Arriving by time machine from the psychedelic era Maple Mars landed on the Los Angeles pop scene in the year 2000. Fronted by ex-Double Naught Spies singer-songwriter Rick Hromadka, their psychedelic pop/rock debut album "Welcome To Maple Mars" (Permanent Press Recordings) was recorded in guitarist Steve Bern's apartment. Industry mags such as Billboard, Album Network, Mojo, Hits Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, and many online publications touted the album as one of the best indie pop-rock records of 2001. As their journey progressed Maple Mars recorded two more albums borrowing stylings from homeland bands like Pink Floyd, The Who, ELO, and the Beatles. Their fourth album "Galaxyland" released in March of this year is currently receiving massive college/internet radio play, as well as rave reviews ("A psychedelic masterpiece" - Twirl Radio) and may be their most acclaimed album yet.
Drummer Ron Pak, producer/guitarist Steve Berns, and "chef to the stars" bassist Trevor Zimmerman are the travelers who, along with singer-songwriter guitarist Rick Hromadka, have taken their influences to new territories as shown in their latest video "Starting Over (Again)" which was directed by Mark Helfrich (Dandy Warhols). The video "Transcendental Guidance", also from "Galaxyland" peaked at number #27 on Neil Young's "Living With War" website. The band has toured both coasts of the US, and in Europe. Maple Mars have appeared on a variety of pop compilations from countries as diverse as Sweden, Germany, Japan, Australia, Canada, which has brought the band an international following.
Landing in Los Angles from New Haven, Ct, Rick Hromadka first found a day job at Saban Entertainment penning songs for a variety of film and TV teen shows like Breaker High, Sweet Valley High, and the Power Rangers; also getting a track on the Power Rangers movie Turbo. Hromadka formed the power-trio group The Visionaries and released "Every Other Saturday" on Wrecking Ball Records. The band morphed into Double Naught Spies and was a fixture in LA with their heavy 70's rock influence and melodic vocal arrangements. Their 1999 release "The Shoephone Conspiracy" (Cherry Boy Records) with engineer/co-producer Richard Bosworth (Dramarama, Wondermints, The Knack) brought the band major notoriety; being added to a number of college radio play lists, and was re-released in Japan on Air Mail Recordings.
Rick's music has been used in several films and TV shows including Ropewalk, Piñata: Survival island, King Cobra, Dangerous Obsessions, ER, Thirdwatch, Felicity, The West Wing, Friday Night Lights, and many more. Rick Hromadka is also a successful feature film sound designer, and has won three Emmys for sound editorial.
*Videos can be seen on our myspace page @ myspace.com/maplemars
Rick Hromadka - lead singer, guitarist
Steve Berns - vocals, guitarist
Trevor Zimmerman - Bassist
Ron Pak - vocals, drums
Welcome To Maple Mars (Permenant Press) 2001
Circular Haze (Kool Kat Musik) 2004
Beautiful Mess (Kool Kat Musik) 2007
Sweet Relief Charity / Jam Records 2007 - US
The World According To You / Wizzard In Vinyl 2004 - Japan
International Pop Overthrow Vol5 2003 - US
Guitar Center Stage Interview
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The 2010 release of Galaxyland is the best album to date by Maple Mars. MWE3.com spoke to group foun...The 2010 release of Galaxyland is the best album to date by Maple Mars. MWE3.com spoke to group founder Rick Hromadka who adds, ‘Well, we always think our last work is our best. Truth is, I don't know which album is the best. All I know is right now, at this point in time, Galaxyland is my favorite Maple Mars album!’ With Galaxyland, Maple Mars brings the sound of pop music a giant step into the future. So what about transforming pop music in the 21st century? Rick states, ‘I don't think we transformed anything. I just try to use my skills as a sound guy to get a clean, listenable sound on disc.’ MWE3.com presents Guitars Center Stage with Rick Hromadka.
Kool Kat MusiK really hits its stride with the 2010 CD release of the latest Maple Mars album entitled Galaxyland. Founded by singer-songwriter and electric guitar ace Rick Hromadka, the four piece Maple Mars have recorded their definitive pop masterpiece that spans generations while drawing from the world of pop gone by. A triple threat musician, Rick Hromadka is a real hero among the pop intelligencia and the IPO crowd and there’s no escape from his galaxy of pop sounds. One early comparison I thought about while spinning Galaxyland was a cross between the classic ‘60s pop band The Association as produced by Jimi Hendrix! Hromadka has a great guitar sound that Hendrix would dig while his healthy respect for pop’s past puts him on the right road. The sound of the Galaxyland CD fully captures the vast Maple Mars pop composite. Backed by Ron Pack (vocals, drums), Trevor Zimmerman (vocals, bass) and Steve Berns (guitars), Rick serves the Maple Mars spirit well and kicks it into overdrive on what will come to be viewed as the group’s best album to date. Also, don’t just buy the download, but check out the expertise put into the design and color schemes of the CD cover art, booklet and packaging. Back in the ‘60s a cover like that would stop you in your tracks and it would probably be bought immediately, back when album jackets were considered art. You can go follow Rick and Maple Mars on Facebook where you can often find him postulating on the meaning of just what qualifies as a classic album! Such devotion to the pop art form springs to life in Galaxyland. As far as the definition of pop “classic”, may I be so bold as to infer that Maple Mars comes pretty darn close on Galaxyland I might add. www.MapleMars.com
MUSIC WEB EXPRESS 3000 presents
RICK HROMADKA of the group Maple Mars
Guitars Center Stage
Guitarists making waves in the music world,
their new recordings and gear!
