The Star Spangles | Dirty Bomb

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Dirty Bomb

by The Star Spangles

Look, we know this is just hype but it's fair to say if you like the Ramones, The Stones, Johnny Thunders' Heartbreakers, Cheap Trick, the Replacements, Slade, Chuck Berry, powerpop, punk, rock&roll, beer and sex, chances are you'll like this. Honest.
Genre: Rock: Rock & Roll
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Take Care Of Us
2:59 $0.99
2. Tear It To Pieces Girl
2:26 $0.99
3. Make Yourself Useful, Babe
3:05 $0.99
4. This Side Of The Sun
3:16 $0.99
5. Gangland
3:02 $0.99
6. I'm On A High
3:23 $0.99
7. Gimme An Answer
2:15 $0.99
8. Tell Lies
2:00 $0.99
9. 'Nother Weight To Hold Me Down
4:00 $0.99
10. Revolver
3:43 $0.99
11. I Told A Lie
2:08 $0.99
12. Bash Your Brains Out
3:10 $0.99
13. Someone In You
2:49 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Well, you had your chance at $8 and now you've got your chance at $10! Buy NOW, before it goes up to $12!!!

"DIRTY BOMB" (Tic Records) is THE STAR SPANGLES' long-awaited follow-up to their debut, "BAZOOKA!!!" (Capitol Records, 2003). Produced by Jason Carmer (the Donnas, Run DMC), the 13 song, (all-original) album contains stage faves "GANGLAND", "MAKE YOURSELF USEFUL, BABE" and "TELL LIES" while newer tunes like "I'M ON A HIGH" and "THIS SIDE OF THE SUN" showcase their classic power-pop sensibilities. IAN McLAGAN, whose resume includes serious time with Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and, of course, The Faces (Small AND regular) plays pianner and Hammond and an excellent time was had by all. Any questions, touring opportunities, generous gifts or licensing queries, write: and we encourage you to leave a review, even though only the "manager" reads this crap.


Woke up this morning and spun Dirty Bomb over coffee. What the fuck is wrong with those nimrods at Capitol Records???!!! (You don't have to tell me; I know.)

It's a fine, smokin' lil disc of real rock'n'roll, which we sure ain't got enough of these days. Damn sight better than the junk those dorks at Crapitol have been making with Liz Phair, who actually used to be rock'n'roll. They want hits?? How about "This Side of the Sun"? Even better: "I'm On A High!" Oooo, can't say high, now can we? Won't get onto radio. Shit, buy it onto radio and then cash in on the controversy - which sells, by the way -- when someone gets their panties in a wad.

It's a great leap forward from the first album, studded with nice allusions to amazing classic albums like Who Sell Out and Something Else by The Kinks and Cheap Trick's first, even a hit of Yardbirds at one spot ("Tell Lies"), The Clash at another ("Gangland"), all without ever sounding like anyone else. It's the sound of a really good band coming into their own, reaching for greatness, and even if it's maybe not quite in their grasp yet, you can hear that they are on their way there. It's just what we all - back in the day when people cared about music - wanted to hear from a young band on their second album. It rocks. 'Nuff said.

- Rob Patterson
Veteran music journalist and reviewer over the years for Creem, Crawdaddy, Circus, CMJ, Spin, Musician, Request, Stereo Review, High Fidelity, CD Review, Village Voice, Harp, Rolling Stone Record Guide and many others.


Radio sucks; the compact disk is dead; music downloads have had a shorter shelf life than Paris Hilton’s self-respect; and fuck you too! This is indeed the worst time to be a member of a rock-and-roll band, so pity the Star Spangles, whose sophomore CD, Dirty Bomb, is chock-full of anthemic, punk-tinged power pop that could just be the kiss of death for them in the long run. The music business being the roiling existential tar pit it is, having a top-selling CD, or worse yet a hit single, with a song like “Tear It To Pieces Girl” or the frickin’ excellent “Gangland,” would only mean sucking the corporate dick of a major label again (the band ended its association with the dopes at Capitol Records two years ago), which only would get them a huge advance, which in turn would only drive them deep into debt, and ultimately seal their fate as future fry cooks or male hustlers. So do the band a favor and avoid this record like the plague. It’s that good. — Eric Danville


Now that the trendy dust has settled and all those "The" bands either have blown up (White Stripes), have blown out (Vines, Hives), or are getting close to just blowing (Strokes), perhaps authentic hometown street rats the Star Spangles can finally get a fair hearing. With their long-delayed sophomore disc, Dirty Bomb, they deserve it. Despite the occasional blatant cop from their heroes (Westerberg's yowl, Clash-y pub chants), this is a confident, loud, rockin' little record that holds you down with its opening power chords and throttles you for about 50 minutes. Original Spangles Ian Wilson and Tommy Volume kiss off music-biz foes on "Make Yourself Useful, Babe," tell women what scuzzball boyfriends deserve in "Tear It to Pieces," and toss off a hooky potential hit with "This Side of the Sun." Most important, these guys bring something plenty of rock bands forget these days: the roll! You can actually dance to this record. The lyrics are memorable too—on opener "Take Care of Us," as former Face Ian McLagan pummels the keys, Wilson and Volume bellow, "We need someone to take care of us!" It's the least you can do. - Peter Gerstengzang


