Power Pop destined to be a 2005 Top Tenner for sure! Includes a great cover of "I’m Into Something Good" (Herman’s Hermits)! Can’t say enough about this one!!
LORD CARRETT - UNSWEETENED
Stepping out of the "pop ocean" and dipping our toes in the "comedy pool" for this one! And face it, we can all use a few laughs these days! Unlike most comedy records, "Unsweetened" was recorded live in one take with no edits! A regular on the syndicated Bob & Tom radio show, Carrett’s style harkens back to the days of George Carlin, Robert Klein, Jan Murray and Shelly Berman, in other words, the masters! C’mon laugh a little!
NOTE: PARENTAL ADVISORY HILARIOUS!!
MAPLE MARS - CIRCULAR HAZE
Kool Kat is proud to present the long-awaited followup to “Welcome To Maple Mars”! The LA times described their music as “a dash of Cheap Trick, a sprinkle of ELO, some Jellyfish on the side and a big dollop of The Beatles”! Their new CD, while still embracing these influences, is a giant musical leap forward as they continue to finely hone their craft of top-notch pop (power + otherwise)! GREAT!!
PIPITONE - MUSIC FOR MINIVANS
Nick Pipitone (ex-Sugarsmack) leads this power pop band from Milwaukee! Hooks guitars (+ keyboards) are in more than ample supply on their totally terrific, fun and very catchy debut! Great singing throughout! Vocally, Nick’s got a little Tilbrook/Folds thing goin’ on too! Of course we love it!
THE IDLE WILDS - UNHEARD
Collection of 15 rare and previously unreleased tracks. From “Tender Distance”, their first recorded demo, to “Used By Permission”, the CD chronicles their musical development from 1992-1996. Led by songwriter/vocalist David Gray, the band were signed to Ardent Records by former Big Star drummer and A&R executive Jody Stephens and released the “Dumb, Gifted and Beautiful” CD in 1996. Critics on both sides of the Atlantic praised the group’s “power pop” leanings often drawing comparisons to Big Star, Teenage Fan Club, The Posies, Velvet Crush and the Gigolo Aunts – all touchstones of the genre – prompting David Gray to proclaim “I don’t mind the comparisons. If I read a review of a band being compared to Big Star I’d go buy the record”. Despite the critical acclaim, the group split in 1996.