BIG STIR SINGLES: THE SEVENTH WAVE sees release on CD and Digital formats on Saturday, September 26 and is up for pre-order at www.bigstirrecords.com/store
now. The second entry in the series to collect our weekly Digital Singles issued during the Pandemic Era, it showcases the artists of the global pop rock community, from LA to Detroit, NYC, Scotland, Germany and beyond, responding to chaos and uncertainty with a wide range of artistic beauty. It's all on display here across 11 pairs of A-Sides and B-Sides (and one standalone bonus track): cathartic rock and roll escape, gallows humor, political protest, contemplative melancholy, and a healthy dose of absurdist what-the-hell-let's-just-hit-record abandon, all presented with the hooks, harmony and wit for which Big Stir Records is known. The Seventh Wave features liner notes from MIKE DEANGELIS of THERE ONCE WAS A NOTE and delightful cover art from NADJA DEE of HOP ON POWER POP, continuing our tradition of presenting each Wave as a self-contained record with its own unique identity.
Originally released between May 1 and June 26 of 2020 and including a number of tracks not available anywhere else on physical media, this run of Big Stir Singles would rate as one of our strongest in any cultural context, but resonate deeply with – or at times, refreshing counter to – these times.
The Seventh Wave features, in release order:
THE INCURABLES (Detroit, MI) in their BSR debut with “Far Away” and “Soda Pop”, both amply demonstrating why they're the leading lights on the modern garage rock scene (and why we can't wait to see them live when this current crisis is finally over)! They also just might provide the most supercharged opening track we've ever had to kick off a Wave. It's the first physical release for both tracks.
THE EX QUARANTEENS (Los Angeles), with a poignantly funny and twangy early-pandemic ballad of romantic isolation called “We'll All Drink Alone Together” penned by Jim Cushinery and Simon Glickman of THE EX TEENS. It's the physical media bow for this modern classic tearjerker.
ANTON BARBEAU (Berlin, Germany/Sacramento, CA) continuing to pit his US and UK backing bands KENNY and THRUST against each other on, respectively, the timely A-Side “Land of Economy” and the B-Side “Please Look At My Teeth”, the latter of which appears here on CD for the first time.
THE CORNER LAUGHERS (Northern California) appear in two guises: as themselves, with “The Calculating Boy” from their celebrated new album Temescal Telegraph, and as their slightly-more-psych alter-egos AGONY AUNTS on the B-Side “Countless Psalms” (another physical media exclusive for The Seventh Wave).
BROKEN ARROWS (Kansas City, MO) offer up their swan songs, with the last two tracks recorded before their dissolution... leaving us with the fine Byrdsian protest songs “Worst Of The Rest” and “When I Was A Boy”, each a sign of the times worthy of their inspiration. They're also exclusives to the collection.
RICK HROMADKA (Los Angeles), the main man of MAPLE MARS and a legend of the LA guitar pop scene, gave us an early preview of his wonderful solo album BETTER DAYS (it's out now on Soda Star Records) in the form of its irresist lead single “Searchlight”, accompanied by the beautiful “Dreams Of A Hippy Summer” on the virtual flip side.
NICK FRATER (Croydon, UK), the latest addition to the Big Stir Records roster, contributes two of the no fewer than fifty-nine mini-compositions that made up his daily Instagram series, appropriately later collected on his 59 VIGNETTES CD. “Intro” and “Say It's Alright” serve here as fascinating interludes and examples of what Nick's brilliantly inventive mind has been up to during the COVID-19 crisis and between full length releases (his FAST & LOOSE album is next on BSR's slate, out September 19).
CAROL PACEY & THE HONEY SHAKERS (Phoenix, AZ) check in from both sides of the pandemic timeline, with the raucous “If Romance Is Dead Then I Want To Be Dead Too” from their recent, rocking album BLISS, and the more delicate, post-lockdown acoustic jewel “Love Does”, which is available nowhere else (and is lovely)!
THE FORTY NINETEENS (Southern California) create a garage rock dream team with STANDELLS legend TONY VALENTINO on “Late Night Radio”, one of our most star-studded (and widely-played) singles, backed with their own excellent “Crocodile Tears” from their prior album GOOD FORTUNE. The A-side is an instant classic that goes out to all of the wonderful DJs who’ve kept our bands and others on the airwaves with stations and studios closed across the globe... and this marks its first appearance on CD.
EMPTY CITY SQUARES (NYC) with two brand new tracks from an ambitious album-in-progress, the first new music from main man John Fotiadis (“Yanni to his friends”!) since the breakthrough 337 album in 2019. Both “Parmenides” and “History Rhymes” make their physical media debut here!
KAI DANZBERG (Hanover, Germany) released the first single from his ROCKSHOW album with us: the A-Side “Let Him Go” featuring guest vocalist DEAR STELLA, and the exclusive earlier solo demo of the song as “Let Her Go”. ROCKSHOW has garnered terrific notices, while the B-side will remain exclusive to this disc.
