Reviews: And For Our Next Trick
2023 was another banner year for melodic rock and roll. Here at Poprock Record we could spotlight only a small portion of what was go on. Still, we kept busy, writing 58,000 words over 77 posts about literally hundreds of artists. And we liked them all – that’s why we wrote about them. But some tunes had real staying power for our team of singles inspectors. So today we single out 50 should-be hit singles from 2023, songs that deserve another listen and a shot at chart glory. Click on the hyperlinks to hear each song and read the original write ups.
Getting to the main event, here are Poprock Record’s top 50 should-be hit singles from 2023:
1. Strange Neighbors “Hotline Psychic”
2. Taking Meds “Memory Lane
3. The Decibels “Why Bother With Us”
4. Good Shade “When Will You See”
5. The Goa Express “Portrait”
6. Billy Tibbals “Onwards and Upwards”
7. Strange Neighbors “Whoa! Is Me”
8. Ransom and the Subset “Perfect Crime”
9. The Tubs “I Don’t Know How It Works”
10. Buddie “Class Warfare”
11. Dignan Porch “Electric Threads”
12. The Tearaways “Easier Done Than Said”
For More see Article link
The Tearaways “And For Our Next Trick”
Given this album is on the brilliant Dirty Water records label you kind of know it’s going to be good. But when it’s described as being for fans of “garage pop” and contains “infectious earworms that command multiple spins” we knew we had to give it a listen.
The first song “Are You Effing Kidding Me” is an absolute corker of an opening track. It has a kind of psychedelic pop sound that actually reminds us of early Wilco. But with a sense of humour and fun that Wilco haven’t had for a long time (if ever!). It’s followed by “Not Good Enough” which sees the band move into an even more power pop sound. Though that pop feel is taken up to another level by “Come On Jaan”, probably our favourite song on the album.
It needs to be said that it seems like The Tearaways are really influenced by The Beatles (which power pop style band isn’t?). The great thing about that though is that it opens up a wide range of sounds. It means they can go from the classic pop of “No Love Lost” to the psychedelic sound of “Let Me Be The Last” (which also owes a nod to The Beach Boys). Our personal preference is when they add a bit of Hamburg era rock n roll to the mix like on “Saturday Everyday” and “Goodnight Nurse”.
This still leaves time for some brilliant power pop songs like “Married And Single” and “Easier Done Than Said” which recall other bands that have taken a cue from the Fab Four eg Jellyfish, Umajets etc. The ability to write great pop tracks is often not given the credit it deserves. The Tearaways certainly have the knack of writing songs that instantly appeal and it’s hard to see how anyone wouldn’t enjoy these great songs.
Blondie drummer Clem live at The Prince Albert with The Tearaways
THE TEARAWAYS + THE DEL STRANGEFISH INEXPERIENCE + THEE SHERBERT PEARDROP EXPLOSION – THE PRINCE ALBERT, BRIGHTON 1.12.23
To quote The Tearaways recent single ‘Are You Effing Kidding Me’, was my exclamation on learning that Blondie’s drummer, the actual legendary Clem Burke, who has been at their stix since 1974 is going to be playing live in Brighton at The Prince Albert with his band The Tearaways. Once again I would be able to stand a mere six feet away from the master as he went about his business of twirling his drumsticks and bashing the hell out of his kit. I attended The Tearaways previous gig here back on 23rd August 2019 and on that night Clem gave me his drumsticks, which are one of my treasured possessions.
I have actually seen Clem Burke in action a few times since that 2019 date; these being 1st July this year with Blondie who were supporting Iggy Pop (Review HERE), on 10th March this year with Sex Pistol Glen Matlock as part of ‘Lust For Life’ (Review HERE), and with Blondie on 28th April 2022 (Review HERE). It has to be said that I still get rather excited at the prospect of seeing him play, in fact just as much as my debut encounter with him when he was on drums for The Eurythmics at Brighton’s Top Rank Suite gig on 6th March 1983. I guess that Clem just really loves to drum and given the opportunity will join an outfit and head out on tour, irrespective of the size of venues that they are playing. So not surprisingly tonight’s encounter had sold out.
