Paul Spencer & The Maxines
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Paul Spencer & The Maxines

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Press


"A promising debut!"

"A promising debut album - Spencer infuses his meaty, Cheap Trick / Heartbreakers-like garage / power-pop with thick catchy riffs, and a scratchy, bluesy voice which alternately recalls Elvis Costello, Paul Westerberg and The New York Dolls’ David Johansen...the songs are solid and Spencer's enthusiasm remains unchecked throughout the album.” - Mark Suppanz - The Big Takeover


"A great rock and roll blast that demands to be played at high volume"

"Wearing influences as diverse as the Beatles, the Kinks and Bob Dylan to the Ramones, Replacements and Pixies proudly on his sleeve, Paul Spencer’s "The Whole Shebang" is chock-full of screaming Rickenbackers and Les Pauls, great melodic riffs and vocals that would make Iggy proud. Highlight tracks for me include "We Don’t Give a Damn", "Walk Away Christie" and "The Whole Shebang" but really the whole album is a great rock and roll blast that demands to be played at high volume. Paul Spencer and his band deserve your support not only because they rock out but because they rock out with conviction. The two are not always a part of rock and roll these days so when they are you want to make sure the musicians know it. Great stuff." - Mark Boudreau - The Rock and Roll Report


"The raw nerve attitude of early new-wave artists like Elvis Costello or Joe Jackson with smart lyrics to back it up"

"Paul Spencer's debut, 'The Whole Shebang', bursts out of the gate in a hail of bullets. It has the raw nerve attitude of early new-wave artists like Elvis Costello or Joe Jackson with smart lyrics to back it up. It's obvious that Spencer is fan of the rougher side of rock, as influences such as MC5 and Clash percolate to the surface of his music, much like Cheap Trick. Using Bettie Page as a simile never hurts. Every teenager needs an album like this in their collection." - Broose Tulloch - Stylus


"Spencer runs his fingers through his hair and sets out to prove rock 'n' roll isn’t dead after all"

"In sheer devotion to that which we hold above all other things, rock 'n' roll, Paul Spencer doggedly pursues an audio shrine to The Greats on his album, 'The Whole Shebang'. Whether a determined attempt at recreation or a modern twist with a little classic resurrection, Spencer incorporates all things sacred to achieve that sound. With vocals floating between The Pixies and The Clash and some killer guitar riffs every so often, Spencer runs his fingers through his hair and sets out to prove rock 'n' roll isn’t dead after all.

Spencer’s triumph can be found simply in that he actually achieves what he seems to be striving for ... solid melodies and a sound nearly anyone can nod a head to. His lyrical transitions are as thick and amber-pleasant as honey, and he has the ability to make you believe he has felt and learned something from those experiences he references." - Genevieve Will - Indie-Music.com


"Paul Spencer brings back memories of The Clash and other rock icons"

"Paul Spencer brings back memories of The Clash and other rock icons. His music has a great mix of punk and rock bringing his own interpretation and vision of what rock music could be. Some of his best songs include Instant Crush, Going Higher, She's One of a Kind, Walk Away Christie, and The Whole Shebang. Go ahead and give Paul Spencer an hour of your time, who knows you might want to give more." - Justin Ricci (Music Director WTSC 91.1 FM Potsdam, NY) - WTSC 91.1 FM Potsdam, NY


"A glorious mix of upfront punk rockers and some rather more reflective offerings"

“Imagine Billy Childish at his most childish. Combine that with a lunatic 'Mats fan who joined a garage band in '80's, got locked away, and was released twenty years later after consuming every notable punk and garage album ever recorded and you might begin to understand the logic behind this album. Paul Spencer is a true needle-down rock n soul aficionado, and what I love most of all about the album is that music is clearly a labor of love for Paul Spencer - cathartic, even. Of course, being referential and having good taste (dude likes MC5, The Kinks, Big Star, The Replacements so I don't think that's open to any scrutiny) can only do so much. The material has to be good. Fortunately, you can breathe a deep sigh of relief, because "The Whole Shebang" is a glorious mix of upfront punk rockers and some rather more reflective offerings. Intelligent, sweaty and gloriously executed punk rawk and rollah? I'm in.” - Peetah - Throwaway Style


"A synthesis of numerous noteworthy predecessors from the glory days of garage, folk and punk rock with all of the raw energy that an electric guitar can muster"

"Long ago I read a parody review which proclaimed a rock composition to be pretentious for containing more than three chords. Without suggesting any sense of parody, there's nothing pretentious whatsoever about this new CD which reduces the whole shebang of rock music history to its most glorious bare bones roots. Self consciously or not, the CD comes across as something of a synthesis of numerous noteworthy predecessors from the glory days of garage, folk and punk rock with all of the raw energy that an electric guitar can muster. In so doing it portrays the timelessly alienated urbanite locked away in self-imposed exile, armed with axe, drumsticks and girl by his side, making a rebellious rumble to the world outside: Here in the city the only place to play is the garage/And if the neighbors complain/ Just tell them to get lost... And like that, from an old dusty hat pulled out of a cupboard of stored knicknacks, jumps the likes of Elvis Costello, Graham Parker, X, the Plimsouls, The Kinks, Velvet Underground, The Cure and a host of others, several already mentioned on this page. Yet there are also moments when a defiant don't-give-a-damn spirit gives way to introspection: Ain't it funny how we build these walls/ Invisible to the eye/ And proceed to hit on them/ Everyday of our lives/ Like a fear that won't subside... Instant Crush, Going Higher, Hands Off and Walk Away Christie may have the neighborhood police pounding at the garage door but I think that the celebratory She's One of a Kind and The Whole Shebang should get the whole neighborhood knocking it down more out of curiosity to see what's cooking inside, without asking to be invited to the party" - Frederick Abrams - Frederick Abrams