New York rockers, sort of glam-inspired, with a penchant for crudeness but a compensating ability to write rousing, swaggering, tuneful ditties...plenty to like. - Ken Barnes


The Star Spangles, Dirty Bomb (Tic Records): A pet project of former Island, Columbia and Elektra A&R exec Howard Thompson, who helped shepherd the likes of Adam & the Ants, 10,000 Maniacs and the Sugarcubes (featuring Bjork) to popular success, while harboring a love for such cult bands as Suicide, the Fleshtones, the Screaming Blue Messiahs and the Cramps, the N.Y.-based Star Spangles have gone through their own music business horror story since their debut album a few years back on Capitol. “We need someone to take care of us,” shouts lead singer Ian Wilson on the first track, and you feel like taking the band, now on their own indie label, under your wing. There’s a pure, R&B, early-Stones Nuggets flair that would be right at home on Little Steven’s Underground Garage, an undiluted blast of punk-rock heart that is as timeless as it is a throwback to more innocent times. The Spangles have been through several personnel changes since getting off Capitol, a typical horror story recounted in the R. Meltzer-penned bio, yet one more reason to love ‘em. After the album was recorded, vocalist/guitarist Wilson and lead guitarist Tommy Volume added a new rhythm section, featuring bassist Todd Martin (son of Dean, if Meltzer is to be believed, which you can’t always) and drummer Chris Orlando. “The Side of the Sun” and “Gangland,” the latter reminiscent of the Dolls at their jauntiest, shows off the band at its best, filled with yearning harmonies, urban angst and sunny optimism in equal measure. “I’m on a High” is intoxicatingly exuberant, the urgent “Gimme an Answer” is the Ramones meets the ‘Mats, while the catchy “Tell Lies” sports guitar-slinger Volume’s Chuck Berry-by-way-of-Johnny Thunders wind-up riffing, bass-heavy bottom-end fuzztones and the pitched vocals of a band that wears its musical pedigree on its collective sleeve. “’Nother Weight to Hold Me Down” features Faces keyboardist Ian McLagan's patented whirling Hammond organ, while the bluesy, slowed-down “Love in Vain”-style closer, “Someone in You,” offers yet another color in the band’s potent pop palette. Their MySpace page boasts, “If you like the Ramones, the Stones, Johnny Thunder’s Heartbreakers, Cheap Trick, the Replacements, Slade, Chuck Berry, powerpop, punk, rock & roll, beer and sex, chances are you’ll like this… Honest!” Honesty is one thing the Star Spangles have in spades, along with music you can bash your brains out to.


Last time the Star Spangles landed - back in 2003 (fuck, was it really that long ago?) - we all instantly fell head over heels in love with their NY ‘street appeal’, snappy threads & sneering melodies - & duly thanked our lucky stars that their dads earned considerably less per anum than the Strokes’ fathers. We bought in: hook line & sinker! - Tommy’s incendiary guitar slinging, Ian’s moody Nick Cave as Garage Punker strop, the bubblegum classics, the cool city manner – eventually taking Rat Scabies along to see them at their Virgin Megastore LP Launch (where, incidentally, we encountered a geeked-up Robin Hitchcock queuing patiently behind much younger Spangles fans - in line to get his copy of “Bazooka!” signed by the group!).

Since those heady days, the Global General Public (GGP) have spectacularly failed to elevate the Star Spangles to superstardom on just about every level imaginable. What they may have lacked in instant success, however, the Spangles have more than made up for in extra-curricular activities: rumours of Tommy & Ian’s habits/issues have allegedly tested the resolve of those around them to the point of distraction.

There have been casualties along the way: it’s not exactly hot news to discover that Joey Valentino (drums) & Nick Price (bass) have both departed – in fact even Nick’s replacement – Pud Reznifoff (possible made- up-name-alert!) – has since vacated – but it is bloody good to have them back!

The new line-up:

Tommy Volume – Lead Guitar/vocals
Ian Wilson – Lead Vocals/guitar
Todd Martin – Bass/vocals
Chris Orlando – Drums

Ian McLagan – Piano/Hammond Organ
Rich Stim – Saxophone

“Dirty Bomb” is the title of the second Star Spangles full-length outing – due to drop on May 1st on Tic Records. Recorded, mixed & produced by Jason Carmer, the record was recorded in San Francisco & mastered in NYC late last year. The album was supposed to have come out on Capital Records some time ago - but they either unceremoniously dropped the Spangles - or went out of business – one or the other (you do the math!). So the Spangles set up Tic Records – guaranteed to bug ya! (registered trade mark – copyright reserved!).

