Friday, September 29, 2017

Retro Reviews: New York Loose - Born To Loose

Review by Rob Sheley

1990s New York City was a very different place than it is now. It was on the cusp of Mayor Giuliani giving the town a makeover, virtually eliminating the homeless and the Taxi Driver reality of the city. It was his sole mission to make it more tourist friendly and "safe". New York below 14th Street was gritty and dirty and downright dangerous - the perfect breeding ground for creativity in both art and music. Photos don't portray the feel of what the city was. It was something you had to experience, and it was more than just hardcore shows at CBGBs. Rock & roll was finally bubbling back up to the surface at places like Brownies, Tramps, Coney Island High, The Continental, and of course CB's.

One band that gets tragically lost in the shuffle is the New York Loose - fronted by singer/guitarist Brijitte West. Accompanied by a revolving door of players, she remained the one and the only constant member of the band. The band was perfectly poised to make a great splash in the music scene about 10 years before the Yeah Yeah Yeahs & The Strokes re-broke New York as the music hot bed. The New York Loose (named for the great Stooges song) was unique enough - borrowing from the Dolls/Heartbreakers (both Johnny & Tom) owner's manual sonically, with the jangle of '60s radio pop thrown in, similar to the Devil Dogs choice of bands to cover but with more finesse than fury. There were many unfair comparisons of Brijitte to Joan Jett, and they were simply short sighted. Just because a girl fronts a band with a guitar doesn't mean she is a cookie cutter mold of Miss Jett.

Born To Loose is a perfect cross section of a band that either needed to arrive a few years later to catch the mainstream NY wave or have had someone at the label give them the much-needed push they deserved. The band's only mainstream claim to fame was to have a song ("Spit") on The Crow soundtrack. That song is included here from the earlier 7" version with the Crow version on their major label debut Year Of The Rat. After a few tours and a bit of momentum, the band just dissolved, was dropped in the label mergers of the mid/late '90s, and never made the follow up. That was 1996. If they could have made it through the next record and toured a bit, history might be very different. The collection of their work presented here is tracked chronologically, from the 1st single A-side to several unreleased songs that would have made their 2nd major label record. It covers all of the band's most important works, especially the pre-major label songs and comp tracks. The collection does give the listener a taste of their major label work, but the songs are presented in different versions. It mainly shines the focus on their indie work.

The band released two tremendous singles in short order in 1993: "Bitch" b/w "Monolith Kids" & "Luckiest Girl" b/w "Green Light Semaphore". All four tracks are included here, all written by Brijitte with two co-written by Richard Bacchus of D Generation. That alone should give you an idea of what the band was going for. Rick played on them, and they do have a distinct feel of that 1st D Gen record. The band made a reasonable enough wave that Flipside magazine signed them to release an EP. Tragically it was never turned into a 10", but the five songs that it contained were so hopeful as to what could possibly be forthcoming. Aided by Gary Sunshine (Circus Of Power) on guitar, Danny Nordahl (Stiv Bators, Throbs) on bass, and John Melville on drums, this is the lineup that should have stayed together. But as we know, all good thing sometimes do not last. Lucky for us, the release includes all of the tracks recorded by this iteration of the band. These nine songs showcase the presence and power that they had. The fragile yet gravely wail that Brijitte possesses permeates the Flipside EP (all tracks included here), and the additional songs with this lineup are a perfect brush that the band paints with. Tender and hopeful, guttural at times, and defiant when it needed to be, the band's sound was one of the best to radiate out of '90s New York.

This collection doesn't include any tracks from Year of The Rat - I'm sure due to cost issues. But it does include the pre-release 7 inch versions of "Spit" & "Pretty Suicide". Both tracks presented here benefit from a grittier production that was lacking from the debut. "Tailspin" from the Flipside Compilation and "This Train Terminates Here" are excellent rock & roll songs. Painfully missing are their covers of "Boom Boom" by John Lee Hooker (B-side of the "Fade" 7"; "Fade" is included), "Wave of Mutilation" by the Pixies, and their revved up version of "Lust For Life" from the We Will Fall tribute to Iggy Pop.

The collection closes with several unreleased songs from the final lineup of the band. "The Case Of All Gone", "Lord Won't You Send Me A Devil", "Demons", and "Scene Of The Crime" (all recorded during or slightly after a tour with Reverend Horton Heat) spell what could have become of the band.