My musical background began when I received John Lennon's Imagine and Simon and Garfunkels's Bridge Over Troubled Water LPs for Christmas one year. I quickly became a record and radio freak. I remember spending lots of time after school bouncing on my parents bed listening to Top 40 radio. In second grade I was selected to play the snare drum in our production of “The Little Drummer Boy”, mainly because I was the only kid in class who could keep a beat! I also played drums in the school band in junior high.
We had an upright piano for a short while and I'd tinker, figuring out songs from the radio. Ultimately, a friend who played guitar invited me over to hear him play the end solo to “Free Bird” note for note. I was hooked! Bought my first electric guitar at 15 for 5 bucks, and never looked back. That same friend turned me onto a classical guitarist who was giving lessons in New Haven, CT. I became a student, which is how I learned to read music. It really helped my electric guitar playing as well! After high school I went to GIT in Hollywood, CA with visions of becoming a session guitarist.
Our new CD is called Galaxyland. The concept came from looking at amusement park maps online and "stealing/borrowing" rides to make up my own space park! I did all the artwork for the disc, building this amusement park using rides from all over the world. The album was recorded and mixed at Maple Mars guitarist Steve Bern's studio The Fitting Room, and at my own home studio. We used a variety of friends on the record, including the great songwriter Mark Radice, who's song "New Day" was recorded for this album. Mark also co-produced the track and plays piano. We used Nelson Bragg from Brian Wilson's band, Marty Ross from the New Monkees and The Wigs, Phil Rosenthal from Twenty Cent Crush, and singer Kirsten Proffit. Session orchestral players were hired for strings on "New Day", "When Bridges Fall", and "Head Turner". Steve Berns plays much of the lead of guitars and some rhythm, Ron Pak plays drums and sings backgrounds. I played acoustic and electric guitar, choral sitar, bass, piano and keys, chromo harp, pots and pans, and some other weird noise makers that escape me right now.
The album was recorded using the DAW programs Logic and Sonar. Steve's got a nice Soundcraft Ghost console, so everything recorded at his place ran through that as well as some really good outboard gear. Much of the material tracked and mixed at my place was all done "in the box" using Logic. Steve Berns co-produced with me songs recorded at his place.
I think the album reflects previous Maple Mars albums, but with a bit more experimentation. Song's like “Transcendental Guidance”, “The Excursion”, “New Day”, and “When Bridges Fall” are a bit different then the usual Maple Mars fare.
All my favorite guitars are pretty much all the classics - Strats, Les Pauls, 12 string Ricks. I play a Fender Toronado, which looks a bit like the old Mustangs or Jazzmasters. I'm kind of a creature of habit and that been my main axe for years. I also used a Breedlove Atlas Series acoustic and Fender Precision bass. I shared quite a number of Steve's guitars and effects. These were:
Gibson Les Paul Special
Gibson Les Paul Custom
Gibson Les Paul Standard
Gretsch Nashville Jr.
G&L ASAT Semi-Hollow Body with Bigsby
Taylor 814CE Acoustic
All Steve’s guitars have Thomastik strings. He feels that while they cost a bit more, they retain their resonance and brightness longer and don’t break as often.
Amp sounds were created using a Fender Special Edition Hot Rod Deluxe, it’s the Jensen 1 12” that gives this amp it’s “special” sound,
Also used were some POD XT sounds as well as effects boxes such as:
Line 6 Delay modeler
Line 6 Modulation modelers
Various distortion boxes
Dunlop Jimi Hendrix wah
Ernie Ball volume pedal
And a few others..
Various Universal Audio (UAD2) plug ins including the Vintage Roland Space Echo.
My main musical influence has always been The Beatles. They were perfection! I'm influenced by many genres: 60's garage/psychedelic/pop, 70's glam rock/pop, 70's prog/pop, 80's pop/punk, the list goes on!
My favorite guitarist of all time is Jeff Beck! From his days in The Yardbirds through his Blow By Blow days I was transfixed. I also love Hendrix, Page, Clapton, Howe, and Duane Allman.
Here's a list of my favorite and influential albums:
The Beatles - White Album
Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
The Who - Sell Out
The Zombies - Odyssey & Oracle
Paul McCartney - Ram
Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Jimi Hendrix - Are You Experienced
Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin
Big Star - #1 Record
John Lennon - Imagine
Queen - A Night At the Opera
Pink Floyd - Animals
Replacements - Please To Meet Me
Simon & Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water
Paul McCartney - Venus & Mars
Aerosmith - Get Your Wings, Toys In The Attic, Rocks - (3 in 1, I know, so sue me!)
Todd Rundgren - Todd
Thin Lizzy - Jailbreak
Kiss - Kiss Alive
Alice Cooper - Billion Dollar Babies
Elton John - Captain Fantastic
Yes - Fragile
Yes - Close To The Edge
Crack The Sky - Safety In Numbers
XTC - Skylarking
U2 - War
Replacements - Tim
Teenage Fanclub - Bandwagonesque
Flaming Lips - The Soft Bulletin
We're releasing a new original Christmas Song called "Christmastime In The City" on an upcoming compilation album called Kool Kat Khristmas from Kool Kat Musik. The song will also be for sale as a single on iTunes. I've always loved many of my song writing heroes original Christmas songs, i.e. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Greg Lake. Even Chrissy Hynde wrote a super catchy one! So, I finally got my chance.
