Maxtone Four

Maxtone Four

 St. Louis, Missouri, USA

Sunny-on-top pop with chugging guitars, sticky hooks, and gorgeous harmonies.



The album cover of St. Louis-based Maxtone Four’s long-awaited sophomore release, Hey Hey Do It Anyway—taken from a ‘60s Spanish pharmaceutical poster—was the last piece of a musical puzzle that the band began assembling three years ago. The poster’s text, floating over the shoulder of a mod worker bee drifting off at her typewriter, translates as: “Sick? No, Tired,” an image singer/songwriter/rhythm guitarist Brian McClelland felt best summed up the quartet’s mindset—within the band and their personal lives—at the time these songs came together in late 2004. The cheerfully chugging guitar pop on the surface of these 11 tracks often masks seen-it-all, bittersweet lyrics—including sun-drenched but surprisingly wary missives on the original music scene (“Just Say I Know”), soul-sucking jobs (the analog synth-assisted audience fave inspired by McClelland’s day job as a 911 dispatcher, “I Fucking Hate This Place”), and friends that get old way too fast (“Parenthetic”).

“The irony,” reveals McClelland, “is that, two years later, the band has never been more fun—and it’s never sounded better or more confident.” He adds that much of that has to do with the reformation of the current lineup (bassist/designated trou dropper Chris Clark has returned after a busy year sabbatical that saw him playing in several original local projects and an ongoing gig with the St. Louis–based blues outfit the Little David Band.) and his long-time friendships with lead guitarist Mike Hellebusch and rock steady drummer Jeremy Miller.

Also in their corner during pre-production was one of McClelland’s favorite St. Louis–based rock stars, Joe Thebeau (Finn’s Motel, AOK, the Finns). Thebeau’s main focus was helping tighten or refocus lyrics and—in “Just Say I Know” and “OK You Go First”—adding some fun melodic twists, including the music for the former’s (and the album’s) ascending chord intro and the latter’s sweet A-minor chorus turnaround.

McClelland spent much of his downtime between Hey Hey’s recording sessions performing and recording with fellow St. Louis skinny tie popsters Tight Pants Syndrome (an experience he says “really upped my game, vocally and melodically, which is having a nice crossover effect with the Maxtone tunes”), as well as working up material for another project covering an indie-r terrain, Whoa, Thunder!, described by McClelland as “girl/boy skittery mod pop for cats.” Adding, “I’ve been stockpiling songs for the last two years, so at this point I’m just figuring out which song goes where.”

The band’s upcoming live dates—their first performances in over a year, including a May 25th date at St. Louis’ Duck Room being taped for broadcast (and DVD release) by STL’s The Set —will feature the debut of a new, yet-to-be recorded surf-rock shuffle called “Ultimately Baby.” New to the audience, anyway—McClelland first submitted the song to his bandmates two years ago. At that time they had decided not to work up any new material until they wrapped production on Hey Hey. “So now we’re finally catching up,” McClelland laughs. “That’s the good thing about taking such a long hiatus—besides feeling totally re-energized and inspired to make music together again, we have a really extensive catalog of new tunes to choose from. After playing what was basically the same set for most of 2005, that’s a welcome treat.”

• Maxtone Four’s 2004 debut, Go Steady, was distributed nationally in Japan in July 2005.
• M4 has shared stages with Of Montreal, Sloan, Dressy Bessy, Aqueduct, Steven Burns, Jump! Little Children, the Orange Peels, and many others.
• M4 was nominated BEST POP BAND in STL’s the Riverfront Times.
• Go Steady’s “One More Thing” and a 2005 advance single of Hey Hey Do It Anyway’s “Short Pants” received regular radio airplay at WMRV the River in St. Louis, and has been featured in college, online, and traditional radio playlists around the globe, including Germany, Portugal, Spain, Japan, and the UK.
• Go Steady and Hey Hey Do It Anyway are available online at Not Lame Records (, iTunes (, CD Baby (, Kool Kat Musik ( and in select St. Louis record shops.
• "There's a Girl," "Picking Up the Pace," & "Emptyspace" from M4's debut, Go Steady, were featured on MTV's series Next in 2007 &2008.
• "Kickstand" from M4's Hey Hey Do It Anyway has received airplay on BBC2.

“Maxtone 4 has been threatening to become the city's best power-pop band for the past few years. With its second album, Hey Hey Do It Anyway, the quartet is finally making good on its promise.”
-The Riverfront Times

“The Maxtone Four delivers the goods when it comes to catchy, jangly guitar riffs and sharp-witted lyrical humor. Awesome music well worth adding to your top ten for 2007 list—this is a crunchy pop treat along the lines of the Cars meets the Spongetones.”
-The Powerpopaholic

“Strong songwritin


Go Steady (LP 2004)
Hey Hey Do It Anyway (LP 2007)

"OK You Go First" (2005 single version) appeared on "International Pop Overthrow 2004 Compilation CD"(2004)
"Paranthetic" (2005 single version) appeared on "KWUR 90.3 FM presents Underground Music Revolution, Vol. 1". (2007)

"The Set" original airdate 2/14/08 (DVD 2008)

Set List

"Just Say I Know"
"I Fucking Hate This Place"
"Making Up (Yeah Yeah)"
"Make Out Party"
"Melody Girl"
"Short Pants"
"OK You Go First"
"Plummy Rose"
"Ultimately Baby"
"There's a Girl"
"Do it Anyway (Hey Hey)"
"Ev'rybody's Gonna Be Happy" (Kinks cover)
"Gay Bar" (Electric Six cover)