The Kickbacks
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The Kickbacks

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | SELF

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | SELF
Band Rock Pop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Miles of Music (April 2006)"

It has been said often that The Kickbacks - led by singer/songwriter/guitarist Tad Overbaugh - capture a melodic rock vibe recalling a certain over-noted Minneapolis band of `80s roots-rock fame. True as that is, these Bostonian rockers break the mold some on their 4th release, Motel Stars. They turn a half-hour - broken down into 10 bite-size pieces - into a veritable Whitman Sampler of pop confections with names to match each flavor: Greed, Regret, Longing, Obsession, Heartbreak and Heart-Repair. It`s not all power-chords and jangle though on Motel Stars. "Fixed To Be Broken" offers a muted and airy bit of introspection, swaddled in the solace of self-medication. But when they come on with a tight and sassy hook in tunes like "Lethal Charm" and "I Crash Cars" you might very well find yourself gunning it if you're behind the wheel. -- Robinson, Miles Of Music - "Motel Stars" album review

"Metronome Magazine (July 2006)"

The Kickbacks are such a good band. Their last release "Blindside View" caught our attention and prompted a well deserved cover story in Metronome. Their new disc "Motel Stars" is even better than the CD that introduced us to the talented foursome. Magnificently crafted pop/rock songs come to life under the sterling musicianship of singer/songwriter/guitarist Tad Overbaugh, guitarist/singer/keyboardist Steve Scott, bassist Matt Arnold and drummer Perry James. Guest musicians Tim O'Betz on pedal steel and keyboardist/programmer John Magee also add key elements to The Kickbacks sound making for a well rounded and produced effort.

Radio friendly songs abound on "Motel Stars" but the real gems of the CD are the album opener "$$$," the well penned "Collect Calling For You," and the rock & roll intrigue of "Lethal Charm". If you've never had a chance to hear The Kickbacks, I highly recommend that you check out this album. Good stuff. - "Motel Stars" album review

"Alt Culture Guide (June 2006)"

Is there room for intelligent music in today's corporate environment? Probably not, but thank gawd that some bands still have the balls and brains and desire to crank out 90-proof rawk & roll. Take, for instance, The Kickbacks. The Boston band's fourth trip to the plate is an infectious and lively sonic brew of jangling, guitar-driven pop, gilded riff-happy rock and enough twang to appeal to the Americana crowd. Motel Stars may tip the scales at a lightweight half-hour, but the album's carefully constructed tunes hit your ears like ten perfectly-timed, three-minute jolts of electricity. Back in the day, once upon a time, in a land far away and all that rubbish, songs like the punchy "Lazy Eye;" the shimmering, dreamy "SSS;" and the wickedly delightful "Lethal Charm" would have been snapped up on 45rpm vinyl by music lovers and blasted by discriminating radio stations out of car radios across the fruited plains. In the modern world, however, where Sturgeon's law* has been diluted by corporate greed and listener fatigue, The Kickbacks will have to rely on word of mouth and live performances to drive people to their page on CD Baby. It's worth the trip, though, Motel Stars a long shot at rock stardom but a short walk to some of the highest quality pop-rock jams that your ears will ever enjoy. - "Motel Stars" album review

"The Noise - Boston (May 2006)"

The Kickbacks hypnotize you with the first song, "$$$." I don't know if it's the strangely appealing vocal timbre, mellow jangling guitar or reflective vibe, but it works. Smooth harmonies permeate the songs from this band. I don't want to fully compare them to the Gin Blossoms at times, but if so I mean it in the best light. Sort of a mature sound. Introspective slower tunes add a contemplative aura. There are rocking choruses with enough guitar fuzz to satisfy an aging 30-something like me, and the songs are delightedly brief. Nothing worse than hearing what would be a great two minute pop rock song grinding away for six minutes, which is something I hear a lot these days by other bands. People undermine that point, but the length of a band's songs is really important to the overall impression and potential success. Say what you have to say and that's it. Let its confident sound wash over you. This is music that knows what it is. (Mike Loce) - "Motel Stars" album review

"Americana UK (June 2006)"

The Kickbacks hail from Boston, and on this their fourth CD, they impress with a very tight,compact, summery pop sound, not a million miles from our own Teenage Fanclub. Lead singer and songwriter, Tad Overbaugh has an ear for a compelling melody and a telling hook, and sterling contributions from bassist Matt Arnold, drummer Perry James,and guitarist / producer Steve Scott gell to great effect, providing a solid base for Overbaugh's inspiring and imaginative compositions. Kicking off with the 10cc ish "All about the Cash" , a taut, compressed little song, full of thinly veiled venom, they deliver, and continue to do so consistently throughout the ten tracks. "I Crash Cars" has an irresistible chorus, and is based around an addictive stacatto guitar riff, "Tip my Girl" employs some sublime harmonies on top of a beautiful juxtaposition of raunchy guitars, and mellow pedal steel, but really there is no sign of any "fillers" in this uplifting collection of intelligently composed and arranged tunes, which is probably just as well given that the whole album clocks in at just over 30 minutes. - "Motel Stars" album review

" (June 2006)"

Though The Kickbacks have been kicking around for near 10 years, this is the first time I've heard their stuff. Dominating their sound is an Americana Rock feel that a lot of people are going to say reminds them of none other than The Replacements. But wait, they're from Boston.