Upon the demise of the band, Brijitte moved to England and took some time off and then in 2010 began playing as Brijitte West and The Desperate Hopefuls. In 2016 the band created a Pledgemusic campaign to create From NY With Love following in the path that had started with the Flipside EP. The band has re-dialed in the sound that The New York Loose created in the '90s. However, Born To Loose is the necessary place to start. It is the roots and teething years for a band that was right there and should get the proper recognition that it rightfully deserves.

-Rob Sheley

Rob Sheley will be presenting 35 original drawings of Hollywood movie monsters at an art exhibition in Lancaster, PA on October 6th. For more information, check out the event page  on Facebook! 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Song Premiere: Indonesian Junk- "Stars"

One of my most highly anticipated album releases for 2017 was Indonesian Junk's second LP Stars In The Night. It's coming out next month on Rum Bar Records, and I have to say that it's everything I hoped it would be. Three tracks, "I'll Run Away", "Turn To Stone", and "Why Did I Call You?", have already been premiered in advance of the album. Today I am delighted to premiere a fourth track from what will surely be one of the year's finest albums. Indonesian Junk's lead man Daniel James describes "Stars" as "kind of a post apocalyptic love song that takes place in a reality somewhere in between Mad Max and Batman: No Man's Land." Says James: "It's about two people whose love is like a light shining in the darkness which is the world around them. They're two stars in the night. Musically it's kind of influenced by the Jacobites. David (our former drummer, who played on the track) and I were lucky enough to get to play in Nikki Sudden's band briefly before he passed away, so the song is also sort of a tribute to him."

Stars In the Night is set for an October 13th release on Rum Bar Records and will deliver another head-bobbing mix of glam, power pop, and gritty '70s punk. Malibu Lou has been talking up this release to me for months, and I can assure you that he's had good reason. I have had the good fortune of following this Milwaukee trio's progression from that first raw demo to its home-recorded debut album to this home run of a sophomore LP. Stars In the Night is definitely a little more pop than its predecessor. But I'm talking "pop" as in The Only Ones or Stiv Bators. I'll post a proper review in a couple weeks. In the meantime, give "Stars" a listen right now. And if you haven't already checked out "I'll Run Away", "Turn To Stone", and "Why Did I Call You?", head on over to Rum Bar's Bandcamp. There you can stream those tunes and pre-order the album!


Monday, September 25, 2017

Kurt Baker - The Lost Weekend EP

So there's a new Kurt Baker release out, and of course I'm stoked! The Lost Weekend EP, out on Little Steven's Wicked Cool Records, is a compilation of rare and unreleased tracks that will tide us over until the next Kurt Baker Combo album arrives next year. Some of these are solo recordings, and others were done in Spain with the Combo. Even if you own everything Baker has ever released, this is an EP you need to own if you're a fan. Three of these seven tracks are being heard for the first time ever, and another was only available as a bonus track on the vinyl version of the Play It Cool LP. Among the unreleased tracks is a terrific cover of "(What's So Funny About) Peace, Love and Understanding" - which Baker recorded with the very awesome Spanish band Los Reactivos a while back. I always appreciated the way Elvis Costello made that song his own, and here Baker and Los Reactivos do the same. Equally impressive is Baker and The Combo's run at the Larry Williams classic "Bad Boy" - which The Beatles famously covered in 1965. And how could it be that "Keep Away", which Baker co-wrote with Dan Vapid, has never been released before? That remains a mystery, but now we finally get to hear it!

The songs on The Lost Weekend EP that you may already be familiar with definitely fall into the rare category. "Give It Up" and "Motion Devotion" came out on a 7" on Hidden Volume Records that was limited to 300 copies and quickly sold out. The Nick Lowe inspired rocker "Girl's Got Money" is from a single released in 2013 on Collectors Club Records (only 200 copies made!). And Baker's cover of the '60s garage rarity "Thank Goodness It's Friday" by Doug Brown and The Omens will be new to you unless you own Play It Cool on vinyl.

In addition to its offering of unreleased gems like "Bad Boy" and "Keep Away", The Lost Weekend EP is such a treat because it shows us the many sides of Kurt Baker. These seven tracks run the gamut from '60s garage to power pop to straight-up rock n' roll, and all in all this release really captures the "have a good time, all the time" mind-set that has come to define Baker's music. The EP is available now from iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Google Play, etc.!


