Jim Derogatis/Chicago SunTimes
Top album of 2003!
Top 10 albums of 2003
Cherrywine, "Bright Black" DCide/Babygrande
Deftones, "Deftones" (Maverick)
Granddaddy, "Sumday" (V2)
Macy Gray, "The Trouble With Being Myself" (Epic)
Longwave, "The Strangest Things" (RCA)
Outkast, "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below" (LaFace)
The Strokes, "Room on Fire" (RCA)
Thursday, "War All the Time" (Island)
Wire, "Send" (Pink Flag)
Neil Young, "Greendale" (Reprise)
The next 50: Alkaline Trio, "Good Mourning"; And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, "Source Tags & Codes"; Janet Bean, "Dragging Wonder Lake"; Bettie Serveert, "Log 22"; Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, "Take Them On, On Your Own"; David Bowie, "Reality"; Buzzcocks, "Buzzcocks"; Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, "Nocturama"; Coheed and Cambria, "In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3"; Consonant, "Love and Affliction"; Dashboard Confessional, "A Mark, a Mission, a Brand, a Scar"; Death Cab for Cutie, "Transatlanticism"; the Dirty Three, "She Has No Strings Apollo."
Even in Blackouts, "Myths & Imaginary Magicians"; Fallout Boy, "Take This to Your Grave"; the Fleshtones, "Do You Swing?"; Michael Franti and Spearhead, "Everyone Deserves Music"; THE GOLDSTARS, "GOTTA GET OUT!"; Al Green, "I Can't Stop"; the High Llamas, "Beet, Maize and Corn"; Jane's Addiction, "Strays"; Candye Kane, "Whole Lotta Love"; Kelis, "Tasty"; King Crimson, "The Power to Believe"; Kraftwerk, "Tour de France Soundtracks"; Local H, "The No Fun EP"; the Mekons, "Punk Rock."
John Mellencamp, "Trouble No More"; Mest, "Mest"; Midstates, "Shadowing Ghosts"; Ministry, "Animositisomina"; Oranger, "Shutdown the Sun"; Peaches, "Fatherf----r"; Pink, "Try This"; the Raveonettes, "Chain Gang of Love"; Lou Reed, "The Raven"; Spiritualized, "Amazing Grace"; Stereolab, "Instant O in the Universe"; Stew, "Something Deeper Than These Changes"; the Stratford 4, "Love & Distortion"; Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros, "Streetcore"; Supergrass, "Life on Other Planets"; the Supersuckers, "Motherf------ Be Trippin'"; Thrice, "The Artist in the Ambulance"; the Thrills, "So Much for the City"; Throwing Muses, "Throwing Muses"; Paul Weller, "Illumination"; the White Stripes, "Elephant"; Yeah Yeah Yeahs, "Fever to Tell"; Yo La Tengo, "Summer Sun."
...The Goldstars can play it hard, but know that garage rock can be quite poppy.
The highest compliment I can pay The Goldstars is that if you put this disc in a five-CD carousel with discs from some of the original late-‘70s/early-‘80s garage rock revivalists (like The Lyres, The Chesterfield Kings, The Fleshtones and The Vipers -- Hey! That's four right there), they would sound like they belonged. While many garage rockers nowadays seem to stick with one or two basic ideas, like a lot of the original revivalists, The Goldstars can play it hard, but know that garage rock can be quite poppy.
So this is a record made for WLS Chicago (the city The Goldstars call home) circa 1967. The band has a great front man in Sal (a/k/a Matt Favazza), who used to man the drum kit for promising power poppers The Krinkles . In fact, since the band debuted a couple of years ago, Sal has found a bluesy vocal style that compliments his exuberant stage presence. Skipper (keyboards) and Good Time (drums) of The New Duncan Imperials are also spot on, with Good Time frequently laying down an old-fashioned dance beat and Skipper adding color with everything from warm deep organ sounds to tinny Farfisa-alike runs. These three started the band with original guitarist The Raven, just jamming to songs from the Nuggets box set. Though The Raven had to leave, his ultimate replacement was Dag Juhlin, who has fronted the beloved Chicago band The Slugs for 20 years.
Juhlin's one songwriting contribution, "Hurry Up and Wait", is one of the clear highlights of the collection. The song has both a strong opening riff and a Zombies-cum-Animals melody, with Sal doing the angry young man thing at the mike. The chorus is a simple R & B shout out. Garage rock is built on pithy phrases, and the title of this song is a perfect example. Skipper's tinny keyboard solo provides a nice last respite before the last bits of bile (catchy bile though) get spewed at the end, along with a nice final freak out guitar solo. Yet that song crawls when compared to "Oh Yeah". Good Time plays at a galloping pace on a song that is rhythm, rhythm, and more rhythm. It sounds like the early J. Geils Band hopped up on speed.
