Stag – Midtown Sizzler (Self Released)

This is Stag’s debut album, but the Seattle band is made up of rock vets you may know from their prior work in bands like Alcohol Funnycar, Sanford Arms, That Petrol Emotion, The Mellors, and couple of others. Stag’s “thing” is a potent concoction of ’70s power-pop, punk and glam that’s refreshingly ignorant of the past few decades of “progress”. It’s the kind of stuff greying rockers of a certain vintage (myself included) go nuts for, and sure enough Midtown Sizzler delivers the rifftastic rock’n’roll thrills we all want but rarely get these days. Stag doesn’t go to great pains to mask the inspirations behind their songs, and half the fun of the album is playing “name that influence” for it’s brief twenty-five minute runtime. “Come On” is pure Faces pastiche, “Rosemarie” is a Cheap Trick-ified stab at early-Who, and there’s a feint hint of The Saints’ soul-punk explorations lurking beneath the surface throughout several songs. The band peaks on “Bedazzler”, an almost perfect recreation of anthemic early-’70s glam rock a la T-Rex and Gary Glitter. I don’t know why songs like this can’t be hits anymore, but it’s a damn shame. The only song I didn’t really connect with is the Badfingers-style ballad “Pictures”, which is decent but not affecting enough to warrant it’s spot among all those upbeat rock tunes. Even with that one miss, Stag’s opening volley has something exciting for people who like their rock fun and pretension-free.