The Tearaways formed way back in 1980 and combine the influence of the British Invasion with the California Sound with a touch of the Ramones, Clash and Blondie thrown in to deliver high energy performances wherever they perform. Their sound however is not limited to those as you could easily throw in other names like The Bellamy Brothers, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Eagles, Jefferson Airplane, The Who, The Kinks, The Hollies, plus Squeeze and come up with The Tearaways format.
The band dropped their latest long player ‘And For Our Next Trick’ back in March and featured the dual lead singers of bassist John “Fin” Finseth and rhythm guitarist Greg Brallier, lead guitar David Hekhouse and drummer Clem Burke (Blondie). Also, from Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Benmont Tench played keyboards and Steven McCarthy (Jayhawks, The Long Ryders) added pedal steel guitar.
This evening’s gig at The Prince Albert is the final date of their short but sweet UK tour having already played London’s 100 Club on 24th and 25th November, Bristol’s Thunderbolt on 26th, and the telling inspiration of The Cavern in Liverpool last night. Judging by the equipment on stage, these lads aren’t short of a bob or two, I spy co-lead singer John’s Rickenbacker bass; whereas other vocalist Greg has a Rickenbacker guitar as well as a Martin acoustic guitar; David also has a Rickenbacker guitar and a Fender Esquire guitar; there’s also a Epiphone guitar that gets utilised half way through the set by a guest guitarist Jeff Bakersfield; and obviously there was Clem’s decent drumkit; plus a Nord Electro keyboard on offer as well by their keyboardist Willie Aron.
Clearly the band don’t appear to need the money and so are quite possibly ticking off the places of inspiration for their sound with this tour, no doubt Brighton is included because of our historic Mod influences. Tonight we get served 16 tunes that run across exactly an hour, from 9:59pm to 10:59pm. Not surprisingly, more than half of these are from the latest ‘And For Our Next Trick’ album, most of these are played first commencing with the blues rock ‘Are You F*cking Kidding Me’ which finishes with a James Bond guitar riff courtesy of David, which sets out their stall. Even after this opening number you can see how good the joint vocals from John and Greg are, and Clem’s drumming is a pleasure, whereas I would put money on David having the most fun out there!
‘Not Good Enough For Me’ from the LP was choice two and this reminded me of The Everly Brothers, whereas following tune ‘No Love Lost’ initially started with Clem’s drumming pattern being not that far off Blondie’s ‘Dreaming’, which unfortunately was the closest to Blondie we were going to be served tonight. The band’s sound is unmistakably American, like track four ‘Married And Single’ with its Country rock (Tom Petty-ish) tones, and (Yacht rocker) selections five and six ‘Power Pop, Pop Punk – Let Me Be The Last’ and ‘Easier Done Than Said’ which reminds me of The Bellamy Brothers duo, but one could argue that these sounds in themselves hark back to earlier times in the UK. Although these first selections had been relatively good, thankfully the real headshakin’ ‘Saturday Everyday’ arrived just in time in order to lift the tempo somewhat. Maybe John had realised this and stated “We are going to take you to New York City”, and he and his chums launched into ‘Come On Jaan’, which was for me certainly the right direction to be heading in, with its Heartbreakers meets Glam rock vibe. This was the eight tune in a row from the album and now they were starting to branch out.
They literally did branch out with the arrival of an additional guitarist for the rest of the set, who may or may not have been Jeff. He straps on the as yet unused Epiphone and they are away with what I suspect to be ‘I Can’t Let Go’, which I find out is an Evie Sands cover from 1965 and sounding not too unlike the Beatles. The final ‘And For Our Next Trick’ album selection comes next in the form of ‘Charlie, Keith And Ringo’ which certainly highlights exactly what Clem can do. The first of six straight covers to see them out arrives with the Small Faces 1967 ‘All Or Nothing’ which sees Greg take the lead vocal. According to the setlist, this was to be the following tune, but worry not it wasn’t going to be omitted. The rockin’ ‘California Man’ was next and I suspect that this was the same as The Move’s 1972 single. The omitted tune was next, this being their take on Joe Jones’ 1960 ‘California Sun’ single, in which David added the Beatles ‘Day Tripper’ riff at the end. Although enjoyable, it seemed slow to me, but that’s on account of hearing the Ramones version countless times.
