Get Set Go
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Get Set Go

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"Get Set Go - Selling Out and Going Home"

Back in the late '60s and early '70s, Britain gave birth to progressive rock. Nestling in that genre's arms were a slew of bands that could rock with the best of them, but were also beholden to English folk. As American's knowledge of that latter style was limited to "Greensleeves" and Simon & Garfunkel's "Scarborough Fair." Which is good, because otherwise Get Set Go wouldn't sound anywhere near as audacious and unique as they do. On their debut album, the group seemed headed for a home in the power pop scene, but then they threw a spanner in the works with their punk-meets-folk follow-up. However, the music on that sophomore set was almost secondary to the album's overwhelmingly personal themes, as Mike TV bared his soul, foibles, and terrible failings for all the world to see. Now, with their third album, Selling Out and Going Home, Get Set Go seamlessly blend together all those styles and a bit more for good measure. So deft is the sequencing that the songs glide effortlessly from genre to genre, reinforcing the connections between them. Starting with a classic rock sound, they bring in folk elements, slide into a breezier '60s style, slip into melodic punk, fall back into early rock & roll but with a decidedly country flair, countrify pop-punk, folkify pop/rock, shift across power pop, post-punk, synth pop/rock, and speed punk, and pull up into alt folk before finishing the set off with a bright '60s-styled, folksy popper. Some of the numbers are straightforward in their genre, but many mix in elegant strings, folky fiddle, and a variety of other elements to smudge the style. The arrangements are inspired, the performances flawless, while the moods constantly shift across the set. The themes follow a similar evolution, working their way from the romantic to the sexy and into the obsessive, fearful, jealous, and pitiful in poverty. You don't have to be a psychiatrist to recognize that at times Mike TV is substituting sex and love for drugs; hey, when he compares his girl to heroin, he's rubbing our noses in it. But his own problems have made him sensitive to others', and he reaches out to comfort the hurt and warn the alienated. There's a clutch of angst themed songs, with the anthemic "Thirteen," in particular, a rallying cry for every disgruntled youth in the land. Anger spews forth here and there, as do a few raunchy numbers, but unlike the songs on Ordinary World, the lyrics are far more universal. Get Set Go aren't the first band to reach back into the past and into other genres for inspiration, but their mixture is thoroughly unique, and the appeal is already self-evident. Ordinary World rocketed them to fame, but as good as that was, Going Home leaves that World in the dust. - All Music Guide - Jo-Ann Greene


"Get Set Go - Ordinary World"

A lot has gone down in the Get Set Go camp since the release of their 2003 debut, So You've Ruined Your Life. First off, except for leader Mike TV, the entire band has been overhauled. And most serious of all, TV battled a serious drug addiction during the interim period. As a result, Get Set Go's sophomore full-length effort, Ordinary World, is an incredibly introspective record, as TV has opted to go the "autobiographical route" in his lyrics (especially when he talks about "smoking black" on "Get Thru the Day" and "drinking Drano" on "Suicide"). Also, Get Set Go opt to forgo the pop-punk sound of their debut in favor of more stripped-down, mostly acoustic-based approaches (akin to their heroes, the Violent Femmes). But TV's wit, quirkiness, and snappy melodies are all still present (along with his often warbling vocals), as evidenced on such tracks as "I Hate Everyone" and "Lift Me Up." Sometimes it takes a band several releases to mature musically and take a bold step. In Get Set Go's case, it took two albums, three years, and as reflected in the majority of the songs' lyrics, a lot of hard living. - All Music Guide - Greg Prato


"Get Set Go: Fury of Your Lonely Heart"

Never mind that this California ensemble’s main songwriter calls himself Mike TV or that this outfit has had music featured on both Weeds and Grey’s Anatomy. What we have here is a set of seriously smart pop tunes that belie any silliness that might surround Get Set Go. Mike TV has apparently studied at the feet of the masters, although which masters is a bit of a mystery. Unlike numerous new artists that come down the pike each afternoon, TV doesn’t wear his influences so proudly on his sleeve that he forgets to forge his own identity. All of that? A fancy way of saying that this is not a sound-alike band.

