Tight Pants Syndrome
Gig Seeker Pro

Tight Pants Syndrome

St. Louis, Missouri, United States | SELF

St. Louis, Missouri, United States | SELF
Band Pop Rock


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



"Singles (CD Review)"

So Brian McClelland of power poppers The Maxtone Four is part of this favorite St. Louis band. The album collects tunes written and recorded between 2004 and 2007 with different styles of rock and pop sounds. The band has mastered the art of the perfect pop song here and even though the band is lead by songwriter guitarist Tom Stephens -- everybody sings on the album. Starting with the group harmonies on "Your Buzz is Safe with Me Tonight" it soars and the hook sticks like glue. Sung by female lead Marcia Pandolfi, "Oh Keith" and "Cocksure" give us a very nice pair of Liz Phair-styled pop songs, but my favorite here is the irresistible jangle on "Your Love is Hot" with a Monkees meets Byrds melodic chorus. Each song has multiple layers of pop hooks, more highlights being "Dear Former Baby" and "Cool Bad Cherry" which bring to mind the best efforts of The Minus Five and The DB's. And I dare you not to sing along with the fist pumping anthem "F___king A Right!" Also I was super impressed by the albums closer "Suburban Girl" which lets the groups Beatlesque flag fly high. Most of the total fourteen tracks here are true rock and pop bliss. Enjoy! - Powerpopaholic.com

"Power-Pop Heaven (Singles Review)"

Elusive local power-pop/’60s-rock aficionados Tight Pants Syndrome have finally been captured on disc with Singles. As its name implies, the album collects tunes written and recorded between 2004 and 2007 with several different lineups. Unlike many odds-and-ends compilations, though, Singles is incredibly cohesive — from the Sloan-like power-pop of “Cool Bad Cherry” to the ’80s indie-rock shambling of “John’s Niece is Very Pretty” and drowsy harmonies of jangle-psych gem “Your Buzz Is Safe With Me.” Now settled in as a quintet, Tight Pants Syndrome recently played its first out-of-town shows, which included an appearance at International Pop Overthrow Chicago. Vocalist/bassist Brian McClelland — a member of the band since 2005 — checked in with B-Sides on the eve of Singles’ release.

B-Sides: How does it feel to finally hold a CD in your hands after all this time?

Brian McClelland: Of the fourteen songs on the record, I’m involved in the last five or six. The first batch of tunes I think is from 2005? 2004? I was such a big fan of those guys, I always wanted them to compile their stuff even before I was a band member. I think everyone’s really excited about it. We’ve already started recording the next batch of songs, an actual record where everything is being made at the same time, instead of over a five-year period.

I bet that’s a very different feeling.

This lineup has really been fun so far. Our live show is so much improved, I think — just a lot more vocals.

Erin [Hogan] is the newest member, right?

We basically have three lead singers; Tim [McAvin] and I and Erin [Hogan] are all doing lead. Tim actually found Erin on Craigslist, which I thought was a very modern way of [finding her]. [Laughs] She is a locally based actress. Most people, when they get a new member, you want them to feel like they’re being a part of the creative process, so you try to let them shape their own parts. But she comes in and says, “Tell me exactly what you want to do, and I’ll do it, no problem.” She likes to be directed. We tell her exactly what we need, and she makes it sound great.

What struck me about listening to the collection, was how cohesive everything is, despite being written over so many years with so many different people. I was impressed by that.

A big part of that is Tom Stephens. Basically, the band is Tom Stephens. He has recycled the entire lineup since he did “Your Buzz Is Safe With Me” — everyone’s new except for Tom. He just lends a very distinct slant to his pop songs. Tom is such a great songwriter.

Tights Pants Syndrome did some out-of-town stuff recently, right?

We did some Champaign and Chicago stuff over the last month or two. It was a blast; I never had that much fun being out of town with a band before. They’re just the goofiest people I’ve ever known in my life — and that’s in the best way, they’re really fun. I’m on the midnight shift, [and] we left early in the morning, I tried to sleep the entire way up to Chicago — we had a day show [there] and a night show that same night in Champaign — and these guys were so goofy, yelling and screaming the whole time. I was exhausted, but they were having so much fun, I couldn’t tell ‘em, “Guys, can you keep it down?” Because that enthusiasm was so, I don’t know…It makes everything so much more exciting and fun.

— Annie Zalesk, The Riverfront Times

- The Riverfront Times

"Tight Pants Syndrome delivers pop hooks on new album"

Pop hooks and harmonies will abound this Saturday at the Tap Room as the local quintet Tight Pants Syndrome will release their debut album.