We're planning a tour of Europe in the late spring. We've only been to the U.K. in the past, so it'll be nice to play in some new places.
Album Review: Maple Mars - Galaxyland
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Intelligent, well-produced powerpop generally draws its inspiration from a rather short list of infl...Intelligent, well-produced powerpop generally draws its inspiration from a rather short list of influences. While the most mediocre powerpop tends to chase its own tail – serving up predigested, overly derivative pop you’ve heard before – the better quality stuff manages to have it both ways: remaining firmly grounded in the powerpop tradition of its foreberars, and still offering something new and exciting. The latter is tougher than it might seem. I have no problem at all with derivative acts: Take my favorite critical punching bag, Oasis. They served up little in the way of originality. Did it keep them from creating a couple great albums (and some good ones? It did not. In any event, Maple Mars‘ new album Galaxyland succeeds against the odds. While it’s true that to be successful in the powerpop genre, you simply have to pay a stylistic debt to the canon of influences (Beatles, Who, Raspberries, Big Star, etc.) it remains possible to maintain one’s individuality. But to do that you have to have that identity to begin with. Maple Mars does. Right out of the gate, the band makes a stylistic nod to the works of Tommy Keene and Teenage Fanclub. “The Excursion” has the lyrical texture of Keene’s work, and the instrumental attack has that sweet/sour balance of poppy grunge for which Scotland’s finest are known. As an added bonus, the song’s subject matter is a perfect leadoff to a loosely-defined album concept a la Jason Falkner’s “The Invitation” or (dare I say) “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” So on Galaxyland Maple Mars establish early that their antecedents are once or twice removed from the Founders of Powerpop. That’s fine: they’re a young band. One takes inspiration from where one finds it. Especially on its bridge, “Starting Over (Again)” suggests that these Maple Mars guys (mostly Rick Hromadka) have been partaking of the Grip Weeds. The song features punchy arrangement slathered with creamy harmonies. Had Galaxyland been released fifteen years ago, it would have driven Jordan Oakes crazy: which of several fine tracks to include on the latest Yellow Pills collection? Dual lead guitar fills conjure smile-inducing memories of Thin Lizzy. Fender Rhodes piano is the foundation of the ballad “Big Imagination.” With a feel similar to Pilot, the track is impressively arranged, with the instrumentation expanding as the song unfolds. That 1970s approach of wedding big (yet brief) stadium-size guitar solos to midtempo/ballad arrangements is in full flower here. Maple Mars show that their understanding and appreciation of powerpop goes fairly deep. They cover Mark Radice’s 1972 song “New Day.” Now, Radice is a fine artist, but his name will elicit blank, unknowing stares from most music fans. They’re more likely to know who, say, Van Duren is. But the song is a gem, performed here in a baroque-rock style similar to another criminally underappreciated band, North Carolina’s Gladhands. “Transcendental Guidance” mixes the acoustic side of Badfinger, the soft, chiming rock of Pilot and the lyrical focus of Beach Boys from that same time period. “Citizen Roger” looks (relatively) forward: the song would easily fit on Redd Kross’ 1993 Phaseshifter. The song starts as a midtempo tune, but builds the ferocity of its attack as it develops. And as I’ve written many, many times before, I’m a total pushover for effective use of “ba ba ba” as lyrical material. Maple Mars nails it here, delivering the ba ba ba with an anthemic boom. The song’s outro features that plus a killer riff that’s repetitive in the best way, making the track a highlight of an excellent album. “When Bridges Fall” is the latest in a proud line of mini-baroque numbers from rock artists. The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby,” Paul Revere and the Raiders’ “Undecided Man,” you get the idea. Here the orchestration is kept simple and straightforward, and has just the right amount of edge to make it closer in feel to No Answer-era Electric Light Orchestra. If “Borrowed Sunshine” wasn’t intended as a Tommy Keene tribute, it should be. The song conjures up all of the best of Keene’s style, balancing wistful, bittersweet feel with a sort of unbridled joy. And the song’s second half adds even more texture, heading into “oooh” territory. It’s worth noting that few bands this side of 1960s-era Beach Boys have the ability to credibly sustain “ooh” as the lyric for more than a few bars. Maple Mars can be added to that list. “Add the Numbers” features a pleasingly stripped-down arrangement that suggest what Jellyfish might sound like with less instrumentation, and if the songs were written on guitar rather than keyboards. Despite its name, “Head Turner” is not an ode of love to Linda Blair, but it is a love song. Galaxyland wraps up with “Somewhere Back There,” a bright and bouncy tune that restates all of the album’s best qualities. Ringing guitars, an insistent beat, those oh-so-1967 descending piano lines, clever sound effects…it’s a sturdy pop tune with kitchen sink production. A Queen-like guitar solo gives the track just the right feel, helping to make it a timeless powerpop song, rather than one that’s firmly rooted in a particular sub-sub style. And that quality is true of the whole album. If you like powerpop, you’ll like Galaxyland. Simple as that. The album is available from Kool Kat Muzik. - Bill Kopp (MUSOSCRIBE)
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Maple Mars "Galaxyland" Kool Kat The fourth album of power pop bliss from this LA quartet, led b...Maple Mars "Galaxyland"
The fourth album of power pop bliss from this LA quartet, led by singer-songwriter/guitarist Rick Hromadka, continues to mine the golden influences of Big Star, Pink Floyd, Cheap Trick, The Beatles, and Flaming Lips. That pedigree sets you up for a varied album with tinges of psych pop, avant garde elements, wall-to-wall production (by Hromadka and fellow guitarist Steve Berns, admittedly inspired by Jeff Lynne), and soaring harmonies straight out of Power Pop’s early 80s heyday.
