Monday, January 27, 2020

The Cynics : Rock' n' Roll 1989

The Cynics are an American garage rock band from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The band, consisting of guitarist Gregg Kostelich, drummer Bill Von Hagen, vocalist Michael Kastelic who joined in 1985, bass player Steve Magee, and keyboardist Becky Smith (later founder of New York City's Bellwether gallery), who debuted with their first album, Blue Train Station in 1986. She wrote one of the four extra tracks included on the expanded reissue of Twelve Flights Up, entitled Sixteen Flights Up.

The band's sound is influenced by 1960s garage rock.
Many of their songs "carry the torch" for other favorite bands as cover songs or tributes. They underwent a number of lineup changes culminating in 1990's Rock and Roll album. They formed their own independent record label called Get Hip Records in 1986.

They suffered an eight-year break up after the release of Get Our Way but returned in 2002 with the release of Living Is the best Revenge. The release of their 2007 album Here We Are was accompanied with a European tour.

( AllMusic Review by Matt Carlson
Rock 'N' Roll brings together the best aspects of The Cynics' previous two albums  R&B roots, psychedelic fuzz, folk-pop, and garage rock to produce a cohesive statement.

The record, despite its collection of heartfelt ballads, does not contain one single down note. Sure, a lot of fury and pain, but not any grief. While the original compositions on previous Cynics albums were mostly harder-edged as the ballads were mostly covers, here the band has written a killer love song, "Close To Me." But, yet again, the livelier pop songs "Girl, You're On My Mind" and "You Got the Love" are where The Cynics shine.)

Formed in 1983 by Get Hip Recordings owner Gregg Kostelich, The CYNICS are a Garage-Punk institution.
Guitarist/producer/record company head Gregg Kostelich is the frenetic force behind THE CYNICS. He managed to keep the band afloat in the wake of constant personnel changes, he recorded some of the finest garage tracks ever, and also launched one of the best independent record labels of the 1980s.

THE CYNICS’ style has been clear since their 1983 inception: fuzzed ultra-distorted guitar, screaming, moaning vocals, with a straight-ahead no frills rhythm section. The influences are extreme ‘60s Punk, R&B, and other loud, frantic trash. Gregg has occasionally steered the band into flirtations with folk-rock and little pop, but it’s the grunged-out punkers that have created THE CYNICS’ reputation.

Their first two 45s were released by the Californian Dionysus label, but soon after Gregg had established his own Pittsburgh-based GET HIP RECORDINGS who would release all of  THE CYNICS albums and singles, as well as those by countless great garage, punk-rock and power-pop releases by other bands from around the globe.

Third album by Pittsburgh’s Garage finest. This release from 1990 featured a major lineup change for the Cynics, and showed the band continuing to mature as writers and musicians. Cuts like “Now I’m Alone” and “Girl, You’re on My Mind” (the latter penned for the Cynics by the Mystic Eyes Bernie Kugel) are hits that should have been. Other cuts like “What You Get,” “Business As Usual,” “Baby, What’s Wrong” and “Way It’s Gonna Be” show the Cynics at a peak of energy, creativity and ability.

This release also includes a few well-chosen covers of forgotten classics from the sixties, revitalized with the Cynics style and skill. “Cry, Cry, Cry” and “Last Time Around” are scorchers, while “The Room” shows the Cynics lighter side. This album is a true classic. If you didn’t get it before, get it now!
Though Gregg’s guitar is the backbone of the band, vocalist Michael Kastelic’s contribution to THE CYNICS sound cannot be underestimated. In concert (and on record) he screeches, wails, and moans with great abandon, while his frail, thin body shakes throughout the room. Michael is a truly possessed frontman.

Since the 2007 recording in Spain of the band’s 7th full-length album, Here We are, The CYNICS have been graced with a fantastic and powerful rhythm section of two talented musicians from Asturias (Spain): Angel Kaplan and Pablo Gonzalez. They have been touring relentlessly with the band since and also joined Gregg and Michael in Detroit for the recording of their latest album, SPINNING WHEEL MOTEL (2012) under the masterful direction of Jim Diamond .

In an interview on March 21, 1986, Gregg Kostelich said “I was maybe 4 or 5 when I started collecting Garage records, and I’ve been listening to that type of music ever since. And I was lucky enough to see a couple of shows I was a little kid…my parents would bring to see bands like THE SONICS and THE BLUES MAGOOS and THE WHO, when I was about 7 or 8! I didn’t know what was going on really, but it was really exciting. I was kinda embarrassed in a way because I was with my parents.” When I mentioned that this early exposure to garage music explained THE CYNICS style, Gregg responded “Yeah, maybe I got brain damage from all the noise!”


01. Baby What's Wrong (Michael Kastelic / Gregg Kostelich)  02:31         
02. Way It's Gonna Be  (Michael Kastelic / Gregg Kostelich)  02:51        
03. Girl You're on My Mind  02:11         
04. Get My Way  (Michael Kastelic / Gregg Kostelich  03:06        
05. Tears Are Coming  (Michael Kastelic / Gregg Kostelich)   04:10         
06. Business as Usual  (Michael Kastelic)  01:44
07. Cry, Cry, Cry  (Rory Mack / Ron Stults)  03:09    
08. You Got the Love  (Michael Kastelic / Gregg Kostelich)  02:50        
09. Close to Me  (Michael Kastelic / Gregg Kostelich)  03:28         
10. Different Worlds  (Michael Kastelic / Gregg Kostelich)  02:17
11. Now I'm Alone  (Michael Kastelic / Gregg Kostelich)  02:46
12. What You Get  (Michael Kastelic / Gregg Kostelich)  02:09        
13. Last Time Around  03:00         
14. The Room  (Michael Kastelic)  03:53

Angel Kaplan,
Gregg Kostelich,
Michael Kastelic, 
Mike Kolesar, 
Pablo Gonzalez 

Discography: Albums

Blue Train Station (1986)
Twelve Flights Up (1988) - reissue as Sixteen Flights Up (2000)
Rock 'n' Roll (1989)
Learn to Lose (1993)
Get Our Way (1994)
Living is the Best Revenge (2002)
Here We Are (2007)
Spinning Wheel Motel (2011)


You didn't hear me when I tried to tell you
You didn't see me when I looked so lonely
You didn't answer when I said, "Where you going?"

You didn't see the way you drive me crazy

Baby what's wrong with me
I can't seem to turn your head
Baby what's wrong with me
I'm always going home to an empty bed

You got my number, you never use it
You got my choice, but you never choose it
You got those brown eyes, they're hiding something
If I could open up, I'd let you in

Baby what's wrong with me
I can't seem to turn your head
Baby what's wrong with me
I'm always going home to an empty bed

Maybe some day, there will be a full moon
We'll be together, in the same room
Open our eyes, see what we're missing
My hard time is maybe they're dissing

Baby what's wrong with me
I can't seem to turn your head
Baby what's wrong with me
I'm always going home

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