The band was founded in 2004 by guitarist Tom Stephens. After some departures, Stephens retooled the band with several established musicians: Brian McClelland (Maxtone Four) sings and plays bass; Tim McAvin (Lydia’s Trumpet) sings and plays keys; and Scott Hermes (Fantasy Four, Phonocaptors) is on drums. Erin Hogan on vocals rounds out the band.

The new album is a reflection of the various lineup changes. Titled Singles, the record is made up of songs that the band recorded a few at a time over the years, plus five new tracks. With titles like “Your Buzz is Safe With Me Tonight” and “Suburban Girl,” expect some humor to go with your Tap Room fries on Sat.

The album will be available at shows and as a download on iTunes.

McClelland said that the group tries to keep it fun, loose and upbeat onstage, with lots of big harmonies. The band boasts three lead singers with the other two backing up at times.

“It’s very late-1960s and early-1970s AM pop music – (influenced by) something even as silly as the Archies,” said McClelland, referring to the animated bubblegum garage band from the Archie Show during the same era. More recent comparisons would be Canada’s Sloan and Denver’s Apples in Stereo.

-Matt Fernandes, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

- St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Not Your Father's Pop"

From The Painkillers to The Finns to Ludo, St. Louis has had a great, if sometimes closeted, power-pop tradition. Tight Pants Syndrome embrace that legacy in a ready-for-radio album called Fully Attractive, which is so bold and catchy that I’m shocked Tight Pants haven’t been on the cover of a magazine (didn’t they fit?). If anything, Fully Attractive sounds like a more adventurous New Pornographers album (I would be surprised if they’re not a major influence), but the ’60s pop jangle and nods to groups like the Association keep them deeper in genre specifics. And it keeps them on my CD player (no, I haven’t gone iPod yet)…

-Jordan Oakes, St. Louis Magazine, Oct. 2010

- St. Louis Magazine

"CD Review: Fully Attractive"

Tight Pants Syndrome - Fully Attractive (CD, Blip! Blap!, Pop)
Impossibly catchy music from St. Louis, Missouri's Tight Pants Syndrome. This band began in 2004 with the only permanent members being Brian McClelland and Tom Stephens (the remainder of the band is a revolving line-up depending on who wants to play when and where). The band began releasing singles, eventually compiling them (along with new material) onto their first full-length album (Singles) in 2007. The 2010 line-up includes Paul Bordeaux, Jenn Malzone, and Jeff Hess. The tunes on Fully Attractive remind us of a variety of artists...most notably The Association, The Beach Boys, Jonathan Richman (at times), and Fuzzy. These songs are so bright, optimistic, and happy that they will undoubtedly turn off many ultra cool snobs out there (which is a very good thing of course!). These folks' music has a wonderfully resonant vibe...and you can tell from listening to this album that the band members had a great time recording these cuts. Standout catchy tracks include "New Hit Record (Tammy)," "Get Outta My Haircut," "Telephone," "Breakin' Up With You's Been Great," "Waiting On A Signal," and "What Will I Do." Classic new pop for anyone who ever loved the sound of hit singles from the 1960s. - Babysue

"Local Bands Tell How They Came Up With Unusual Names"

[Excerpt] Tight Pants Syndrome — "new gyno health epidemic" (Glamour) or "fun, loose and upbeat" (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)? Trust us, it's the latter. The power-pop outfit has just released its second album, "Fully Attractive."

"I heard someone's mom had it," guitarist Tom Stephens said. "Basically, it's when you get older, you get wider but you try to fit into the same size of pants, and everything gets squished inside" - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"CD Release Promo"

Fully Attractive (BLIP! BLAP! Records & Tapes) will be available October 5th at Vintage Vinyl, Euclid Records, iTunes, Not Lame, and CD Baby. The special Don't Panic bonus EP will be available only at Saturday's show. The band feels unanimously that this new record is their favorite thing they've done over their many years of music making.

Brian McClelland's (of Tight Pants Syndrome) fave local bands: Finn's Motel, Karate Bikini, The Blind Eyes, Sleepy Kitty, Cartwheels, and The Campfire Club.