The band complement each other well, leaving egotistical guitar wankery at the studio door, all in the service of the perfect hook. Highlights include the Todd Rundgrenesque “New Day,” the dreamy “Transcendental Guidance,” the catchy “Add The Numbers” and the lovely “Head Turner.” Oh, and the release has one of the best covers of the year! 8/10 -- Jeff Penczak - foxydigitalis.com (30 June, 2010)
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Maple Mars-Galaxyland. Maple Mars follows up their outstanding 2007 release Beautiful Mess with Gala...Maple Mars-Galaxyland. Maple Mars follows up their outstanding 2007 release Beautiful Mess with Galaxyland, a loose concept album about a theme park orbiting the moon. It's kind of fitting since their music has always had a space-age pop element, drawing from Klaatu and ELO as well as the Beatles and Badfinger. There's plenty to like here: "The Excursion" is top-drawer psych pop, "Big Imagination" channels the laid-back 70s SoCal sound, "Transcendental Guidance" is another of those tracks that sounds like its title, and the string-laden "When Bridges Fall" recalls Cloud Eleven. A real highlight is the resurrection of "New Day", a minor early 70s hit for Mark Radice. The CD comes in a gatefold sleeve not unlike a 70s album, and Kool Kat (the store) is offering up an exclusive bonus disc titled Extra Orbits with five bonus tracks. The whole thing is groovy. - Absolute Powerpop
Orange County Register
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International Pop Overthrow readies 13th annual two-week takeover of L.A. and O.C. July 22nd, 2010,...International Pop Overthrow readies 13th annual two-week takeover of L.A. and O.C.
July 22nd, 2010, 11:52 pm · Post a Comment · posted by ROBERT KINSLER, FOR THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
It wouldn’t be summer in Southern California without a good heatwave, at least a couple exciting baseball games … and plenty of musical confections at International Pop Overthrow.
Indeed, founder David Bash’s power-pop-apalooza, better known as simply IPO, is marking its 13th annual stretch of shows this summer, scattered at nearly a dozen venues throughout Los Angeles and Orange County from July 23 through Aug. 8.
Fans of power-pop — that timeless, highly melodic brand of rock that counts the Beatles, Cheap Trick, the Bangles, the Raspberries, Fountains of Wayne and the Smithereens among its pantheon of champions of accessible songcraft — will surely find plenty to love at any (or all) of the IPO dates.
As a guide, I thought I’d single out a few of the more noteworthy acts with new releases, almost always sold (and signed) at these shows. But note: most only perform for about 20 minutes. Best to arrive to IPO gigs on time!
Maple Mars, Galaxyland
Somewhere between the psychedelic pop of Brian Wilson’s SMiLE and the riotous drive of Big Star comes this band’s latest dozen-track collection, which keeps accessible while never letting down its artistic guard. Lead singer-guitarist Rick Hromadka, guitarist Steve Berns, bassist Trevor Zimmerman and drummer Ron Pak dish out trippy ballads (“Big Imagination,” “When Bridges Fall”) with as much zeal as their more explosive material (“Borrowed Sunshine,” “Somewhere Back There”) and haunting dreamscapes (“The Excursion”). See the band July 23, at 7:30 p.m. at The Joint in an especially strong bill that also includes the Galaxies, Smash Fashion and Twenty Cent Crush, $10.
Italian Blog Review
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VENERDÌ 23 LUGLIO 2010 Disco del Giorno 23-07-10: Maple Mars - Galaxyland (2010; Kool Kat) A tre a...VENERDÌ 23 LUGLIO 2010
Disco del Giorno 23-07-10: Maple Mars - Galaxyland (2010; Kool Kat)
A tre anni di distanza dal gustosissimo Beautiful Mess ritornano i Maple Mars, che poi in sostanza significa che a tornare è Rick Hromadka, originale autore losangelino che dei Maple Mars è in pratica la mente unica. Si parla dei quartieri pop della Città degli Angeli, ed avendo in mente le tinte pastello del precedente album di studio ci si potrebbe/dovrebbe aspettare il solito concentrato di "liquido sole californiano" che in quaranta e passa anni di storia ha deviato milioni di appassionati trascinandoli dai Byrds ai Cloud Eleven. L'apertura The Excursion semra un buon viatico in tal senso, forse meno soft di quanto ci si aspettasse, certo, ma pur sempre uno standard pop-psych di quelli che a Hromadka riescono sempre bene. Il fatto è che stavolta Rick ha voluto dare sfogo a tutta la propria creatività, senza limitarsi a sviluppare la parte di essa che molti di noi hanno imparato ad apprezzare nel corso degli anni (e degli album).
