BIG STIR RECORDS and Power Pop Hall-Of-Famers THE FLASHCUBES are proud to announce the August 11 release of the first full-length album of their partnership: POP MASTERS. The single-most requested release in the label's history, the new album collects all of the long-running NY State band's recent guest-star-studded singles covering the guitar pop classics of the past five decades, together with new tribute tracks (including the current single “Forget About You”) for the definitive presentation of the beloved collaborative covers series. Hitting record store shelves and online retailers worldwide as a CD and all streaming services on the street date, POP MASTERS is up for pre-order/pre-save now (orcd.co/theflashcubes-popmasters
). Guest shots from many of the original artists on these fresh versions of underground classics by SHOES, PILOT, THE SPONGETONES, PEZBAND, PALEY BROTHERS and more make the album a must for fans of THE FLASHCUBES, the artists celebrated here, and perfect, short-and-sweet guitar pop in the past, present and future tense.
THE FLASHCUBES are as venerable and vibrant as they come, bursting out of Syracuse, NY in 1977 with the same lineup they have today – guitarists Paul Armstrong and Arty Lenin, bassist Gary Frenay and drummer Tommy Allen. During their initial lifespan of 1977-1980, the Flashcubes released only two singles, "Christi Girl" and "Wait Til Next Week," both now acknowledged as guitar pop classics. They always seemed on the brink of bigger things - everyone who knew them just presumed The Flashcubes would become stars. And while those big things never materialized, their legend only grew, so that by the time the band reunited in the '90s, as powerful and poppy as ever, they were recognized as the heroes they'd always been. They haven't looked back since, with a string of acclaimed albums and a reputation as a world-class live act to their credit and no end in sight.
For the past two years, THE FLASHCUBES have been delighting global radio audiences and followers of the power pop sound with a series of singles, all pursuing an ingenious gambit: covering the songs of their rough contemporaries in the creation of the modern power pop song, and enlisting the original artists for prominent guest shots. It all kicked off with their July 2021 debut for Big Stir Records, a new version of fellow Power Pop Hall Of Famers PEZBAND's classic “Baby It's Cold Outside” with the tune's original writer and singer MIMI BETINIS sharing vocal duties. Fans clamored for more, and the band and label were happy to oblige: 2022 kicked off with the band going it alone on an artist-endorsed version of DWIGHT TWILLEY BAND's “Alone In My Room” before the guests artists returned for the next whirlwind run of one-off releases. The full classic lineup of SHOES joined the 'Cubes on a rendition of the Chicago darlings' beloved “Tomorrow Night”, both PALEY BROTHERS guested on their own “Come Out And Play”, and THE SPONGETONES – yes, also Hall Of Fame inductees, and yes, now Big Stir Records labelmates with our heroes – brought their renowned vocal firepower to the biggest of the many hits in the series, “Have You Ever Been Torn Apart?”
As THE FLASHCUBES continued to turn the should-have-been-hits of yesterday into indie radio smashes for the 21st century, they dipped back to salute their key influences as well as their contemporaries. The proto-Raspberries outfit CYRUS ERIE's RANDY KLAWON added guitar to a new version of the band's “Get The Message” while New York Dolls guitarist STEVE CONTE ably glammed up the 'Cubes' take on SLADE's “Gudbuy T'Jane.” And PILOT main man DAVID PATON joined the the fun on an inspired reading of his band's “Get Up And Go” (a single from 1977, the year the THE FLASHCUBES came together). The inspired pairings of tunes and collaborators showed no sign of letting up.
By this stage, though, fans were demanding more than just more singles. Clearly a full-length album was in order, and it will come as no surprise that the new album POP MASTERS was in the cards all along. Apropos to their legacy and stature as the the hosts of all the pop party, THE FLASHCUBES in all their four-piece glory have announced the album with the rip-roaring new track “Forget About You,” originally recorded by THE MOTORS. It's one of four new tracks on which THE FLASHCUBES tackle the classics from across the decades as only they can. They bring POP MASTERS to a round dozen never-before-collected artifacts of ageless hooks and harmony, served up anew in the inimitable 'Cubes style and sounding fresher than ever.
On a modern music scene perhaps oversaturated with tribute albums, POP MASTERS is something truly special. Not only is it a new dispatch from a still-vital group of power pop pioneers, and not only is its authenticity burnished by the many guests THE FLASHCUBES have invited to the party... it's also a unique assemblage of songs that could only have been chosen by true fans. Naturally, THE FLASHCUBES could have selected a fistful of far more obvious pop rock chestnuts, all the easier to catch the eyes and ears of “the casuals”... and let's be honest, they would have nailed two sides' worth of Beatles, Byrds, Badfinger and Big Star. But what we have here is something altogether more engrossing and unique. Songs picked by compulsive record collectors with the keenest of ears, ornamented with all-star assistance by friends from their enviable contacts list, and delivered with the swagger and drive cultivated over four decades of legendary live performances, and yet shot through with the youthful abandon the material demands.
It's a loving look at the past, but it's just too palpably “new” and “now” to be mistaken for a mere nostalgia trip. Take the album's title as you will: THE FLASHCUBES themselves are indisputable POP MASTERS, and here they pay homage to others equally deserving of the title. The result is a record which, however you may categorize it – tribute collection, collaborative party, or simply the band's much-anticipated next studio album – will inevitably be ranked among the year's best, and an absolute essential for guitar pop fans of any age. Big Stir Records takes great pride in bringing it to you.