Tag Archives: TSAR

TSAR Returns with THE DARK STUFF Ep!

If there’s one thing that I love, it’s finding out that a band I really love has put out new music.  But what I love even more is when a band I’ve completely written off as “disbanded” returns with new music. LA rockers TSAR put out two phenomenal albums that really didn’t get the attention they deserved.


Their self-titled debut album is more than worthy of a CLASSIC ALBUMS REVISITED post and their last record, BAND GIRLS MONEY was worthy follow-up that proved the band wasn’t a fluke.  But then something happened, I don’t know because I’m not in LA and I don’t follow that scene…but TSAR went away.  Then, a few days ago, I was prepping my iPhone for a trip and what do I see on Spotify? Brand-spanking new TSAR music.

THE DARK STUFF is an Ep of five songs; all killer, no filler power-pop perfection.  Upon first listen, I was surprised at how dark THE DARK STUFF really is.  Sure, the music is still sugary and fun; but TSAR aren’t pulling any punches–these songs have a real bite to them.  The first song, “Punctual Alcoholic” is a demented, spooky song that appropriately name-checks Stephen King.  The phrase punctual alcoholic  is one of those really good TSAR-isms that I’ve been missing over the last few years.  

Despite being really well-produced, the song was a bit of shock in that it wasn’t as hyper-produced as the songs from BAND GIRLS MONEY.  It’s a really good, really catchy song that instantly reminded me why I love this band.

The second track, “Police Station” is a more straight-forward rocker and sounded more akin to the songs from the band’s last album, but toned down and more thoughtful.  I especially like the reference’s to “Teen Wizards,” another of the band’s songs.  “Little Woman” returns to the darker, melodic quality that gives the Ep it’s name.

The best song on THE DARK STUFF is the last track, “Something Bad Happened To Me.”  Like “Punctual Alcoholic,” it’s more restrained than the band’s previous album but edgier.  It’s like a haunted-house where the music is provided by Cheap Trick by way of George Harrison, The Cars, and Steely Dan.  It’s a very cool, multi-faceted song that seamlessly morphs from acoustic noodle to electric monster.

TSAR is still a great power pop band, but with THE DARK STUFF the band seems to be moving away from the endless-partyrock sensability and more textured, mature rock.  I didn’t think it would be possible for TSAR to come back and actually be more interesting than they already were, but with THE DARK STUFF the band has proven that not only are they back but they’re better than ever.  I only hope that we don’t have to wait long for the full album.

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“Silver Shifter” By TSAR

I’m a sucker for catchy-pop songs.  What I really love is when a band sneaks up from nowhere and beans me on the head with an amazingly catchy song.  A really good song will implant itself in your brain–a truly great one will feel like it’s always been there. The first time I heard “Silver Shifter” by L.A. rockers TSAR I felt like it had always been with me. The band’s 2000 self-titled album is chock-full of diabolically awesome ear-worms.  It’s the sort of record that plays in your head while you’re trying to go to sleep.  It’s no small feat to write a good song, especially one that feels so fresh but at the same time so familiar.  TSAR’s sound is reminiscent of Cheap Trick, but with a touch more punk and glam.

TSAR, these guys seem legit.

“Silver Shifter” opens with a ringing phone and quick “hello” before exploding into pop bliss.  The lyrics are twisty and rhyme in all the right places.  There’s a sweet guitar solo and cheery hand-claps, what more could you ask for in a great song?  On the surface the song seems to be about a car, but I’m 99.999% sure that the is about a nasty-injectable drug:

Seven is never enough 
Slide her into the stuff 
Slow gun and a colorful flag 
Shift her into the swag 
Silver shifter, shift it out

The slow gun is the plunger of a syringe and the “colorful flag” is a bit of blood, right?

Softer down for the counts 
Love comes in every ounce 
Silver is up for appeal 
Shifter is making me real

Blissed-out junkie poetry with a shimmering guitar hook–that’s a potent combination.  In days past, men would write very intricate poems about God or a sunset, today’s rockstars expend just as much mental energy writing about banned substances. Why are all the best songs about drugs?  Maybe it’s because like God or a sunset, drugs are a powerful artistic muse.  I guess there would be more awesome songs about D.A.R.E. posters if D.A.R.E. posters expanded the consciousness or shaded the gray world a brillant new-hue.

Regardless, “Silver Shifter” is awesome song on an awesome record. I highly recommend both TSAR albums.

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