Friday, September 22, 2017

The Geros - Razor Dog

Having released singles from the likes of The Raydios, Louder, and Car Crash, Secret Mission Records has provided the tremendous public service of bringing much of the best in current-day Japanese punk rock to American shores. That continues with the label's latest release - an absolute smasher from Osaka that blends '77 and Killed By Death punk styles in a way that's fully unique to Japanese bands. The band is The Geros, and "Razor Dog" is its second single following a self-released debut from 2015. In my humble opinion, "Razor Dog" is in the "best Secret Mission single ever" conversation along side The Raydios' "Teacher's Pet". The title track absolutely rips - coming on loud and raw with an edge jagged enough to draw blood. In terms of pure wild energy, this song gives me the same kind of rush I got when I first heard Teengenerate and The Registrators back in the day. Major points must also be awarded for the back and forth shouting between male and female vocalists - something I particularly enjoy in the garage punk world. On the B-side, "Don't Call Me" takes a dark, surf-inspired turn that I was not expecting. But I mean that in a good way. Imagine, if you will, a demented version of California punk rock circa 1980.

With two fantastic singles to their credit, The Geros look to be at the front and center of the next great wave of Japanese garage punk. While super limited to just 200 copies here in the states, "Razor Dog" is still available from Secret Mission as well as from fine distributors like Sorry State and Slovenly. You can also download the digital version of The Geros' first EP from Bandcamp for just ¥300 (less than $3 American). Get ready to crank up the volume and have your ears blasted!


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Slow Faction - Under Heavy Manners

Now more than ever, we really need bands that aspire to change the world. So why do I generally find the social justice warrior bands of the moment so off-putting? I think I got the answer from the fine writer Ged Babey - who addressed that very topic in his wonderful review of Slow Faction's new mini-album Under Heavy Manners. These sorts of bands, Babey writes, "can come over as a bit dull, worthy and predictable and lapse into cliche very easily." That's a truly bang-on assessment. I, like Babey, am so taken with London's Slow Faction precisely because they are none of those things. They approach their songwriting with intelligence, insight, and a genuine spark of musical excitement. When it comes to politically aware and socially minded punk rock, it's still The Clash and Stiff Little Fingers that set the bar for me. These were bands with very important things to say - but they were great punk rock bands first and foremost. Slow Faction has taken up their fight in the present-day, and I can't think of many current punk bands I like better. Just listen to the band's 2016 track "Woody Guthrie", and immediately you will understand the need for music to remain a vital instrument of social change.

Under Heavy Manners is exactly what I desire in political punk music: classic '77 style sounds, with lyrics relevant to the current state of the world. Of course the message is meant to be heeded, but there's nothing secondary about those massive choruses, hard-driving guitars, and well-crafted tunes. Lyrically the band takes a good, hard look at what has gone wrong with the world and the unfortunate direction in which we're headed as a human race. These songs turn their gaze upon the masses who are so caught up in consumerist comforts and obsessions with empty culture that they turn blind eyes to the waging of war for profit and the erosion of their own civil liberties. It's hard to deny that such a depiction hits the nail on the head - on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. But Slow Faction's aim is not to point fingers - it's to confront the truth and find solutions. Harrowing as they might be, songs like "59 Minutes Past 11" and "The Definition of Madness" are essentially wake-up calls. We may be doomed, or we may not be doomed. But if nothing changes, it's surely going to be the former.

At just six tracks, Under Heavy Manners is a lean and urgent affair worthy of a spot on your CD shelf next to many of the albums that inspired it. The title track- the closest thing I've heard to 1979/80 era Stiff Little Fingers in years - kicks off the album like a ball of fire. "59 Minutes Past 11" is a bona fide sound of the streets anthem a la Sham 69 or the Angelic Upstarts. The hot-burning reggae of "There's A War Going On" will do nothing to dissuade further Clash and SLF comparisons (I don't think the band will complain). "In Your God's Name", a song I fondly recall from its demo version, sounds anthemic and positively rousing in its finished form.

Can one band, on its own, change the world? Of course not. But bands can inspire people. And people, collectively, are capable of making a great difference. Under Heavy Manners is full of songs that are just bound to get you fired up. Let it be the inspiration of many who choose to resist the clampdown.


Monday, September 18, 2017

Role Models - Dance Moves

Following two consecutive appearances on my year-end top ten albums list, Role Models are going for the hat trick with their latest and greatest effort Dance Moves. Releasing three albums in three years is a momentous feat in and of itself. It's all the more impressive that Rich Rags and company have managed to top themselves with each subsequent release. It would have been perfectly acceptable at this point for Role Models to still be resting on the laurels of 2015's The Go-To Guy. But thankfully, that is not what has occurred. With the support of its fans and the PledgeMusic platform, the London foursome set out to keep the music coming. On the heels of last year's remarkable Forest Lawn, the brand-new Dance Moves cements Rich's place in the top-tier of present-day rock songwriters. It's certainly a fine place to start if you're still unfamiliar with his formidable talents.

