Chris Stamey’s Euphoria – A Review

Read our review of Euphoria the new release from Chris Stamey

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Chris Stamey

New Release Out May 29 2015

– Euphoria

Chris Stamey has an impressive background.  A key member of power pop outfits Sneakers and The dB’s, producer (at Modern Recording, the studio he’s operated for the past two decades) and collaborator with the likes of Michael Stipe, Yo La Tengo, Ryan Adams, Matthew Sweet, Marshall Crenshaw, Alejandro Escovedo, Flat Duo Jets, Le Tigre, Tift Merritt, Freedy Johnston and Whiskeytown.

Moving to New York in the early ’80s, Stamey launched his own pioneering indie label, Car Records, and played bass in Alex Chilton’s band, before making a pair of now-classic albums, 1981’s Stands for deciBels and 1982’s Repercussion, with The dB’s.  The North Carolina-bred singer-songwriter-guitarist has built an international, influential following and established him as an alternative pop godfather figure.

I saw Stamey support Ken Stringfellow in January 2014 at the Caravan Club (Melbourne, Australia).  The two were a part of the Big Star 3rd album tribute that was a part of the Sydney Festival.  Stringfellow’s performance was ponderous and ramshackle, while Stamey was right on the money.

Now along comes Euphoria (Yep Roc Records), his eleventh solo outing, which follows on from 2013’s Lovesick Blues and the long-awaited dB’s reunion album Falling Off the Sky (2012).

Euphoria is a strong addition to his existing catalogue.  The ten songs (plus three bonus tracks) are classy and memorable.  Great hooks, infectious choruses, profound texture and production values abound.  There’s a laudatory supporting cast that includes Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub), Pat Sansone (Wilco), Django Haskins (Old Ceremony) and long-time cohort Mitch Easter.

High points include the pressing opener “Universe-sized Arms”, a previously unreleased Ryan Adams composition that Adams suggested Stamey record, the indelibly infectious “Where Does The Time Go?”, the heartfelt “You Are Beautiful”, the punchy “When the Fever Breaks”  and “Rocketship” which references legendary punk band the MC5, whose 1971 visit to Stamey’s hometown of Winston-Salem was a seminal event.

“I found these songs inside the same dilapidated old Silvertone lipstick guitar that I’d written my first records on,” Stamey asserts.  “Maybe that’s why it sounds a bit like those records in some ways.”

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Photo By Gail Goers

To that end, and in addition to the aforementioned guest spots, Stamey assembled some long-time friends from Chapel Hill’s (North Carolina) fertile musical community – Tony Stiglitz, F.J. Ventre, Wes Lachot, Matt McMichaels and producer Jeff Crawford.

“We started rehearsing in a tiny old shack out in the woods, and I wrote some new songs so we’d have something to play together,” Stamey recalls.  “Then we ran down the road to Mitch Easter’s Fidelitorium studio to cut tracks together as a band, with Mitch on guitar as well.”

As good as his pedigree and CV is, Euphoria proves that Chris Stamey continues to be an important power pop voice.

Euphoria Track List

1. Universe-sized Arms
2. Where Does the Time Go?
3. Invisible
4. Make Up Your Mind
5. Euphoria
6. Awake in the World
7. Dear Valentine
8. When the Fever Breaks
9. You Are Beautiful
10. Rocketship

Bonus Tracks:
11. Draggin’ The Line
12. Euphoria Cont’d
13. Where Does the time Go (Groovy Radio Mix)

 

Read our review of Euphoria the new release from Chris Stamey

Read our review of Euphoria the new release from Chris Stamey

 

 

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Author: Rob Dickens

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