The End Records
12" LP, colored vinyl
Fans of well-done power pop rejoice! Singer Victoria Liedtke and multi-instrumentalist Ginger Wildheart, collectively known as Hey! Hello!, have released a 10-song effort that fans of the genre will fall in love with instantly.
The duo is obviously influenced by bands like Cheap Trick and leadoff track "Black Valentine" is especially Trick-like; full of ringing guitar and harmonized vocals the song is such pop perfection that upon first exposure many listeners will undoubtedly run to the turntable and play it again before moving on to the rest of the album.
And more treasures lie within: "Why Can't I Be Me Without You" uses a seldom-heard device where the song's title is delivered a word at a time in brief start-and-stop blasts of high harmony that make it impossible not to sing along, and the ELO-influenced "Swimwear" is all perky sweetness custom made for fun-in-the-sun even though lyrically it has nothing to do with a day at the beach. "Lock For Rock (And Other Sporting Cliches)," like "Black Valentine," is another to drool over and play again and again.
There isn't a weak moment on Hey! Hello! and many power pop aficionados will find the album nothing short of a wet dream. Packaged in a gatefold cover featuring trippy art by Frank Kozik. You can order it here.
The End Records
12" LP, white, green or pink vinyl
The opening song on this debut from stoner rock trio American Sharks is called "Iron Lungs" but it easily could have been called "Leather Lungs" in tribute to the presentation of lead singer Mike Hardin's voice.
Hardin's vocals are not of the screaming demon sort favored by so many metal groups but effects are used throughout and the fact that he therefore growls like a 'Luded-out biker or a personality from one of Ozzy's nightmares is what makes American Sharks so interesting.
"Satan's Overture Pt. 1" finds the band sludge-ifying the riff from Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love," "Freak Out" is essentially a brief garage rock piece that the band mercilessly pummels into the earth and "Indian Man" lurches along to a big rhythm that fans of Judas Priest will recognize.
Many fans of stoner rock will dig American Sharks mostly for the dark and heavy riffing but those who connect with Hardin's non-traditional vocal styling may very well have a new favorite band on their hands. Packaged in a gatefold sleeve and with a code to download a digital copy.
Various vinyl colors are available here.