What I appreciate about Dance Moves is that it continues the growth of its two predecessors without losing sight of what Rich does best as a songwriter. He can still write a rocking pop song with the best of 'em, and he sure won't leave you wanting for strong melodies and memorable choruses. But on Dance Moves, he delivers his strongest and by far most varied collection of songs. I can genuinely say that every song sounds different. That makes the album really enjoyable because I look forward to each track and what it brings to the whole. No doubt, songs like "I Want More" and "Covered In Mistakes" are signature Rich Rags power pop tunes that I totally expected and was happy to hear. But what makes Dance Moves so satisfying is that the totally unexpected songs are among the best on the album. Sometimes bands will tack ballads onto the ends of records, but here "Obituary Writer" is so wonderful and essential to the feel of the album that it doesn't sound out of place in the track 4 position. Did you know that Rich could pull off snappy blue-eyed soul ("Feel Like Being Alone") or chic modern rock ("Empire State")? Me either! We probably all knew that Rich had a soft spot for radio-friendly '70s/'80s hard rock but might not have foreseen him indulging it on a Role Models recording. Yet he does exactly that with the 1-2 AOR punch of "Reach Me" and "The Night". I can't listen to the latter without imagining a packed arena full of people singing along to the chorus, cigarette lighters aloft.

I like that Dance Moves tells a story. In the words of Rich Rags, it follows "a binge weekend with someone who has a lot to forget (or remember)." Such a concept demands a particular range of emotions that this set of songs amply provides. Thus the album takes you from the quiet melancholy of "Evangeline" to the celebratory swagger of "Manette Street" to the raging angst of "Dance Moves" to the triumphant power of "The Meteor". Rich and the boys really went for it on this album, and their risks have been fully rewarded. This is a record that the band probably couldn't have made two or three years ago. With the help of some special surprise guests (like Rich Jones, Duncan Reid, and F & L favorite Kris Rodgers), Role Models have made an album that's their finest to date and without question one of this year's best. I recommend it not just to power pop and glam/punk fans but really to anyone who appreciates great music!


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Trampoline Team/MAMA - split 7"

So I have gone from a flurry of posts in July and August to very sparse activity in September. With school work again consuming most of my free time, the blog updates will likely be infrequent for a while. I do have a couple of album reviews (Role Models, The Safes) in the works, but they may take some time. With that in mind, I wanted to do a quick write-up on a release that a lot of you should be very interested in. Both MAMA and Trampoline Team are bands I've raved about recently. They've gotten together for a limited split 7" on Giveaway Records - a release that does not disappoint! I like that these two bands are very different yet still make an ideal pairing for a split. MAMA's two tracks are exactly what you'd expect: thundering '70s style arena rock with dual guitar leads and radio-worthy hooks. It's impossible for me to listen to "Double Trouble" and not imagine it blasting from the 8-track tape deck of a 1978 Camaro. Trampoline Team counters with a pair of tracks that are right up there with the songs from its recent 7" (the best punk rock single of the year, in my opinion). A title like "Headless Cock" sure promises a lot. And let me tell you, the song does not come up short! A la the band's previous hit "Drug Culture", this track comes on with exuberant dual vocals, great snotty lyrics, and an old school punk sound that's catchy yet totally ballsy. "Scrap Addiction" - reminiscent of the Ramones and Angry Samoans, is another infectious toe-tapper from this powerhouse New Orleans trio. 

Limited to just 100 copies, this split is available from MAMA's Bandcamp while supplies last. This will be the only vinyl appearance for MAMA's two contributions to the split. If you're just interested in the digital tracks, Giveaway Records has this split available as a free download at its Bandcamp. MAMA and Trampoline Team are two of the best bands out there right now. So I recommend you track down not just this split but also everything else both bands have released!


Thursday, September 07, 2017

Single Premiere: The Cheap Cassettes - "Hieroglyphics In Lipstick"

When one of your favorite bands approaches you with the somewhat unusual idea of doing a combination premiere and review of its new single, how can you say no?! Believe it or not, this is the first actual single from The Cheap Cassettes - who've been a band since the early part of the decade. After self-releasing their debut album in 2014 and working with Rum Bar Records on a reissue earlier this year, Chaz, Kevin, and Izzy were certainly raring to get back into the studio and cut some new tracks. And cut some new tracks they did - at the world famous Egg Studios in Seattle with the legendary Kurt Bloch producing! From those sessions came "Hieroglyphics In Lipstick" and "Worse N' Better" - out today as a digital release and a limited edition cassette single. Without a doubt, The Cheap Cassettes have never sounded better!

