Steven Deal
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Steven Deal

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"Bleached Black Trouser Press Record Guide"



BLEACHED BLACK
Wrist-Slashing Romance EP (RiJiD) 1985
Bleached Black (Relativity) 1986

Ignore the misleading name: New Haven, Connecticut's Bleached Black offers a unique brand of keen-edged power/punk pop. Hard and driving, yet sublimely melodic, the trio intermingles unusual influences (Buzzcocks and R.E.M., to name two), enhanced by the dual vocal attack of guitarist Stevo and bassist Greg Prior.

The indie-land debut, Wrist-Slashing Romance, suffers as a result of poor recording. However, what it lacks in production it makes up for with first-class songs. "Prey for Me," "I Can't Be Happy" and the raging instrumental "Chainsmoking with Nigel" are absolutely outstanding.

With crisp sound (production by Lou Giordano) and abundant tunefulness, Bleached Black is an excellent full-length debut. "I Was in Your Life," "Chelsea" and "Circuitry Spiders" typify the band's characteristic mix of energetic drive, alluring harmony vocals and modulated guitar roar. Bleached Black are honing a viable audio personality and seem able to write well enough to make even better records than this.
[Altricia Gethers]
- Trouser Press


"Chopper Trouser Press Record Guide"



CHOPPER
4play EP (Animal 5) 1989
Chopper (Aus. Zero Hour) 1991
Slogans and Jingles (Big Deal) 1993
Supersmile EP (Big Deal) 1994
Madhouse on Castle Street (Big Deal) 1995

Connecticut singer/songwriters Steven Deal and Robert Dietrich are Chopper. With a revolving assortment of bassists and drummers, the guitar-playing duo has released three full-length albums of hook-filled pop visions. Each disc is as rewarding as it is different.

Recorded as a trio, the 12-inch 4play contains four songs, including "Caitlin Cries" and "Nice Girls (Don't Explode)." Chopper, however, does explode with a healthy ration of mod-influenced power chords and nifty melodies. Surrounding a rough yet reverent cover of the Creation's classic "How Does It Feel to Feel" are a slew of originals in the same spirit. The disc's highlight is the terse rocker "You're Tearing Me Up," reprised from 4play.

The two packed away the mod influences on Slogans and Jingles, instead traveling the classic, chiming three-minute pop song route. The results are stunning: fourteen tracks of consistently enjoyable, boyishly sung numbers like the cutesy "Swirling Girl," the bubblegummy "Is It Love Inside?!?!" (which borrows its lead guitar riff from the Jaggerz' 1970 hit, "The Rapper") and a totally appropriate cover of the Records' "The Same Mistakes." The Supersmile EP contains two tunes from Slogans and Jingles, as well as covers of Stealers Wheel's "Stuck in the Middle With You," the Plimsouls' "Hush, Hush" (from an Australian tribute album) and the Buzzcocks' "Ever Fallen in Love?," given a delicate acoustic reading.

Another stylistic shift of sorts occurred with the release of Madhouse on Castle Street, which takes Chopper partway into country-rock. There's still some pure pop (most notably the opening "Run Away"), but the addition of mandolin and pedal steel guitar is a radical departure. The jaunty "Walter Byrd" scores points in the country vein, but the often melancholy song stylings of Madhouse are, on the whole, something of a disappointment after the fresh-faced pop of Slogans and Jingles.
[John M. Borack] - Trouser Press


"Absolute Zeros "Dreams Gone Sour" review"

The Absolute Zeros

Dreams Gone Sour

Big Deal

Really high-quality power pop that had me hooked after one listen. The sound isn't overpowering at all, but perfectly balanced guitar melodies and vocal harmonies. I'm reminded of "pop" bands that seemed to hit the colleges in the late 1980s, but with a lot more of an edge and plenty of octane.

The Absolute Zeros are the latest effort from former Chopper frontman Steven Deal, who obviously wanted to put together an album of upbeat tunes culling from all the greats of punk and power pop. On a lot of the songs, for instance, "Rip My Heart Out" and "In Your Head," I kept thinking of song's I'd heard before, on the Who's Sell Out or A Quick One. Fascinating that the Absolute Zeros' press material cites the Who as a band they "borrowed" from...

Any band that can steal as well as these guys should be saluted! And I mean that in all charity!