THE VAPOUR TRAILS (Aberdeen, Scotland): On loan from our friends at FUTUREMAN RECORDS, the multigenerational guitar pop heroes have won acclaim for their just-out GOLDEN SUNSHINE album, less than a year after their beloved debut. We're thrilled to have issued the second single from the record, “Strange”, and its non-album B-side “A Bit More Fire”, as strong a track as anything on the album and not to be found elsewhere on CD.
The BIG STIR DIGITAL SINGLES SERIES continues into its Eighth Wave at www.bigstirrecords.com
with a new A- and B-side each Friday, as well as special bonus releases. We'll hit our 100th single this fall!
released September 26, 2020
Compilation Produced and Curated by Rex Broome and Christina Bulbenko
Mastered by Nick Frater
Artwork and Art Design by Nadja Dee
Liner Notes: Mike DeAngelis
Singles Series Manager: Doug McGuire
The Vapour Trails appear courtesy of FUTUREMAN RECORDS
The Big Stir Singles Series continues with Wave Eight at www.bigstirrecords.com
BIG STIR SINGLES: THE SEVENTH WAVE Liner Notes
As we park our Woody, walk along the sand to the edge of the shore, waiting for Big Stir's Seventh Wave to roll, cascade, and wash over us, know that this isn't the whole story, simply the latest chapter. What makes the Big Stir Records unique is a keen community understanding that art, like life, reinvents itself daily. Art is not a leather-bound book on a dusty shelf. It lives, it breathes, it laughs, it runs along the beach, it jangles and feeds back cannot be tamed, only loved. Welcome to the show.
The Incurables open the proceedings with "Far Away," a song that could be a punk pop take on Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire," and that’s just for starters. The band is the greatest muscle car to roll out of Detroit in decades, and they return later on the disc with "Soda Pop," a 007-ish Shindig / Hullabaloo cautionary tale of not shaking it up, or it might explode...wise words as you venture through the rest of this album.
Psych Godfather-slash-Wunderkind Anton Barbeau appears in two guises...with Kenny and Thrust..."Sometimes you gotta lay your head down, sometimes you gotta put your foot down, and open up your ears..." You can probably skip the opening paragraph of these liner notes and use "Land of Economy" as your Sherpa to guide you through the land of Big Stir.
The Corner Laughers also wear dual hats, returning as Agony Aunts. "Calculating Boy" is a sweet, melodic modern-day Aesop's Fable in which young girls start to twitch, and everyone begins to itch, as the calculating boy comes 'round the bend. In "Countless Psalms," Karla Kane asks the timeless question "Why don't they just keep me in line?" Can you see a pattern developing here?
Rick Hromadka brings us "Searchlight"..."The more they keep coming, the more I run for sanctuary"...if it's not a metaphor for 2020 in general, you could adopt it as your own. "Dreams of a Hippy Summer" is sublime and melodic, filled with lighter-than-air harmonies and a brilliant guitar solo.
Carol Pacey & The Honey Shakers fly out of the chute with the revved-up CowPunk stomper "If Romance Is Dead Then I Want To Be Dead Too" before we ask "Wait, is this the same band?" as they return for the fragile, beautiful "Love Does." At this point, another piece of the Big Stir puzzle becomes brilliantly clear...true artists follow the Muse, whether she leads you into a peaceful wooded glen, or hands you a quarter so you can ride the mechanical bull. It's all art, it's all life, it's all one beating heart.
The Forty Nineteens cause global jaws to drop and hit the dance floor as they unite with a gentleman who makes the term "living legend" woefully inadequate, Tony Valentino of The Standells. "Late Night Radio" is a sly love letter to the hip cats who spin hip stacks of wax all over the world, turbo-charged with the psychedelic splendor of the aforementioned Mister V, and the feeling that you're in a white room with black curtains, and hey...there's the station. The F-19s return with "Crocodile Tears," a BritPop-flavored high energy salvo of garage goodness.
Empty City Squares bring their A-game on their Big Stir debut single with "Parmenides" and "History Rhymes." All of the elements are in place, it's tight, well-written, smart, melodic music that leaves a benign Cheshire Cat grin behind long after the last notes fade.
Kai Danzberg offers two takes on a song, "Let Him Go" (with Dear Stella) and his 2019 solo demo of the same song, "Let Her Go." The duo version is fantastic, hard-charging, anthemic pop, while Kai's version is equally powerful, a little more wistful, but infused with the same irresistible energy.
Big Stir collaborated once again with Futureman Records for the Vapour Trails single "Strange," from their new "Golden Sunshine" album. The song is laid-back, cool, swirling psychedelia with a soupcon of prime Donovan, while the non-album B-side "A Bit More Fire" is another relaxed, confident, in-the-pocket example of what this band does best.
...and as we roll into the driveway, turn off the ignition, and take our keys, our cathartic day at Big Stir's rock and roll beach comes to a close. A new adventure awaits you weekly with each new Digital Single, and the sun never goes down on the phenomenal artists you'll find on Big Stir Singles: The Seventh Wave.
-Mike DeAngelis, THERE ONCE WAS A NOTE