Looking at the setlist almost beneath my feet (as I was at the very front), I noted that was the last track on their setlist. I was worried that the night might have ended. It was 10:47pm as the lads vacated the stage and surely there would be time to cram a couple more in before 11pm curfew. Thankfully the door almost immediately swung back open and they were back at it. Clem stated “Thanks everybody, we are going to play some rock roll” and they were off with ‘Going To Go-Go’ which might or might not have been the same as Smokey Robinson And The Miracles 1965 ‘Going To A Go-Go’ single. Anyway half way through I could hear they weren’t in sync and Clem called a halt and the track was aborted. They signed off with (full versions) of ‘One After 909’ by The Beatles from their 1970 ‘Let It Be’ album, followed by ‘Let It Bleed’ by The Rolling Stones from their 1969 album of the same name. At 10:59pm they were done!
It had been an enjoyable experience, with arguably nothing new in the form of sounds. It is what it is, which is a handful of truly accomplished musicians doing it for the fun of it and winning new fans along the way. The punters enjoyed themselves, as obviously did the band. Let’s hope that they fly back over this side of the pond in the not too distant future!
The Tearaways “And For Our Next Trick”
California power pop supergroup, The Tearaways are back. The band features the dual lead singers of bassist John “Fin” Finseth and rhythm guitarist Greg Brallier, lead guitar David Hekhouse and Roc
k & Roll Hall of Fame drummer Clem Burke (Blondie). They start out with the R-rated Beatlesque rocker “Are you Fucking Kidding Me?” and “Not Good Enough For Me” starts out like The Bobby Fuller Four and devolves into a Who-like jam at the end. The band’s influences are baked in, but the songs have their own unique sound.
“No Love Lost” is a brilliant melody similar to The Weeklings, but they find other compelling directions like “Let Me Be The Last” or “Emotional Distance.” The drummer tribute “Charlie, Keith and Ringo” and the bouncy “Saturday Everyday” are both power pop gold with their crisp harmonies and sugar-filled choruses. The album boasts consistently great music from beginning to end, so it will easily fall into my Top Ten album nominee list for 2023. Super highly-recommended.
The Tearaways have been darlings of the Power Pop scene for a while. This is their 6th album released in 6 years. That sort of output may mean that quality control is a bit lacking, but not here. With Blondie’s Clem Burke occupying the drum chair you would expect a high energy beat, add ex Heartbreaker Benmont Tench on piano and organ and you would wonder if the 3 core members might end up as sidemen on their own project. Not so, the strong dual lead vocals John Finseth and Greg Brallier and lead guitarist of David Hekhouse own their sound and their songs. The first brief solo comes on third song in Come On Jaan which at just 02:17 is a masterclass in economy.
By then we have had the cleaned-up version of Are You Effing Kidding Me (the uncensored version closes the album), which shows why they have brought Burke into the fold. Everything you love about the drumming on the best Blondie songs is distilled into a one short blast of fury.
Power Pop, which has a highly active following thanks to people like Bruce Brodeen of Not Lame Records and writer John Borack, embraces good old-fashioned virtues of greats song, with powerful delivery and simple, effective playing. If you want that then you can find it here. No Love Lost’s Hammond organ lead from Tench prompts David Hekhouse into Mike Campbell style flourishes. The slower tempo of Let Me Be The Last, propelled by another great groove from Burke has almost CSN level harmonies. Indeed, the twin voices used throughout the album place the sound in 1964, against a backing that could be anywhere from 1979 to 1996. If you want innovation, look elsewhere. This is just straightforward guitar pop that, while not fashionable, has everything that got us excited about pop music in the first place.
The tribute to their favourite drummers, Charlie, Keith, And Ringo, and especially Saturday, Everyday set the time machine to 1974, combining all the virtues of the best pop of that decade. Married and Single is saved from being slightly pedestrian by Hekhouse’s wonderful Stones style solo. Last song before the reprise of the opening song, Emotional Distance is the closest we get to a ballad with slide guitar and piano behind harmonies that the early Beatles would hope to emulate.