The State of the Local Music Scene according to Tight Pants Syndrome: "There are so many Saint Louis bands that have really started making waves by working very hard, touring non-stop, and putting a great effort into establishing a fanbase from more of a person-to-person level... There's loads of talent in this town." - Speakers in Code

"CD Review: Fully Attractive"

You would need a graphing calculator, a strong cup of coffee and a really good memory to keep track of Tight Pants Syndrome's many different incarnations. This city's purest power-pop band has become a revolving door of sorts: Fully Attractive features contributions from one-time frontman Tim McAvin, who now leads Karate Bikini, as well as lead vocals from Erin Hogan, who has since moved away from St. Louis. Bassist Brian McClelland (ex-Maxtone Four) and TPS guitarist/cofounder Tom Stephens rounds out the live lineup. These shifts can be dizzying, but it's to the band's credit that the album makes for such seamless listening, even with four lead vocalists sharing the mic. Lovers of pop music, whether '60s girl groups, '70s bubblegum or nervy, New Pornographers-esque indie rock, will find a new favorite song among these gems.

The band shoots for extravagance on opener "New Hit Record (Tammy)." Harp glissandos, tympani rolls and a battalion of harmony vocalists construct a wall of sound while the lyrics offer a meta commentary that guides the rest of the disc: It's a great pop song about writing a great pop song. On the rest of the seventeen-song disc, the band's bag of tricks is well worn but always effective. A chiming twelve-string opens "Get Outta My Haircut," keyboardist Jenn Malzone's punchy ultimatum, and later bom-bom-bom harmonies buoy McAvin's "Honey." You're probably never going to fall in love with a TPS song for the lyrics, and that's OK — these tunes are conveyances for hooks and harmonies, and many of these cheeky rhymed couplets are good for a smirk on the first few listens. Malzone's "Waiting on a Signal" follows suit, but her coolly seductive delivery (along with ubiquitous harmony vocals and some elegant string flourishes) make the song a highlight.

It's the eternal curse of the always-evolving Tight Pants Syndrome that this record, made with this now-defunct lineup, may be the group's best work. But with McClellan, Stephens and Malzone still keeping the band (and brand) alive, the best may be yet to come. (If the wealth of tracks on Attractive doesn't sate your need for effervescent guitar rock, the band is giving away a limited-edition EP titled Don't Panic at this Saturday's release show, including a cover of Wings' eternal "Jet.") - The Riverfront Times (St. Louis, MO)

"Local Artist of the Week"

Tight Pants Syndrome – Fully Attractive

I recommend this band if you love the great power pop bands of the 1980's like Cheap Trick and the Cars. Tight Pants Syndrome fills this disc with nothing but pop hooks and handclaps. TPS features both male and female lead vocals, not to mention their fair share of “oohs” and “ahhs” from the backing singers.

Favorite track: the pure bubblegum of “I Shop For Sugar”

- KWUR FM (St. Louis, MO)

"Tight Pants Syndrome (Critic Pick)"

Local act Tight Pants Syndrome might have the cleanest pop this side of 1966. Armed with shoo-wop vocals and more hooks than a tackle box, the band is equally deft at driving indie power pop and the beachy bubblegum material that so clearly inspires the band’s members. The boy-girl vocals are at best silly and at worst inane, but damn it if TPS won’t convince the whole crowd to sing along to songs like “Your Buzz Is Safe With Me.” Their catalog is something more than catchy, particularly the cuts off their new record “Fully Attractive,” released just a month ago. On this album, TPS sounds like an approximation of The Donnas covering The Beach Boys after listening to Neko Case all day. So head over to the Schlafly Tap Room, support your local brewers (with a pumpkin ale, perhaps?) and check out some hometown musicians so that in a few years, you can say that you saw them before they made it big. Plus, with the low, low cover of nothing, you can’t argue with the price. - Student Life (Washington University newspaper)


The cult of power-pop geeks is small but fanatical. Picture a cadre of harmony aficionados who might name-drop obscure bands, or devoted vinyl crate-diggers who speak with hushed reverence about finding impossibly rare 45s at a flea market. It's fitting, then, that very few local bands specialize in preserving power-pop's legacy. Enter Tight Pants Syndrome. A quintet bolstered with new member Scott Hermes on drums, the Pants wield the fiercest harmonies and melodies in town, with multiple layers of pop sugar spun into catchy songs. (Check out their MySpace page, www.myspace.com/tightpantssyndrome, then try to get the bubblegum-fuzz gem "Your Buzz Is Safe with Me Tonight" out of your head. Just try.) Those who scour the countryside for the Yellow Pills compilations, who attend every Dressy Bessy show in town or who are just plain tired of what passes for pop today will love Tight Pants Syndrome—guaranteed. - The Riverfront Times


