A wise colleague recently said of the advertising industry, “deep down inside we all just want to be rock stars.” I’m sure he’d also agree with Kickstart’s corollary that “rock ‘n ‘roll is never easy.” Kickstart plays raw and relentless barroom brawl music. Frontman Eric Strickler lights up each anthemic number with gravelly vocals and guitar licks to match. Oh, to be a real rock star.

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The Unsacred Hearts

Joe’s Benji Cossa post left me wondering how to repay homage. Well, it’s only fitting that in discovering Benji Cossa I discovered that labelmates The Unsacred Hearts have a song called “I Am Joe” (their singer’s name is Joe Willie). And that led me on a wild journey through their back catalog during which I fell for their elastic, spastic sound and booze-soaked narratives. So, here’s to both of you Joes…

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The Two Man Gentleman Band

I was just looking around on the Serious Business website after posting about Benji Cossa’s Christmas album when I noticed the song title “William Howard Taft.” You know, the only U.S. President to also be a U.S. Supreme Court Justice? No, no, you only remember Taft as being the fat guy, the poor sap who got stuck in the White House bathtub. Well, that’s pretty much what The Two Man Gentleman Band remembers about him too. (I actually think he was in a tough spot, following in Theodore Roosevelt’s footsteps and all. I guess I tend to feel sorry for Taft.) With their Dixieland, Tin Pan Alley, goofy slapstick kazoo-billy rock, these New Yorkers tend to have a blast in the recording studio. If you’re not one of those serious-types, check out “Prime Numbers.” It’s kind of hard not to laugh, eh?

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Benji Cossa

My friend Sam (as in Sam, one of the founders of this website) is a huge sucker for Christmas music. In high school, I remember caroling around his neighborhood with his family (all ten of them!) and it was just so… good. So this post is all about you, S’mee. Benji Cossa has released a whole X-mas album — Merry Christmas to Friends and Family — on Serious Business Records, with every song available for free and legal download. Alex Chilton’s “Jesus Christ” is here, along with a bunch of the classics and a Benji original, “Friends and Famly.” I hope you like ’em, Sam. Maybe one or two will show up on your annual Holiday CD Cleaner? Oh, by the way, can you send me your address? Your tin of cookies is probably getting stale in the back of my car.

Jesus Christ [MP3, 3.6MB, 192kbps]
Friends and Family [MP3, 4.1MB, 192kbps]
Silver Bells [MP3, 6.1MB, 192kbps]

Original post: 07/26/07
While I respect Lisa’s opinion on what makes a summer song, and I certainly like shaking my bottom (no matter its size), I’ve always liked the easy-going, feels-like-the-sun-is-shining-right-on-me genre. Maybe it goes back to the lack of sunlight we have up here in Michigan the rest of the year, I don’t know. But “Sunset” by Benji Cossa is just what I’m talking about. Katy tossed this one in our suggestion box, and I’d give her a big, platonic hug for it if I could. Does this song feel good or what? Not to mention the subject matter… “Doin’ it, doin’ it, do do dodo do.” Ain’t that what summer is all about?

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