The Stranger – Inbox Jukebox

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Stag, “Runner” (self-released).  Midtown Sizzler, the new album by Seattle supergroup Stag, is loaded with instant hits, and I encourage you to revel in its power-pop ebullience throughout the summer and onward (it hits streets August 4). But for now, let’s focus on “Runner,” because, as a runner, I’m biased. The song busts out of the gate like a 400-meter Olympic champ, with vocalist Steve Mack (That Petrol Emotion) emoting with boisterous tenderness while guitarist Ben London (who wrote every song here), guitarist John Randolph, bassist Pete Everett, and drummer Rob Dent flood your pleasure centers with chugging riffs and tumbling grooves. The result sounds like Exile on Main Street-era Rolling Stones covering power-pop deities the Shoes. “I’m a runner/Get me HIIIIIGGGHHH” is the chorus to beat this year. (Side note: My two favorites on Midtown Sizzler—“Runner” and the glorious Glitter Group homage “Bedazzler”—were produced by Jack Endino. The others, which are also superb, were handled by John Agnello, who’s manned the boards for Dinosaur Jr., Kurt Vile, and others.)

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