“Dirty Bomb” effectively picks up where “Bazooka!” left off – but with a generous dash of added m-a-t-u-r-i-t-y. If the latter sounded like it was recorded in a genuine garage somewhere on the Lower East Side, “Dirty Bomb” sounds like it was recorded in a bigger garage just off E-Street. A slug of “Darkness On The Edge Of Town” era Brooce & a toke of early Tom Petty & His Heartbreakers have been added to the joint this time out. Expansive, as opposed to expensive. Sew in a few nods to more recent Jesse Malin material, & you’re just about there: a-good-time-in-a-bottle.

“Dirty Bomb” opens with a quality 1-2-3-4-5-6 shuffle (like Jonathon Richman on “Roadrunner”): “Take Care Of Us”, “Tear It To Pieces”, “Make Yourself Useful, Babe”, “This Side Of The Sun”, “Gangland” & “I’m On A High”. To the uninitiated, that means an opening gambit of 6-total quality songs on the bounce – something you don’t get that often in the populist arena of a rockin’ & a rollin’! By the time you get to “Gangland” you may well be making preliminary arrangements for the Star Spangles to become your ‘favourite-new-group-in-the-entire-universe’, forthwith. You may well have your mobile phone in your hand with Zane Lowe’s phone number on repeat dial. You may even be outside Pat Long’s house, lobbing Locust LPs at his window, demanding something real in place of platitude.

If we bunched the above up & called it side-1 – we wouldn’t be that far off the mark. That’s how they used to make LPs, you know? They had a beginning - & an end - & they knew full well the ups & downs that needed to happen along the way to make the ride worth pimping!

Side-2, should we chose to accept the construct, fairs no better, no worse. You don’t get this far down the hill only to discover you’re crap after all: “Gimme An Answer”, “Tell Lies”, “Another Weight To Hold Me Down”, “Revolver”, “I Told A Lie” & “Bash Your Brains Out” do exactly what you’d expect them to considering fully what they’ve followed. “Dirty Bomb” is in a class of it’s own! The class of ’76: the class that refused to accept ‘bullshit’ as the only answer to every question.

The spell is finally broken by the acoustic tremblings of “Someone In You” – the tender acoustic lament that closes the LP. Many of us thought the Star Spangles would never make another LP – yet alone one as rounded & finely honed as “Dirty Bomb”. If you liked “Bazooka” - you’ll love “Dirty Bomb” – it’s everything its predecessor was - & so much more. The Star Spangles are untouchable in their genre-pool. The rest of you playing this kind of schtick should be very, very disappointed with yourselves. As Joey Ramone would doubtless attest: you don’t come close! - Suburban Kid (tMx 29)


Well, I’m on the phone at the moment to Simon from Trakmarx and we are talking Star Spangles…wondering why they are not the biggest band in the known world and why their new album DIRTY BOMB isn’t blasting out of every bedroom window in western civilisation.

Hmmmm, yeah, I know I am bias to 100% no b+llshit, no hype, no finishing school or trustfund rock n f*cking roll. This album lives and breathes, scores, and stays awake in the city that doesn’t sleep. I mean, I can even see great clouds of steam coming outta the stereo like the mean streets themselves. The aroma of Nathans’ hotdogs is in there somewhere, along with the hustle of Avenue A and St Marks Place, only the panhandlers are missing thanks to zero tolerance, but as the man sez, we ain’t too proud to beg.

Sometimes, just sometimes it’s life affirming to listen to a bunch of songs so spot on, with all the right ruff edges, slick harmonies, hooks and power that if I was a trendy journo I’d probably have a stock Latin or French phrase to describe it. Well I ain’t, and I don’t, but know what, who cares ?- this album is what being in love with rock n roll is all about. GREAT F*CKING SONGS……. For those who graduated decades ago from rock n roll (on a) high school - this is friends re-u-f*cking-(ig)nited. For those of more tender years it’s a perfect, yes perfect example of why you should run away from home and join the lost boys.

Yeah, I could now give you a little pen picture of every track filled with platitudes and smart ass one liners but really, all I have to say is YOU NEED THIS RECORD, GO AND BUY IT, NOW! To the iPod kids, download it this instant, you ain’t gonna regret it and it’s a one way ticket to be the coolest kid in your block.

Fittingly, on the anniversary of the death of Johnny Thunders, listening to DIRTY BOMB reassures me that JT did not die in vain/vein?, That New York City is still the spiritual home of rock n roll as we speak, c’mon just name even a handful of decent new rock n roll bands from anywhere else. It takes off where the Spangles debut “BAZOOKA” left its vapour trail, Tommy and Ian are growing up, and throwing up the goods in a world that seems too stupid to care. My fave songwriters and gib cutters with style in abundance to boot - This is classic stuff - no frills, just thrills all the way to the bottom of the glass.