If you’ve read this thinking, “I didn’t know that Power Pop was still a thing” then this is the place to catch up. With artists like The Tearaways and Canadian singer Pennan Brae it is in good and hands and going places. Bruce Brodeen of Not Lame/Pop geek heaven produces a carefully curated Best Power Pop of the year album. IN 2023 he can save himself the trouble and just send out copies of this brilliant album
By Betrand Tappaz
The Californians are back with a new album for which they pulled out all the stops: recording at the legendary Village Recorders studios in Los Angeles under the leadership of the legendary Ed Stasium!!!
Just that !
And when we hear their songs we understand that they deserve such luxury treatment!!!
It must be said that this group has been around since the 80s and that it now includes the drummer of Blondie. So there is so much and more to know how…
And the Tearaways know how to use it wisely!!!
Musically they evolve, with delicacy, elegance and agility in a historic Power Pop channel niche in which we immediately recognize that they come from California as their songs are full of sunshine and joie de vivre!!!
My god how good is this album!
The quintessence of everything you dream of hearing in Power Pop:
And For Our Next Trick. The Tearaways
The only difference being that The Tearaways are no longer young men. The veterans comes up with pop perfection leaning heavily on the days of old, while using every trick in the book available to them. To great success, as this album is a pop joy to listen to.
It starts with the dual vocal delivery of John “Fin” Finseth and Greg Brallier. Their singing is so good. They find every harmony there is to find in a vocal melody. Their voices blend and go apart to create different moods all over the album. They sing together as they were put upon this world with one purpose only: sing together. And they do, I promise you.
With a lead guitarist who is not into huge solo’s taking the attention away from the singing but all about embellishing each song with fine notes, strong accents and little melodies the band has another strong feature. David Hekhouse is a modest lead guitarist who has everything down in a Peter Buck and Roger McGuinn style of guitar playing.
In Clem Burke the band has its most famous member. The Blondie drummer is a band member since 1981. On organ you hear Heartbreaker Benmont Tench, who has a considerable contribution to And For Our Next Trick.
The question is how far can this record go. It is totally anachronistic. It’s sound coming straight out of the past as if a time machine made a mistake and put it out last week instead of 1966 or so. My take is The Tearaways have made this record for people like me, who can really enjoy music from decades ago, caught in originals in this decade. Yes, I know, it has all been done before and in some cases better like in The Beatles hear-a-like ‘Goodnight Nurse’, (‘Dr. Robert’, anyone) but still it sounds so good. That is the fun and the joy of listening to And For Our Next Trick. Above all, this album is well written and made with veteran producer Ed Stasium. Not since ‘Catch-All’, Swag’s album from 2001, have I heard a band having this much fun with the past as The Tearaways have here.
Now, I was under the impression that the band with And For Our Next Trick released its first record, but then I found on Wikipedia it is around since the 1980s. The lemma gives no discography. The band’s Bandcamp page only gives this record and the single ‘Charlie, Keith, Ringo’, that can be found on this blog in a review as well. The band’s own website provides the answer. This is the sixth album and first with British label Dirty Water Records.
Wout de Natris
The Tearaways – And For Our Next Trick
The Tearaways had been out of my peripheral view since 1993’s See The Sound. So when their latest dropped into my lap, I had no real expectations. Frankly, I didn’t remember that much about them. And For Our Next Trick, their latest, is a very pleasant surprise. The hooks are plentiful, the attitude undeniable and it’s got the most memorable track of 2023 so far.
Influences are numerous on this one. “Not Good Enough For Me” is propelled by a Buddy Holly beat while “Come On Jaan” channels the reckless abandon of The Fleshtones. One can hear The Who in parts of “No Love Lost.”
And the award goes to….
The über-jangly “Easier Done Than Said” is a real earworm while “Married and Single” is so catchy you’re sure to be humming along to it consciously or otherwise.
Greg Pope gave us the most memorable song of 2022 with “Sorry I Wrote This Song”. This year’s nomination has to go to The Tearaways’ “You Must Be Fu**ing Kidding Me”. With a delivery straight out of White Album era Beatles and immediate visceral appeal, it’s an instant classic.
