Number Ten: Stag. There is something about Seattle that breeds great music. From Hendrix and Heart to the Grunge scene and the onslaught of indie artists like Sleater-Kinney and Death Cab for Cutie, there must be something in the water. So I’m not surprised about the success of newcomers Stag. Stag formed in 2010 and have been making waves since their inception. Led by singer Steve Mack of the highly acclaimed band, The Petrol Emotion, the group churns out tunes that are comparable to ’60’s pop rock bands such as Badfinger and the Raspberries. Ben London has also had an impressive run, as the former Alcohol Funny Car member writes all the band’s material. Besides producing great music, their star shines brightest with their live shows, which finds Mack leaping through the air. Backed by three seasoned musicians, Pete Everett (bass), John Randolph (guitar) and Rob Dent (drums), the band has released a handful of EP’s. Their latest, Temporary Machines is getting a lot of love by DJ’s, the press and fans.
It’s not surprising to find references to record stores and record players on Stag’s self-titled, full-length debut. Or for that matter, a faithful cover of Eric Carmen’s “Get The Message” from his days with Cyrus Erie in 1969. The Seattle-based Stag, fronted by vocalist Steve Mack of the UK’s That Petrol Emotion, packs a power pop wallop that harks back to an era when Cheap Trick and Carmen’s better-known group, The Raspberries, pretty much released everything on vinyl.
Stag’s chief songwriter, guitarist-singer Ben London, draws from a variety of influences, such as The Who on the energetic “Ides Of March,” and the original British Invasion on the catchy and fun tribute to indie labels, “Love Her Records.” London’s knack for satire shines through on the galloping “Chameleons,” with its images of diners fighting over a check and urgent chorus of, “What are you waiting for, you’re running out of time.” The rollicking “Tiffany Rose” depicts a woman so caught up in the latest trends, she disappears within her high fashion clothes and make-up. Mack offers a wide range of vocal styles throughout these 12 tracks, and creates some inventive harmonies with London and guitarist-vocalist Lincoln Barr.
Stag,Stag (out now, Fin Records, themightystag.com): Stag is a sort of indie-rock supergroup, with an inaugural full-length produced by indie-rock super-producer Jack Endino. Their tunes are tight, exuberant, and fun, characteristics that feel oddly nostalgic—in a wholly positive way—when set against the mopier acoustic fare which is emblematic of the Seattle scene today. MIKE SEELY(Fri., Jan. 25, Barboza)