Galaxyland, sorta di album concettuale dedicato ad un'ipotetica città spaziale, migra infatti ovunque sia possibile cercare tracce di vita pop, senza disdegnare nulla e mantenendo in ogni caso una coesione di fondo che conferisce forza e credibilità all'intera collezione. Se le preferenze dell'autore sono naturalmente dirette alla psichedelia melodica della già citata traccia inaugurale, di New Day e di Trascendental Guidance, bisogna rendere omaggio ai tentativi di esplorazione anche floydiani di Prelude: New Day e ad altre divagazioni sul tema che alla vigilia non erano per nulla scontate. Parliamone. Starting Over (Again) aggiunge al pacchetto dosi supplementari chitarristiche che sconfinano nei territori occupati anni fa dai Cheap Trick. Nel frattempo, Borrowed Sunshine pare il titolo perfetto per un brano che sembra estratto da una chart britpop del '96, ed Head Turner dimostra quanto tatto abbia Rick nel trattare delicati frammenti acustici. Il bello arriva in fondo, però, perchè il brano migliore della raccolta, almeno per il sottoscritto, è senza dubbio Somewhere Back There, tormentone bubblegum dove sembra di assistere ad una performance dei Jellyfish fronteggiati da Matthew Smith.
In conclusione, Galaxyland è un album che mi sento di consigliare a varie categorie di appassionati e, chiaramente, a tutti quelli che oggigiorno, quando si parla di pop chitarristico, si possono definire onnivori. Rick Hromadka rimane uno dei maestri della scena di L.A. in fatto di pop psichedelico, ma in questo caso ha deciso di non accontentarsi e ha dimostrato di essere, passatemi la definizione cestistica, uno dei migliori all arounder della costa occidentale.
Galaxyland review from UK!
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MAPLE MARS – Galaxyland (Kool Kat) A vehicle for singer, songwriter, guitarist and Emmy winning s...
MAPLE MARS – Galaxyland (Kool Kat)
A vehicle for singer, songwriter, guitarist and Emmy winning sound designer Rick Hromadka, the LA quartet have been knocking around for the best part of a decade, releasing their debut album back in 2001. This is their fourth and, save for a cover of New Day by forgotten 70s singer Mark Radice, is all written by Hromadka and loosely hangs around the idea of a theme park in lunar orbit.
It’s a bit like being given a tour of his record collection as you pick up kindred influences like Jellyfish, 10cc, The Beatles, ELO, Klaatu, and, on opening track The Excursion, perhaps a dash of The Wannadies too. On numbers like the 60 psychedelic pop Transcendental Guidance and Starting Over (Again) the lyrics can feel a bit clunky, but that’s readily forgiven when you hear something as lovely as the strings backed baroque pop of When Bridges Fall, Somewhere Back There’s California sunshine beat or the romantic tenderness that spills over the slow waltzing Head Turner. There’s no UK distribution, but you can download from Amazon or track copies down at www.koolkatmusic.com
Mike Davies (Roots and Branches)
Swiss Records Reviews Galaxyland
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«Galaxyland» ist das vierte Album der Band um Rick Hromadka (ehemals Double Naught Spies). Qualitati...«Galaxyland» ist das vierte Album der Band um Rick Hromadka (ehemals Double Naught Spies). Qualitativ sind bei den zwölf Songs keine Ermüdungserscheinungen auszumachen, im Gegenteil. Rick Hromadka, Sänger und Hauptsongschreiber versteht es gekonnt Versatzstücke aus Power Pop, Pop der frühen Siebziger und Psychedelik zu einem organischen, vielschichtigen und vor allem harmonischen Ganzen zu verquicken. Was dabei auffällt, sind die ausgefeilten Gesangspassagen, die manchmal Wendungen nehmen, die man nicht erwartet. «Big imagination» ist, was die Strophen anbelangt relativ unspektakulär. Für den Chorus nimmt der Song aber eine überraschende Wendung. In «Citizen roger» machen Maple Mars einmal mehr Anleihen bei Pink Floyd. An anderen Stellen werden Bezüge zu Jellyfish gewahr, wie auch schon auf früheren Alben. Und mit «New day» (Song von Mark Radice von seinem Debüt von 1971) beweist Hromadka überdies ein sicheres Händchen für exzellente unbekannte Coverversionen.
8.5 out of 10
Pschedelic Central Reviews Galaxyland
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Maple Mars is fronted by Rick Hromadka (formally of LA pop icons Double Naught Spies), accompanied w...Maple Mars is fronted by Rick Hromadka (formally of LA pop icons Double Naught Spies), accompanied with producer/guitarist Steve Berns, bassist Trevor Zimmerman and drummer Ron Pak.
"Galaxyland" is the 4th and latest (2010) release for Maple Mars, which is an extraordinary multi-layered timeless space-age concept album; that miraculously expresses Rick Hromadka's seemingly effortless ability to consistantly pioneer furocious hybrid psychedelic powerpop tunes after another.. Although "Galaxyland" is uniquely self-styled; some of the songs strongly recapture the essence and feel of the delightful Beatlesque melodies and classic early work of the 1970's modern rock era in reminiscence to bands such as ELO, Cheap Trick and Bad Finger, among others.. which venture into a more experimental direction and outwardly possess a dynamic and creative energy that packs a punch far beyond the 3 minute bubble-pop balladry; with roaring hard rocking guitars over mid-tempo grooves and heavy motifs; that transcends time and trend bringing the old standard melodic pop formulas to soaring heights!