Out Now on Dirty Water Records
New album: The Tearaways || And For Our Next Trick
By Dennis / March 29, 2023 / Garage Rock, Power Pop / Leave a Comment
If you would like to buy The Tearaways‘ 1981 debut 7″ Sounds Like now, you will have to bring about $150. The good news is that – over 40 years later – the Californian supergroup is still making music that is at least as good as it was in their early days, and you can download their new full-length And For Our Next Trick for a lousy £8. John “Fin” Finseth (vocals, bass), Greg Brallier (vocals, rhythm guitar), David Hekhouse (lead guitar) and Clem Burke (drums), joined by Benmont Tench (keys) and Steven McCarthy (pedal steel), know all the moves for maximum effect, performed here in full force. All our favorite labels apply to these twelve songs: catchy, energetic, melodic, fun, powerful, and so on. This is classic power pop for modern ages. You’ll hear the unambiguous Are You Fucking Kidding Me in two versions, and a successful homage to Charlie, Keith and Ringo. More valuable than the price tag suggests.
THE TEARAWAYS – And For Our Next Trick (Dirty Water Records, www.dirtywaterrecords.co.uk)
Dirty Water Records is a UK label best known for championing the garage and rock and roll revival. Dirty Water: dirty music for dirty people may as well be their tagline, because their usual fare is music from the seedy back alleys and dark underbelly of rock and roll. And thank the gods for it! But Dirty Water has been branching out lately, and their new release from California’s The Tearaways is a good example of this. The band has much cleaner sound than is typical of Dirty Water releases, blending 70s power pop with 60s California beach pop and British Invasion sounds. The music is bright and sunny, just like the band’s Santa Barbara hometown, and it’s chock full of jangly guitars and beautifully harmonized vocals. Check out the track, “Are You Fucking Kidding Me,” which is included in both regular and radio edit versions. It sounds like a cross between The Beatles and 70s glam, and is sure to get your head nodding and your toes tapping. “Come On Jaan” strongly channels the Beatles, too, with its harmonies, melody, rhythm, guitar licks. I enjoy the rolling sounds of “Not Good Enough For Me,” that feeling coming from the power of the rhythm section, and the harmonized vocals meshing well with the retro guitar riffs. The previously released single, “Charlie, Keith, and Ringo,” is a brilliant homage to the drummers for The Rolling Stones, The Who, and the Beatles,” harkening back to big 70s arena glam rock sounds. This is an unexpected release from Dirty Water Records, but it’s a welcome one.
A Fabulous “Trick” From The Tearaways
And For Our Next Trick also includes some terrific 1980s infused tunes like the gorgeous “No Love Lost” and the propulsive “Not Good Enough” which recall the alterna-pop/rock sounds of artists like Marshall Crenshaw, The Smithereens, and The Outfield, with a dash of Elvis Costello tossed into the mix. Fans of well-crafted rock/pop will definitely dig the crunchy, guitar-drenched “Goodnight Nurse,” the compelling ballad “Emotional Distance,” and the exuberant “Saturday Everyday.” The disc also features a cool tribute to three iconic drummers on the excellent “Charlie, Keith and Ringo.”
The band’s boundless energy and passion for their music comes through on every track. Their vocals and instrumental work are top notch, and the guest appearances by Benmont Tench, of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers fame, on keyboards, and Steven McCarthy from The Jayhawks and The Long Ryders, on pedal steel guitar, enhance the expert musicianship on the disc. It’s no surprise that the album has strong echoes of classic power pop and 1980s alternative rock, as the record was produced by the one and only Ed Stasium, who’s worked with everyone from The Smithereens, Hoodoo Gurus and The Ramones to Living Colour and Talking Heads.
And For Our Next Trick will be like manna from heaven for devotees of The Tearaways’ marvelous melange of rock, power pop, and alternative sounds. If you’re not already a fan of the band and their superlative music, this album will turn you into a believer. These dazzling, hook-filled tunes will get stuck in your head, and you’ll most certainly be adding this remarkable record to your regular music rotation. And For Our Next Trick is now available from the UK based label Dirty Water Records. Here’s a link to the video for “Saturday Everyday,” the album’s first single: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0uSC4GntwU.