Tsar – The Dark Stuff (E.P. Review)

Tsar – The Dark Stuff (E.P. Review)

Formed in Los Angeles in 1998, Tsar are Jeff Whalen (guitar and vocals), Daniel Kern (guitar and vocals), Jeff Solomon (bass guitar), and Steve Coulter (drums). Tsar quickly gained critically and commercial success on the, then, exploding Silverlake music scene. An eclectic group of fans, comprised of garage rockers, punks, and glam babies, flooded the east-side clubs to catch Tsar’s live performances. Over the course of two studio albums, Tsar have played with groups such as Jet, The Walkmen, and Social Distortion; and toured with Duran Duran, The New York Dolls, Marvelous 3, and Eve 6.

After a slight hiatus Tsar have returned with their eagerly anticipated 5-track E.P. The Dark Stuff. Awesome opener ‘Punctual Alcoholic’ sets the tone for the entire E.P. with a distinct 60s-inspired vibe. Tsar push the acoustic guitar to the limits of its capabilities, crafting a satisfying guitar riff that runs throughout the track. This is topped off with a killer, memorable hook.

Lead single ‘Police Station’ takes Tsar away from the 60s-vibe briefly as they produce a three-minute slice of punk-pop anarchy. The accompanying video is the perfect companion piece to this wry track.

‘Little Women’ offers a slight change of pace as it starts with percussion and atmospheric ‘hand-claps’ building to dark, brooding vocals, while ‘White Lipstick’ takes the group back to their garage roots with a track full of reverb effects and distorted vocals.

E.P. Closer ‘Something Bad Happened To Me’ is a slightly more mellow and melancholic offering, and an ideal wind down for an overall energetic E.P.

Tsar’s The Dark Stuff proves that the 90’s garage band sound can still be fresh and relevant.

Michael Clancy

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