Dreams Gone Sour has fifteen great songs, all of which contain powerful melodic guitars, interesting keyboards on occasion, good crisp vocals, and plenty of humor. For example, "Tiger Beat," is an anthem to that ubiquitous teeny bopper magazine that just has to be read, doesn't it? "Mr. Wonderful" is about a superhero who takes over when Superman and Batman are long gone and does some real day-saving. There's even a song that seems to mention something funny about our president. For those of us who appreciate the upbeat, this is one you should check out. Big Deal, P.O. Box 2072, Peter Stuyvesant Station, New York, NY 10009

--David Lee Beow├╝lf - Ink19


"RADIO TWELVE Review"

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Steven Deal RADIO TWELVE (Seditionary Kitten)

So I got a copy of Steven Deal's forthcoming album Radio Twelve in the mail last week and have been pleasantly surprised over its nearly 40 minute span (I wasn't expecting any mail, so it turned out to be a nice little treat). Steven used to play in Bleached Black and the Absolute Zeros back in the day and has apparently been on an 11 year hiatus. But now he's back with a mostly-solo album (Dan Kohler, Lisa Hammer, Chris Cretella and Dave Parmelee also lent a hand). Radio Twelve is an earnest anti-love album that's got all sorts of mental baggage. Between the passive-aggressive jabs at an ex-lover's weight, songs of self-loathing, and all sorts of disappointment Steven managed to craft a pop album that's anything but stagnant. This track's rocking, that one's acoustic, is that an electric organ? Hey handclaps! Wait was that Orpheus' daughter? Covering everything from pop punk (not pop-punk) on over to 60's inspired garage pop, and even some folksy stuff Radio Twelve definitely get my nod of approval. It's due out in November from Seditionary Kitten Media. Blake. - Sugarsours


Discography

Bleached Black "Wrist Slashing Romance" EP 1985 (RiJiD)

Bleached Black "When I Was In Your Life b/w Chelsea" 45 1986 (RiJiD)

Bleached Black LP 1987 (Relativity/Sony)

Chopper "4play" EP 1989 (Animal 5)

Chopper LP 1991 (Zero Hour)

Chopper "White Summer b/w How Does It Feel To Feel" 45 1991 (Susstones)

Chopper "How Does It Feel To Feel b/w Caitlin Cries" 45 1991 (Zero Hour)

Chopper "Slogans And Jingles" LP 1993(Big Deal/Caroline)

Chopper "Supersmile" EP 1993 (Big Deal/Caroline)

Chopper "Madhouse On Castle Street" LP 1994 (Big Deal/Caroline)

Absolute Zeros "Dreams Gone Sour" LP 1997(Big Deal/Paradigm)

Absolute Zeros "NICE!" EP 2004(Buzzbaby)

The Naomi Star "Through The Eyes" LP 2009(Naomi Star)

Steven Deal RADIO TWELVE LP 2009 (Seditionary Kitten)

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Bio

Playing since I was 13 years old, sneaking into clubs, and then getting a notarized note from my parents to play when i got my first record deal with Relativity/Sony at age 18. This was my first group Bleached Black. I was known as Stevo in those days. Dropped out of college to tour the USA and Canada several times as support act for groups such as Dinosaur Jr., Das Damen, The Screaming Trees, The Neighborhoods, etc. Band released "Wrist Slashing Romance" EP, Self-titled Album produced by Lou Giordano (Husker Du, Volcano Suns, GooGoo Dolls, and many other credits...), some 45's. Broke up Acrimoniously in 1988 after only appearing on MTV 2 or 3 times...Started Chopper in 1989, signed with Big Deal/Caroline, toured, played MANY gigs and recorded the "4play" EP, "Chopper" self-titled album, toured throughout the UK, France and Spain doing promo appearances, recorded "Slogans and Jingles" album with Adam "Red" Lasus, and the swan song "Madhouse On Castle Street." with Michael Deming of the Lilys as Engineer. This band too ended acrimoniously in 1996...in 1997 my third band The Absolute Zeros picked up my deal with Big Deal, now owned by Paradigm in NYC. We recorded a million compilation tracks, got trashed in People Magazine, and eventually broke up after our Peter Katis (Interpol, Philistines, Jr., Babyheads, Zambonis...) recorded album "Dreams Gone Sour" stiffed bigger than any other recording in my history. This is in spite of the koo-koo cover art done by Nick's famous Brother Steven Appleby (ex-Altered Images artist responsible for all those Duran Duran sleeves and those cartoons on that damn Pixies disc---oh yeah, and his BBC series, "Captain Star", along with many, many books....) Then I dropped out for awhile, reforming the Zeros with guitar-virtuoso Chris Cretella taking over for Nick and Nick moving to bass. We recorded a few things---a punk cover EP called "NICE!" and album called "Twisted" featuring unreleased tracks and demos. So that was it until I joined the Naomi Star as 2nd Guitarist/Vocalist/Songwriter last year, and quit after playing gigs in Boston, NYC, CT., and NH. WHY??? Because I started writing and recording songs that I loved again with Dan from Naomi Star and the band said, "Naaaa..." we said, SOLO CAREER!!!!! And I say Let's Fucking Drink To That! I'm working on new material with Dan, and have just licensed 6 songs for the soundtrack of a movie co-directed by Lisa Hammer (The Venture Brothers) and James Merendino (SLC Punk), and written by Ben Edlund (The Tick). So There!