Singles (June 24, 2008 / Blip Blap Records & Tapes)
Fully Attractive (October 6, 2010 / Blip Blap Records & Tapes)

Don't Panic (October 6, 2010 / Blip Blap Records & Tapes)

A Very Bert Dax Christmas Vol. 4 (CD 2005)
w/"How Did You Get To be Mine (This Christmas)"
The Space Parlour: Live in St. Louis Series 2009 (CD 2009 KDHX #0013)
w/"Breakin' Up With You's Been Great" & "Cocksure" [unlisted bonus track]



In the world of Tight Pants Syndrome—a constantly evolving lineup of Saint Louis' finest popsters led by songwriter/guitarist Tom Stephens—everybody sings. The latest group—featuring Brian McClelland (Maxtone Four), keyboardist Jenn Falzone (The Paper Dolls), Paul Bordeaux (Roger From The Dark) on guitar, and recent addition Jeff Hess on drums—carries on in the tradition of the original 2005 lineup, keeping big harmonies and lightning-hot pop hooks in the forefront of their shimmering '60s pop. The Pants are releasing their sophomore full length, Fully Attractive, on October 6, 2010.



St. Louis power pop collective Tight Pants Syndrome celebrates the release of their long awaited sophomore full length, FULLY ATTRACTIVE, at Off Broadway (St. Louis) on October 2, 2010. The record will be available in select stores and online retailers four days later. As a bonus for fans, limited numbered copies of a special new EP, DON’T PANIC, will be included with purchase of the FULLY ATTRACTIVE CD at the show.

FULLY ATTRACTIVE’s explosive 17 tracks showcase the combined talents of four very distinct lead vocalists—longtime member and bassist Brian McClelland (“New Hit Record,” “I Shop for Sugar,” “Gimme Tonite”), keyboardist/guitarist Tim McAvin (“Ravishing in Black,” “Honey,” “What Will I Do”), keyboardist Jenn Malzone (“Get Outta My Haircut,” “Telephone,” “Waiting On a Signal”), and Erin Hogan (“Rebound,” “All of the Way”)—taking what made TPS stand out, huge shimmering ‘60s pop vocals buoyed by co-founding member Tom Stephen’s lightning-hot, hook-laden tunes, and turning up the heat a few notches.

The group’s most ambitious recording yet, FULLY ATTRACTIVE opens with the rollicking fanfare of “New Hit Record (Tammy),” referred to by McClelland as “our kitchen sink song, ‘cause we fit pretty much everything in there: tympani, a string section (provided by Brien Seyle of The Rats and People Motion Picture Orchestra), a real harp, guest vocalists…even a tambura app Tom played from his iPhone.” The result is a stunning large-scale explosion of Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys meets Paul McCartney and Wings at their most rocking.

Speaking of PM&W—a smoking cover of their classic rock anthem “Jet” is included as an unlisted bonus track on a new limited edition TPS EP, DON’T PANIC, to be given free with the purchase of FULLY ATTRACTIVE at the CD release show. The EP (also featuring 8 new originals) came about as Stephen’s reaction to the lengthy FULLY ATTRACTIVE production, the idea being to throw down quick and dirty inspiration on tape (playing the drums and many of the basic tracks himself) and record the vocals gang-style in a couple of drunken singalongs. The finished recording plays like an exuberant and accidentally recorded afterparty in a damp South Side basement, which, Stephens admits, “It pretty much was.”

This lo-fi approach is what the band plans on focusing on over the next several months—intending to regularly release EPs every few months, just like in the early days of TPS, circa 2004.

The knockout current performing lineup consists of Paul Bordeaux (Roger from the Dark) on guitars/vocals, Jeff Hess (The Geargrinders, The Unmutuals) on drums/vocals, Jenn Malzone (Paper Dolls, Middle Class Fashion) on vocals/keyboards, Brian McClelland (Maxtone Four, Middle Class Fashion) on vocals/bass, and Tom Stephens (bart starr, The Flamerz) on guitar.

McAvin’s new outfit, Karate Bikini—also featuring co-founding TPS member Joe Scanlon—will open the CD release show.

So, what’s the deal with the always evolving lineup? McClelland explains that “once the lineup started shifting again during this recording, with Erin going to Hollywood, Tim to Karate Bikini, and one of the best drummers I’ve played with, Scott Hermes, selling his kit and retiring from drumming altogether, Tom and I started rethinking this band as more of a loosely structured collective where members are free to come and go—but the bottom line is that it remains a bunch of friends who really get off on playing on each other’s stuff in an unusually ego-free environment. It’s a blast.”