It had been so long since The Cheap Cassettes had recorded new material that I wondered what to expect. There was always the possibility that the band might have changed its musical style to black metal or abandoned all use of guitars in favor of kazoos. I feared such horrors as experimentation with dubstep and a random guest appearance by Ed Sheeran. Much to my delight, no such developments came to be. Both of these tracks are right in the band's sweet spot: marvelous hook-driven pop with a rootsy charm and real honest-to-goodness power behind it. This is exactly what we have come to expect ever since Chaz and Kevin began their musical partnership back in the early 2000s.  "Hieroglyphics In Lipstick" and "Worse N' Better" are power pop by its truest definition. Yet with Chaz's songwriting so indelibly informed by punk rock and early American rock n' roll, The Cheap Cassettes don't sound like a power pop group you've heard 100 times before. And I must say that these tunes are top-notch! Being one who can never get enough of hard pop with a bittersweet taste, I am totally enamored with "Hieroglyphics In Lipstick". It contains some of Chaz's finest lyrics ever - and one of his catchiest melodies as well. "Worse N' Better" is every bit as good and could easily have been the "A" side. It pretty much has it all: a super-tough riff, hooks I can't get out of my head, and a guitar solo so wicked good that even a master shredder like Bloch couldn't help expressing his admiration.

Two more songs from the Egg sessions will be released next year as a vinyl single. In the meantime, I am delighted to present these two latest pop gems to the world at large! With sharp-looking artwork courtesy of Anna and Kevin Parkhurst, the "cassingle" version of this release is well worth seeking out. It's time to pull your boombox and Walkman out of deep storage! Only 50 copies are available. So act quickly if you'd like to own some Cheap Cassettes on, uh, cheap cassette!


Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Cheap Trick review series: Next Position Please (1983)

Review by Mike Kimmel

Why oh why oh why did I not realize what a great album this was when I first heard it in 1983?!

Produced by Todd Rundgren and basically panned (given two out of five stars) by Rolling Stone Magazine, as a die-hard Cheap Trick fan for six years already I owned it as soon as it came out. I'm still not sure what I think of Todd Rundgren. I mean, just because the guy qualifies as a creative genius doesn't mean you have to appreciate his talent, not necessarily enjoy his work.

Some of his stuff I like and some not-so-much. You can, however, detect his presence immediately as far as his involvement in this release. One only need pay attention to some of the seriously odd sounds interspersed throughout (need I remind you that Rundgren did a song called "Onomatopoeia" on one of his albums years ago).

Or we could just dial in on the extreme Beatle-esque, uh, Beatle-esqueness of many of the tunes on the release; another indelible Rundgren touch. Not a complaint about it at all. Cheap Trick has never made any bones about their Liverpudlian influences.

The release opens with one of my favorite Cheap Trick tunes – "I Can't Take It". At that point, it was the only tune thus far that Robin Zander alone authored. Though it flopped as a single, it's remained a favorite live over the years. It hasn't been nudged from my Cheap Trick playlist, either.

"Borderline" sounds like it could be on a movie soundtrack. Heck, it might have been, as far as I know. It's another really good, mid-tempo, all-Cheap Trick tune.

A play on words and the Zander vocal echo-fade that never gets old for me is up next with "I Don’t Love Here Anymore". It describes a romance that was fantastic at the start, but now "…You don't want to play by the rules. I don't want to love here anymore."

I'm still enjoying the weirdness of the title track from Next Position Please. Incongruous lyrics like "Read between the lines, learn a new message. Read the latest book. It's a new twist. Be the first one to have a new idea. You'll never get bored with mirrors on the ceiling". Right into the chorus of "Next position, please. Do I have to get down on my knees. Next position, please. I'm in a hurry, so hurry please".

In typical Cheap Trick fashion, a slight alteration of the words occurs in a later chorus when instead of "Do I have to get down on my knees?" changes to "You'll have to get down on your knees".

"Younger Girls" is a variation on Chuck Berry's "Sweet Little 16" – an ode to younger girls that predated the Cheap Trick version by 20 or 30 years and certainly not the only track to ever express this…sentiment.