Oh, sure, the strings that pop up on tunes such as “Racecar” and “Looking East” –– epic by pop standards at five-and-a-half minutes –– will call to mind British bands from days of yore, and the clever (that’s not a slam) lyrics are reminiscent of Fountains of Wayne, say, or Barenaked Ladies. But really, they’re mostly hallmarks of this band. There’s plenty of evidence to the outfit’s real talents and true strengths: the rich arrangements of those aforementioned numbers, the sexual immediacy of the title song, the swirling sense of excitement evident in that piece or the lyrical resignation of “Stone Of Suffering”, the optimistic energy of “We Will Be Stars”, and the sheer beauty of the album’s second epic –– it’s nearly six minutes long –– “Little Lost Bird”.

To the credit of TV and Co., the humor here never overrides the music but instead enhances it, the winks and nudges never coming at the expense of serious musical impressiveness. Within all the apparent perfection and exactitude swirling around this affair, there are moments where everything feels a little too just so for rock ‘n’ roll. But there are far worse fates for a rock band to suffer in these trying times. Since when is perfection by any measure an indignity? If Get Set Go is not exactly a household name –– despite, apparently, over a million people having downloaded the outfit’s material –– it may very well become one of those cult touchstone bands, another NRBQ or Young Fresh Fellows for a decade that could sorely use bands of that caliber.

Fury Of Your Lonely Heart may not be the kind of album that immediately sucks in new converts, and this outfit’s legacy will undoubtedly be the time-honored tale of slow-and-steady winning it the respect of its peers, if not the adulation and extra dollars of college freshman from coast to coast. No matter, an album this smart and well executed cannot forever go unnoticed, and neither can the band that created it. Let’s just hope that GSG never becomes one of those bands we know only from its, er, TV credentials. A refreshing, thoughtful, and memorable release from an outfit that deserves every shred of attention it gets –– this enthusiastic review, of course, included. - Pop Matters - Jedd Beaudoin


Discography

So You've Ruined Your Life - 2003 (TSR Records)
- tracks "Break Your Heart" & "Wait" were featured on ABC's Grey's Anatomy. "Wait" is also on the Grey's Anatomy Soundtrack Volume #1. "What I Love About You" was featured on the Howard Stern radio show.

Ordinary World - 2006 (TSR Records)
- tracks "Sleep", "Crying Shame" & "I Hate Everyone" were featured on ABC's Grey's Anatomy. "I Hate Everyone" is also on the Grey's Anatomy Soundtrack Volume #2. Various tracks from Ordinary World were played on Steve Jones's (Sex Pistols) Jonesy's Jukebox radio show on Indie103.1 in Los Angeles. "Die Motherfucker Die" was featured on Showtime's Weeds.

Selling Out and Going Home - 2007 (TSR Records)
- track "Everybody Get Movin" was featured on ABC's Grey's Anatomy.

Sunshine, Joy & Happiness - 2008 (TSR Records)

Fury of Your Lonely Heart - 2012 (Square Tire Records)
- track "Stone of Suffering" was featured on ABC's Grey's Anatomy.

Also in 2012, "Wait" was featured on Grey Anatomy's musical episode and the song was sung by cast member Chandra Wilson. Link to watch:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pcg_ykuayxw

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Bio

Revolving around songwriter Mike TV, Get Set Go's quirky rock consists of dismal, self-loathing lyrics set to sunny melodies. In fact, Mike TV's goal was to have lyrics so dreadful, yet memorable, that his grandparents would disapprove. Inspired by such greats as Guided by Voices, the Beach Boys, Weezer, and the Mr. T Experience, he and his band released a debut, So You've Ruined Your Life, in 2003. The follow-up modified the band's sound, going from nearly pop-punk to indie rock with Ordinary World. Although Get Set Go had achieved little mainstream attention, their songs have been heard on the television show Grey's Anatomy. Their third album for TSR Records appeared in January 2007 as Selling Out and Going Home, followed by Sunshine, Joy & Happiness in 2008. In 2011 they released Fury of Your Lonely Heart on Square Tire Records.