Songs like "$$$" and "Lazy Eye" from their fourth release, Motel Stars, are have a really melodic feel to them that is surprisingly catchy. Other songs, like "Fixed to Be Broken" are a bit more mellow. This one has pretty little chimes and a beatbox drum bumbling along. "Tip My Girl" is similar, with a pedal steel leading the way. I rather like this quieter side of the band. Reminds me of certain Wilco songs, even Sparklehorse at times. Overbaugh's voice is interesting; it is slightly nasal with a compressed tension to it that makes it sound like the words aren't coming out of his gut but somewhere higher up in his chest. This actually goes rather well with the music. If you had a straightforward singer here, I might be inclined to take a pass. Instead, I surprised myself by leaving it in the CD player for more than a day. - "Motel Stars" album review

" (April 2006)"

The Kickbacks unleash their fourth album to date in "Motel Stars." A malted blend of folk, Americana, pop, and indie rock, the album looks to vocal melodies first and then guitar harmonies a quick second. The result is riff with catchy hooks that pop and weave their way through the traditional rock format to land nicely in your inner ear. Rock out to this one! - J-Sin - "Motel Stars" album review

" (April 2006)"

With their fourth album "Motel Stars", this four-piece from Boston, MA delivered an exciting, hybrid sound. Their new release has the interesting ability of smacking of all sorts of familiar sounds (rock, pop, indie, folk and hints of 'Americana') coupled with a new, interesting way of fusing the same. Thumbs up guys. - "Motel Stars" album review

"Hartford Courant (July 2006)"

The Kickbacks' latest burns bright with songwriting craft and great pop moments taken from life's daily pages. "Motel Stars," the Boston group's fourth release since 1998, adds a twang in the alt-country vein.

Lead singer and songwriter Tad Overbaugh, who grew up in Windsor, takes a swipe at the music industry in the wistful opening track, "$$$," castigating label suits for beating ideas into the ground and treating customers as clowns who will buy anything they pump out. Elsewhere, the catchy "Lazy Eye" explores the thrill of attraction.

The 10 songs take up just 31 minutes and assert a resolve to stay fresh in the grip of rules and routine. "Can you find the way to the breathing room?" Overbaugh asks in "I Crash Cars," built around a severed guitar riff. "Tip My Girl," the CD's best song, is driven by pedal steel guitar. Based on a true conversation that took place in Las Vegas, it explores the unconventional romance of a man and a stripper - a distillation of the Replacements' "Here Comes a Regular" and Bruce Springsteen's "Candy's Room" into a tale that is the Kickbacks' own. (TOM PULEO) - "Motel Stars" album review

" (August 2006)"

Having opened for artists like Tim Easton, Robbie Fulks and Slobberbone, The Kickbacks know what Americana is all about. And they excel in that realm on this album. Whether it is the slow building $$$ that steadily moves into something better and bigger or the up-tempo Westerbergian Collect Calling For You, The Kickbacks can do little wrong. A later highlight is the ballad Jealous of the Stars that is quite gritty and Led by singer and chief songwriter Tad Overbaugh, the band nails Lazy Eye that sounds like Steve Earle fronting the Gin Blossoms. After a tender ballad Fixed to Be Broken, they up the ante with the punchy, foot-stomping Lethal Charm and the closing Lights Flicker that is a moody, mid-tempo piece. It's an album you can definitely kick back to with very little filler. - "Motel Stars" review


Longitude (1998)
Blue Man's Collar EP (2000)
Blindside View (2002)
Motel Stars (2006)
Even the Blues (2008) - OUT NOW on iTunes & CDBaby!



Never far from his notebook and hand-held recorder, Kickbacks' songwriter, Tad Overbaugh is not one to miss out on capturing a good lyric or melody when it comes. "I don't count on getting good ideas, so when I get one, I want to remember it", says Overbaugh laughing. "The inside of my car has been good to me. Most of my songs have been written sitting in parking lots or while driving. I don't recommend driving and writing though".

The Kickbacks debuted in 1998 with the release of Longitude, and soon after, the Blue Man's Collar EP (2000). The band received favorable reviews from critics for Blindside View (2002) and Motel Stars (2006) for, as one reviewer put it, "songs that ring with depth, authenticity, and plenty of hook-infused power”.

The new album, Even The Blues (2008), was produced by guitarist/multi-instrumentalist and "partner-in-crime" as Overbaugh puts it, Steve Scott. The new record again features the Motel Stars (2006) lineup of Matt Arnold on bass and Perry James on drums.

"Even The Blues is about the concept of trying to enjoy the good moments as they pass, amidst the struggles that are always there. Sometimes facing things head on takes you there. Other times it seems some form of escapism is needed, at least temporarily, to keep going, recharge and get back to a good place." says Overbaugh.