I would like to further note, that although "Galaxyland" reflects some of the great earlier predecessors as mentioned; it boldly stands out on its own! In the sense; that often when artist attempt to intertwine past and futuristic sounds that echoes their inspirations; they may come up with an array of outlandish songs with good vocal talent and instrumentation; while producing a nice sounding album with a particular song or two that may be good...but they are not Great!!! For the reason being, the songs lack thier own genuine self-styled emotional energy that characterizes the songs; by trying to overly embrace and imitate thier predecessors in a newfangled approach; that more often than not mutilates the authenticy of thier music! Rick Hromadka on the other hand, has beautifully accomplished combining the elements of the past, present and future in a bona fide tenor of his own that is outpouring with unpredictable deep bone chilling emotional energy and talent that is stupendously ripping and rolling far beyond just good vocals.. "Galaxyland" does not have a good song.. it has many great songs with the potential of becoming futuristic classics! From "The Excusion" and "Tanscendal Guidance"; which are stellar psychedelic - pop tunes; the thundering power-pop in "Starting Over", to the sweet charming harmonies of "New Day", and the folkier sensualistic "Head Turner"; all of which are fantastic songs.. among other invigorating tracks on the album garnering superb honorable qualities; that has made listening to "Galaxyland" a beautiful enlightened experience! Highly Recommend!
Jan (editor) Psychedelic Central
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Thursday, June 5, 2008 Maple Mars -- Beautiful Mess (Kool Kat) Rick Hromadka keeps rolling. His...Thursday, June 5, 2008
Maple Mars -- Beautiful Mess (Kool Kat)
Rick Hromadka keeps rolling. His layered bright power pop sounds are married to strong songwriting on a wonderful third album that pretty much picks up where his last disc left off. For all of the gloss and flash and pristine harmonies, many of Hromadka’s songs have real emotional weight. So it’s not just about catchy hooks as there are real feelings coming from almost every track.
Hromadka believes in the power of music (wasn’t that a Triumph or Rush lyric...never mind...), which comes through on track after track. He makes this belief blindly obvious on the lush “Listen”, where a pillow of acoustic guitars lulls the ears, preparing them for the cotton candy melody that carries the verses. It has a bit of a psych-pop feel, with a bass part that anchors the song and keeps it from floating away in the ether. This song is comparable to the best of Cloud Eleven.
One other song, “Between Two Worlds”, merits comparison to Cloud Eleven (another great contemporary pop group led by a man named Rick -- are we at the forefront of the Rick Rock movement?), this time, by way of The Beach Boys. Certainly, the desolate piano intro, with Hromadka singing in the wilderness, has a certain Brian Wilson quality to it. As the other instruments join in, this heads into Todd Rundgren-spiked-with-a-bit-of-Jellyfish territory. The song then moves into guitar land, with a beautiful extended guitar solo (and the above referenced Rick Gallego adding some pedal steel). This song is calculated to give the listener a melty feeling. Right before the fade, a piercing synth part comes in, as if Hromadka is showing you that he had even more icing for this cake.
This track follows his ace cover of a stone cold classic, 10CC’s “I’m Not in Love”. It’s a pretty daring choice, since the song is so distinctive, both as a composition and as a production. Hromadka doesn’t mess with the basic arrangement -- how could he, as it is perfect. Instead, he focuses on smaller details. This is almost like remix, as he finds different places to put in angelic backing vocals. On the whole, this is more restrained, allowing for focus on the elegance of the melody. I should also note how spot on Hromadka is on the lead vocals. As with his own compositions, Hromadka is fully engaged with the material. This doesn’t top the original, but it is pretty swell on its own.
Hromadka still rocks, by the way. “Butterfly Effect” is another thoughtful piece of riffy power pop. Hromadka surveys the damage caused by a relationship that apparently just can’t work, although there has been a lot of hard work to keep it going. I can’t suss out if this is a battle between love and lust (“getting caught up was so exotic/until it all became so chaotic” may be a hint). But he hits the nail on the head when he sings “love will never come painless.” Truer words were never sung. Even with the big flash guitar, the melody has an emotional pull, and that tension works well.
Speaking of flashy guitar, you get a big dose of that on the hyper poppy title cut. If Queen came from California, and didn’t become Jellyfish, this is a song they would have waxed. This song sounds like a sunnier “Killer Queen”, a fact made apparent when Hromadka lays down some Brian May guitar, and borrows some production tricks from that Queen classic. Throw in some Beach Boys styled backing vocals and a head bopping chorus, and we have yet another winner.
Three albums down the line, Hromadka shows no signs of stopping. This album is as good, if not better, than the first two. Buy it now and it’s likely there will be a fourth one just as good.
Posted by Mike Bennett at 11:21 PM
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Circular Haze David Bash (Amplifier/IPO Founder) "Circular Haze is absolutely, without question, ...Circular Haze
David Bash (Amplifier/IPO Founder) "Circular Haze is absolutely, without question, the best album of pure psychedelic power pop you’ll hear this year."
Bruce Brodeen (Not Lame Recordings) "Extremely Highly Recommended!"