"Feels so good, whoo! Let me in. I might jump right outta my skin. Don't you ever grow up, little girl. Sweet young thing. You're not so innocent."

"Don't Make Our Love a Crime" has Zander talking about wanting to be "caught" with his significant other in the tune. Shortly after he wants "…to be blamed with you," then "…I wanna be pawns with you."

"3D" is where Todd Rundgren's involvement really shows up, in my opinion. He's not the only professional recording artist to have been influenced by the Fab Four (not by a LONG shot)! The part that screams Rundgren to me is the number of odd effects, most of them applied to vocals in this track. It's not out of place.

It doesn't even sound questionable – it's just identifiable. It's a stamp Rundgren applies to a lot of his work. Just like Bob Ezrin's "stamp" helped Alice Cooper and KISS rock and Jack Douglas "stamped" Aerosmith, some Cheap Trick, Montrose, and others, almost like a Billy Gibbons guitar lick. Immediately attributable.

"You Talk Too Much" threatens about everyone. "Dear father, don't mother me. Dear mother, don't bother me. If I ever needed your advice I would have called you on the telephone. I've only been wrong maybe once or twice and that's when I was listening to you."

"Dear preacher, you won't reach me. Dear teacher, don't preach to me."

"You talk too much. You talk too much. You talk too much to me. Aww shut up!"

Cheap Trick reasoning at its absolute finest!

"Y.O.Y.O.Y." is another good Cheap Trick love song. Most of their stuff in this area is either very good or fairly humorous (on purpose). The difference here is that this tune is GREAT! I can't help it. You'll just have to listen to it.

"Won't Take No for an Answer" is really an early British Invasion (if you get my aversion to continuing to cite The Beatles) sounding track through the verses. The chorus? Maybe not so much. "Wait just a minute. You're a little lost. Things keep on changing. And so does the cost."

"Hey, Mister Sister (?), leave me alone. Today kids don't grow up – they just grow old." Even 33+ years after it was released, it's still such an accurate indictment in so many areas.

Rolling Stone's reviewer cited the next song in particular in his semi-scathing review. To be fair, he ripped Cheap Trick as well as ripping Todd Rundgren. But I really think the accusations were unfounded. He complains that the chorus of "Heaven's Falling" was predictable, and it was not intended as a compliment.

First, I really don't see it. Next, so what? Finally, have you ever gone to the movies with someone who was constantly saying things like "Oh that's just not possible!" or 'That'd never happen in a million years!"? My response to them as well as that reviewer is "Do you view/listen to art to be entertained or to be convinced?" Personally, I've always thought that entertainment's purpose was to entertain.

I guess I could be wrong.

"Invaders of the Heart" "…are messing with my mind. Invaders of the heart can make your heart blind." It starts out with several strange-ish start/stop things working on vocals, guitars, and drums. And about halfway through the song, someone (might be Zander, but it sounds kinda like Tom Petersson to me – which is odd, because Jon Brandt plays bass on the album – this was the period during which Tom Petersson had left the band) counts to 30. Another fun tune.

Take a brief run back to earlier Trick days feel with "You Say Jump". "You've got a one track mind. Wish you could just read mine. I hope you will in time." The song feels something like "I Want You to Want Me" with its sort of staccato drum and guitar delivery.

The boys from Rockford do one remake on the release, which is "Dancing the Night Away".

That's it for the original release. Some years later, Cheap Trick made an "authorized" version with a different song order and two additional tunes: "Twisted Heart" and "Don't Hit Me with Love".

"Twisted Heart" starts with a really eerie beat, screeching, broken Zander vocals, and background guitars/bass/keyboard-that-sounds-like-a-pipe-organ. Another unexpectedly good song that I didn't realize existed until I started this write-up. I mean, upon double-checking my inventory, I found that it does appear on the Sex, America, Cheap Trick collection. My fault for not listening, I s'pose.

Finally, the second of the two additional tracks added to the re-release is "Don't Hit Me with Love". It starts out with what sounds like a group of grade school kids counting down from five – as in "Lift off!" – followed by (I think) "Young astronauts… YAY!" Then it's a good, simple rocker.

"Don't try the one thing I'm so afraid of. Don't hit me, hit me, hit me, hit me, hit me. Don't hit me with love."

"But your eyes don't lie. They kick the shit outta me."

The lyrics, as always, are cool, the music is great, the selection is varied. Most of all, as with ALL things Cheap Trick, you have to watch and/or listen to the very end. You never know when you're going to miss something added where you just might not expect it.

-Mike Kimmel