Discography

"Cut The Jive" (MAY 2007)
"The Whole Shebang" (JAN 2005)

BOTH AVAILABLE AT: www.paulspencer.com

Photos

Bio

Following the release of Paul Spencer’s 2005 debut, “The Whole Shebang” ("A promising debut album - Spencer infuses his meaty, Cheap Trick / Heartbreakers-like garage / power-pop with thick catchy riffs, and a scratchy, bluesy voice which alternately recalls Elvis Costello, Paul Westerberg and The New York Dolls’ David Johansen...the songs are solid and Spencer's enthusiasm remains unchecked throughout the album.” - Mark Suppanz, The Big Takeover)

2007's “Cut The Jive” builds on the promise of that record, bringing the power-pop elements to the forefront and infusing the songs with hooks galore (The Raspberries and Cheap Trick come to mind), without ever losing a wild punk edge that owes a lot to bands like The Clash, The New York Dolls and seminal post-punkers The Replacements.

Backed by The Maxines (name which right at first glance recalls The NY Dolls’ sleaze), the CT based Spencer seems to have found in the swagger of The Maxines the perfect vehicle to deliver his highly charged brand of rock & roll, full of power chords, sticky melodies and clever lyrics (“I’ll be at the bar drinking myself sober / But there’s now way I’m gonna avoid the hangover”, warns the take-no-prisoners opening track, “No Regrets”)

"Bolt Of Lightning", true to its name, blasts out of the speakers next: a song about a punk rock girl who digs The Damned, it succeeds with its luscious harmonies, lightning solo and start-stop dynamics (courtesy of the solid-as-a-rock Maxines drummer, Bobby Soares). It also introduces the listener to the unifying subject of the album - the System ("You wanna shake the System / You wanna give it one good earthquake / So every brand new day / Brings a new hair color and a new set of rules to break")

"Ain't Nobody (Gonna Tell Me What To Do)" maintains the rebellious mood in a vicious riff, a bouncy chorus with catchy "woooo-hoooo!"s, a juicy twin-guitar solo that recalls Thin Lizzy, and some very defiant lyrics ("It's genetically built into my DNA / Until my 6 feet of earth claim it one day / People hear what they see, but can you really see me? / Go feed the Machine, waste no time on me"). The listener is treated at the end to a restart / coda filled with some gorgeous background harmonies that recall Big Star, The Raspberries, Badfinger.

"Today Is The Day" kicks in with an anthemic fury, best expressed in its lyrics: "Because you only regret the things that you don't do / And when you live by the rules / the System is bound to get to you!". Sonically, it invokes The Replacements circa "Tim", and it features a(nother) blistering solo from The Maxines' lead guitarist Danny Soares.

"T.L.M.E.Y." - the initials being nothing more than a jokey take on the song's chorus - comes across as Ramones style punk but with a Kinks sensibility, which makes for a sticky-as-glue melody; it's the kind of infectious tune that lodges itself in one's brain and stays there. Full of the same beautiful background harmonies supplied throughout the album by The Maxines' bassist, Mark Soares (who also created the provocative album cover), "T.L.M.E.Y." is pure power-pop.

"Shake Off" announces itself with a boozed-up shout from Paul Spencer ("Sing when you win, booze when you lose!") that would make Bon Scott proud. The song features a powerful riff coupled with a feverish, funky cowbell and a barrage of "La-La-La-La-La"s straight out of The Who's workbook. Lyrically, it is pure barbed wire while being funny at the same time; it contains some of Spencer's best lines: "She was a czech, I was her mate / Ain't life ironic? Call it fate", and "Burning the chaff, smoking the weed / And punching the clock until it bleeds", just to mention a few examples. The whole song is a lyrical tour-de-force with a swaggering solo to boot and a rhythm section that just won't let loose.

Next comes "Don't Put Me Down" strolling by with its Stones-y riff, shifting fast-slow-fast dynamics, quirky background vocals and a rippin' solo that sounds like pure Keith Richards. The whole song has a punkish 'going-off-the-rails-at-any-moment' feel to it, partially created by the pumpin' piano in the background & the jealousy theme, which nevertheless is counter-balanced for comic relief by lines such as, "Girl, you can't say I never tried / It will be hard to wave goodbye / Specially in handcuffs / With broken bones and stuff".

The title track follows right way, and at a mere 1:10, it's one hell of a ride. Opening with a delirious, 'taking the piss', radio-like jingle, it quickly kicks into full punk mode, but with a twist - with its rollercoaster piano in the forefront, it sounds like Jerry Lee Lewis fronting the Ramones. With Paul Opalach providing the pumpin' piano, "Cut The Jive" sounds like a barely contained riot ("Smash the bottle, go full throttle / Kick the stool, spin & wobble"). It reminds us how much 50's rock & roll (Jerry Lee Lewis, Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, etc) has, in terms of spirit & rawness, lots in commo