Mike Bennett (Fufkin.com) "On this second Maple Mars record, Rick Hromadka and his bandmates make the studio a gigantic canvas, and they layer on guitars, backing vocals and keyboards in
equal measure with the numerous catchy bits. This is retrofuturistic guitar
Jeremy Morris (Jam Records) "Here it is!!! One of the best power pop releases of 2003."
Goran Obradovic (Popism) "After spending some time “undercover” as one of the Double Naught Spies and the Maple Mars' debut album a coupla years ago, Rick Hromadka comes back with his best work to date."
Kerry Kompost (Newspaper Taxi) "Definitely a 2003 top-ten!"
Brad Harvey (Big Takeover) "For a real look-see into the formidable writing/production skills of Hromadka, punch in "Home"from Circular Haze, a six-plus-minute masterpiece celebrating the joys of being where you know you belong."
Audities 2007 Top Album Poll
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The votes are finally in, comments (mostly grousing) to follow: 1. Fountains Of Wayne -- Traffic ...The votes are finally in, comments (mostly grousing) to follow:
1. Fountains Of Wayne -- Traffic And Weather (685 points)
2. The Red Button -- She&8217;s About To Cross My Mind (501)
3. The Nines -- Gran Jukle&8217;s Field (326)
4. Future Clouds & Radar --Future Clouds & Radar (269)
5. Paul McCartney -- Memory Almost Full (268)
6. Bruce Springsteen -- Magic (241)
7. Amy Winehouse -- Back To Black (231)
8. John Hoskinson -- Pancho Fantastico (225)
9. Wilco -- Sky Blue Sky (217)
10. The Broken West -- I Can&8217;t Go On, I&8217;ll Go On (206)
11. Nick Lowe -- At My Age (205)
Robert Plant and Allison Krauss -- Raising Sand (205)
13. Crowded House -- Time On Earth (202)
14. Spoon -- Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (198)
15. Rooney -- Calling The World (194)
16. The New Pornographers -- Challengers (192)
17. Maple Mars -- Beautiful Mess (171)
18. Lewis Taylor -- The Lost Album (168)
19. Farrah -- Cut Out And Keep (165)
20. Ken Sharp -- Sonic Crayons (156)
And the rest of the Top 50
21. The Shins -- 155
22. Frisbie -- 136
23. The Clientele -- 134
24. Jason Falkner -- 130
25. Ryan Adams -- 129
Jackdaw 4 -- 129
27. Ian Hunter -- 126
28. Silverchair -- 123
29. Band Of Horses -- 105
Jens Lekman -- 105
31. Myracle Brah -- 102
Automat -- 102
33. Ice Cream Hands -- 100
Kaiser Chiefs -- 100
35. Apples In Stereo -- 92
36. Lily Allen -- 90
37. P. Hux -- 88
38. LCD Soundsystem -- 86
39. Rilo Kiley -- 85
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists -- 85
41. Travis -- 84
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings -- 84
43. Everybody Else -- 83
44. The Weakerthans - 82
Relient K -- 82
46. Graham Parker -- 81
47. Nushu -- 78
The Well Wishers -- 78
49. Mike Viola -- 76
50. Nicole Atkins -- 74
Josh Rouse -- 74
Well the Audities 1 didn't even crack my top 125. Of course my list is more focused on power pop and some offshoots whereas the Audities lists invariably have a lot of "indie rock" on them. However, FoW is as power pop as it gets, but Traffic & Weather just didn't do anything for me. It's not that I have anything against them - their previous three proper releases would have been on my lists had I done them those years, especially 1999's Utopia Parkway. This effort sounded like FoW by the numbers, and although they've always had a "formula" (just ask Robbie Fulks), this disc was all formula and little inspiration when it came to the tunes. The short stories they're famous for in the lyrics continue to be great, but it seemed that they were concentrating on the lyrics at the expense of the music this time around. It wasn't a bad disc, just not a particularly memorable one.
Meanwhile, what seemed to me uninspired efforts from big names (McCartney, Wilco, Crowded House) took high spots, the inevitable result of democratization of a list (97 participants here) where name recognition often trumps quality. Of course it's all subjective, but that's where I come down. I thought The Red Button might take the prize, but I'm still glad to see my 1 at 2 here. The Nines won last year, so third place wasn't a surprise. Interestingly, although I prefer last year's Calling Distance Stations to Gran Jukle's Field, I had the former at 23 last year and the latter at 10 this year, mainly due to this year's top 25 being weaker from 5-25 than last year's was. I'm also glad to see The Broken West, Ken Sharp and Maple Mars get their due. Speaking of name recognition, I see Jason Falkner at 24; luckily, this was a Japan-only release or it would have likely received an unwarranted top 10 spot.
I'm not even going to discuss Amy Winehouse. - From Absolute Powerpop
Bucketfull of Brains
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Welcome To Maple Mars opens with the spoof live show sound of the title track. Strong, hooky, loud, ...Welcome To Maple Mars opens with the spoof live show sound of the title track. Strong, hooky, loud, spacey, with vocals on vocals. It's powerful stuff. Thereafter the album occasionally slips into the Pet Sounds-DIY netherland that has already been (and continues to be) well charted by plebt of other LA artists, That's not to say that it ain't fun, 'cause it is!