The band can also get low down and gritty. Live staple "Devil Queen" is a bluesy howl in the tradition of laments like The Kinks' "I'm Not Like Everybody Else". Here, Skipper plays a warm organ part, which combines with Juhlin's dramatic guitar part to give the song the proper foggy nefarious feel. Album closer "Gotta Get Out" is also pretty salacious, with Sal really exaggerating his vocals, which works on this song.
Like the garage bands of the ‘80s, The Goldstars are not afraid of pop. So there is some more lighthearted stuff here, on two delightful cover tunes. They do a fine job on The Gestures' "Run Run Run", with a deft performance, particular behind the skins. "Open Up Your Door" is more of a blend of garage and pop, which is all the better suited to their approach. The backing vocals are really strong here.
The Goldstars are a retro breath of fresh air for the Chicago music scene. Despite a legacy of great garage rock from bands like Shadows Of Knight and labels like Dunwich and Qull records, Chicago has fallen way behind Detroit when it comes to bands playing this classic rock and roll style. I hope The Goldstars can keep it rocking and other bands will join ‘em in spreading the gospel of the beat.
...they kick out the jams with thunderous passion on their debut album
December 14, 2003
DEAD ELECTRIC, "KICKS" (DEADELECTRIC.COM)
THE GOLDSTARS, "GOTTA GET OUT!" (PRAVDA)
THE GO, "THE GO" (LIZARD KING)
The so-called New Garage revival roars on with considerable grit and gusto, but while the most celebrated of these bands hail from Detroit (from the Gories to the Go, with the White Stripes at the head of the class), not all of the genre's prime purveyors boast Motor City zip codes.
Dead Electric is firmly rooted in the classic Detroit sound, with a heavy Stooges influence, but it came together in summer 2002 from the ashes of Chicago's Plastics Hi-Fi and Young & Pretty. The group makes its recorded debut with a D.I.Y. EP, offering five faster-louder-snottier slices of fuzz-driven kick-butt grunge, including the incendiary title track.
The Goldstars also have deep roots in the Chicago scene; in fact, they're a supergroup of sorts, featuring guitarist-about-town Dag Juhlin (the Slugs, Poi Dog Pondering) and members of the New Duncan Imperials and the Krinkles. Like Dead Electric, they kick out the jams with thunderous passion on their debut album, but they display a lot more wit in the lyrics and some great Farfisa organ underscoring the melodies of tunes such as "Where's My Ring" and "Babblin' Brook."
Meanwhile, back in Motown, the Go (which once counted Jack White among its members) has released a strong, 14-track, self-titled effort that colors its particular brand of oil-stained, "Nuggets"-inspired rock 'n' roll with hints of T. Rex glam-pop, Southern rock, and blues (on the White Stripes-style "Summer's Gonna Be My Girl").
These discs don't offer much in the way of diversity, but that isn't exactly the point: This is old-fashioned party-rock circa 1966. Just grab a six pack, disconnect your brain, and lose yourself in the sound and fury.
a wild, no-frills romp...
(REVIEW BY RUTLEDGE)
Listening to the Goldstars’ energetic, Nuggets-inspired, “meat & potatoes” rock n’ roll tunes, I can’t help but think this must be a GREAT band to see live. I bet ya they get on stage and just SMOKE! That isn’t to say they aren’t pretty good in the studio as well, but I think you probably know what I mean. Would I listen to this record a lot? Probably not. But if the Goldstars came to rock my town, I’d wanna be there for sure...taking in the raunchy, goodtime dance party amongst the drunken working stiffs lookin’ to escape their shit jobs and horribly disappointing lives.
No, this band isn’t doing anything original. And yes, there are countless groups out there right now doing the garage/rock n’ roll thing. One could even say that this genre is coming dangerously close to being “played out”. But still, I can’t help but like this album. Rock n’ roll isn’t about originality; it’s about pure energy, gutsy attitude, and winning melodies. Duh!
The Goldstars are a Chicago super-group featuring Skipper and Goodtime from the New Duncan Imperials, Sal from The Krinkles, and Dag Juhlin from The Slugs. And what they bring to the table are some serious CHOPS. These guys aren’t overprivileged little hipster shits who just discovered the Sonics six months ago; they’re road-tested rock n’ roll veterans who know their 60s R & B and CAN REALLY FUCKING PLAY. And they’ve written some damn catchy tunes to boot (“Where’s My Ring”, “Hurry Up and Wait”). I’ve run out of things to say about this kind of music, but suffice it to say that the Goldstars do it better than most. Let me consult my Book of Rockwriter Clichés and come up with a few relevant to this album: raw, high energy, Farfisa-driven rock n’ roll with hints of Motor City muscle....a wild, no-frills romp that owes nothing whatsoever to the past 35 years of “musical progress”...a disc that damn well ought to get you dancin’ and shakin’ mere seconds after you push the “play” button.
If the songs weren’t so good, this album would be filed under “tired, derivative retro crap”. But the songs are good, so let’s just say that Gotta Get Out! is the latest in a long line of “timeless rock n’ roll” gems.
---Lord Rutledge, opinionated asshole