Ex-Double Naught Spies man Rick Hromadka, who more of less is Maple Mars, writes sway-inducing tunes and he's not afraid to let rip with some heavy duty guitar sounds - which is where his approach differs from most of the LA pack. In fact the searing noise makes the fourth track, Souvenir, a real standout. Other picks include All Brand New, with it's rumbling bass and jangling guitars, the hard-edged rocker Perfect Song, and the two tracks, Fly and Afterglow, recorded with Mr. Cloud Eleven Rick Gallego. (The bonus track is cool too.) The more I listen to the CD the more I find to like about it. Well worth shelling out for.
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Maple Mars, led by singer-guitarist Rick Hromadka, surprises with their debut effort. Smart, infecti...Maple Mars, led by singer-guitarist Rick Hromadka, surprises with their debut effort. Smart, infectious, sing-along hooks fill this CD, with the most obvious reference points being Jellyfish, The Beatles and maybe the Foo Fighters.
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Don't let the cozy Mars-scape on the cover or the floating astronauts pictured in the liner notes fo...Don't let the cozy Mars-scape on the cover or the floating astronauts pictured in the liner notes fool you. The closest this album gets to the future is - like 8-track players, wicker hanging chairs and black light posters before it - a retro version of it. Rick Hromadka, brainchild of Maple Mars (he essentially built the band and gave it a name after making this album solo; this band debuted at the International Pop Overthrow festival this week) and once founding member of L.A. locals Double Naught Spies, has remorselessly created a tableau redolent of the past in Welcome to; there's the spacey sounds of ELO in here and the Beatles just as they began to get trippy. There's a little Roy Orbison in Hromadka's voice and - heck, why not? - a goodly amount of '70s power pop (think Cheap Trick, Styx even) thrown in for measure. Thankfully (Who-like drum solo please) it comes out sounding good. Once you get over the fact that you've been taken on a space coaster ride filled with albums from Hromadka's youth (and that some of the songs are so poppy it sometimes feels as if they are actively tricking you into liking them), Welcome to feels like a stoney flight of imagination taken from the comfort of your own bean bag while wearing oversized woodgrain headphones -"Welcome to Maple Mars" is a great tune and so too is "When Atlas Falls," "All Brand New" and "Absolute Zero." Also, be on the lookout for a hidden track; Groovy, man, groovy.
Aaron M. Fontana - Entertainment Today (Los Angeles)
Miles Of Music
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Rick Cornell (MoMZine - Miles Of Music) Possessing Welcome To Maple Mars, the debut fr...Rick Cornell (MoMZine - Miles Of Music)
Possessing Welcome To Maple Mars, the debut from L.A.'s Maple Mars, is like having your very own International Pop Overthrow (the annual City of Angels power-pop shindig) in a handy 12-song package. Maple Mars main man Rick Hromadka previously fronted Double Naught Spies, and guests on Welcome To... include members of 20 Cent Crush and Chewy Marble, as well as Rick "Cloud Eleven" Gallego. If those names mean nothing to you, no matter -- you're going to enjoy the visit anyway. Highlights for me are the jangly "All Brand New" (a frequent dead ringer for '70s hit "Hitchin' a Ride") and "Absolute Zero," which finds Hromadka coming off like a poppier version of one of his old favorites, the Replacements. "Souvenir" demonstrates that when nice guys write angry songs, they still come out sounding, well, nice. And after several trips, you just might think that "The Perfect Song" ("I finally wrote for you the perfect song/It's just a shame that you're not here to sing along") comes close to living up to its title.
Rick Cornell (MoMZine - Miles Of Music)
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This L.A. power-pop collective's debut is an inviting batch of hooky, ultra-melodic guitar rock. Tak...This L.A. power-pop collective's debut is an inviting batch of hooky, ultra-melodic guitar rock. Taking a tongue-in-cheek arena-rock stance to kick things off, the band namechecks itself on the title track, then justifies the pomp by segueing into the soaring, Badfinger-esque "I Thought I Knew You Well." Throughout, singer-songwriter/guitarist Rick Hromadka delivers the goods with a nice mix of emotiveness and self-aware humor. Other standout tracks: the spiky "Souvenir," the gorgeous piano ballad "When Atlas Falls" and especially, the kinetic "Perfect Song," which will have all but the most stoic listeners playing air drums and "ahh-ing" along with the backup vocals.
Simon Glickman - Hits Magazine
20th Century Guitar Magazine
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PERMANENT PRESS - When it comes to releasing cool pop albums, few labels have it as together as Cali...PERMANENT PRESS - When it comes to releasing cool pop albums, few labels have it as together as California-based Permanent Press. Among the label's latest and greatest releases to date is the self-titled 2001 debut CD from L.A.-based Maple Mars entitled Welcome To Maple Mars. Spotlighting the talented singer-songwriter and guitarist Rick Hromadka, Maple Mars cuts loose with a set of high octane cutting edge paisley-pop that recalls the best spirit of bands like The Raspberries, Klaatu, Jellyfish and Cheap Trick. Hromadka handles much of the guitar chores with super backing from Matt McKenna (guitars), Mike Fletcher (drums) and others. Featuring twelve vital tracks, many bursting with catchy melodies that dance around your head, Welcome To Maple Mars signals the arrival of an exciting new group while providing mucho sonic support for power pop devotees.
Robert Silverstein - 20th Century Guitar Magazine
Welcome To Maple Mars
First Chick in Space
Face In The Crowd
Search For Tomorrow
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