Hats off to the Spangles for sticking and kicking, and dragging Dirty Bomb away from the capitol offenders.
It will make you dance, it will make you sing ……annoy the neighbours and educate your friends.


These Manhattan alt-rock darlings tell their better halves to stop lording stupid things over them in their rollicking song "Make Yourself Useful, Babe" - already a hit at their live shows - off their long-awaited sophomore album, "Dirty Bomb"


Which brings us to The Star Spangles “Dirty Bomb”. I despair sometimes when I think about the popularity of groups like The Kaiser Chumps, etc. I’m down with recycling but not without some kind of twist. The Spangles suffered their major label tussle by being compared to groups that they were so far beyond that it’s laughable.
However, Joe and Jessie Public did what they do best, they went for the safe option. The Spangles presumably were a little too edgy in their having been passed the baton of banging out real NY rock. Taking the pop aesthetic of classic Ramones and the skirling guitars of Cheap Trick or The Dolls and injecting a smidge of Faces type pub rock into the mix. Which brings us neatly to this long-awaited follow up to “Bazooka”, which includes Ian McLagan weighing in with piano and Hammond, Rich Stim on Sax and Daniel Rey also tinkling them ivories.

Since the recording of this, the rhythm section has done gone and has been replaced. The band is playing around NY in the run-up to the release of the album which is officially May 1st but you can get it via their website and cd baby now. Released on their own Tic imprint, DB crashes in the way it means to go on with “Take Care Of Us”. Recalling a time when rock’n’roll was big and brash. When it sounded majestic rather than just an identikit muzak approximation. Before it was simply another commodity. And like all fine punk rock there are the little harmonics, summoned up by the sheer joyous noise of it all. And then there’s the gang vocals and the choruses. “Gangland” will give you the collywobbles, the louder you play it the colly-er the wobble. The drum corps type build in the middle is enough to bring a tear to a glass eye. I like the Unforgiven style penny whistle Morricone fill that appears for a split second before “I’m On A High” bursts in to recall the aforementioned Boston type grandeur.
The peculiar thing about this band getting the springboard to becoming popular is, in my opinion, this. If people could see them then the songs would overcome them virus like. Mid-bill at some of these festivals that are populated by inkie-sponsored “product”. I’ve heard it said that the latest in the shady world of breaking a band is to sign with “an agency”. So that placement is garnered in much the same way that it’s done with soap powder or beans. What chance does a real group have in such circumstances? I ask you?? But anyways, in other territories, outwith this backwater, the kids still want to rock and in Spain, in Scandanavia, in Germany, in Eastern Europe the Spangles could well save a few lost souls. Souls like you that are eager for the spark that was there before bands were formed with a business plan.

Messrs Wilson and Volume are disenfranchised heroes, trapped in a world they never made. The album closes with “Someone In You”, a down-home slice of Americana sung by Tommy. A Stones-y hymn to their camaraderie and the staunch support of their hardcore. The album title is somewhat understated and the sonic fallout of these songs has a half-life that is way longer than any of the latest bollocks that the “meeja” is getting ready to serve up to the stupid and/or terminally hip. The Star Spangles are here to bash some sense into whoever is ready. - Lindsay Hutton,



to write a review


What can I say!
What can I say this album just blows you away.Remember the first time you heard the Ramones? Nuff said


Very much worth the wait
The second album is finally here. The first album captured the band well, but was utterly raw. This second album is more thoroughly produced, and the band sound great, with some extra sounds thrown in (piano, keys). Very solid, very catchy, very gritty, very Spangly. Highlights: GANGLAND great chorus, BASH YOUR BRAINS OUT this song is totally representative of the band, MAKE YOURSELF USEFUL BABE picking up where the first album left off. A bit more dynamic than simply punk, a real alternative gem and great addition to the Spangles record collection.


great songs - even better than last album
Love these guys - they write great songs. Also Tommy and Ian are mad sexy cute. New album is even better than the last one - which I wore out. Can't wait too see them again.

Jyrki Martian

Instant Classic!
Amazing, amazing record! Been waiting for this since I heard some of the new tunes on myspace. Not a single bad track! 'Nother Weight to Hold Me Down is a strong contender for A Song of the Year (though I already heard it last year!). These guys deserve so much more.


Cool Album
This is a really fun album with some good hooks. There are all types of influences on this one just as said in the review. I hope that this album will catch on and these guys get some credit

frankie c

rock and roll is alive
Wow! After listening to this CD, you'll know why the Star Spangles are soooooooo much better than the Ramones and nearly as good as the Flamin' Groovies.

Andy Baker

A stunning record, full of progression.
From start to finish this is full throttle New York garage rock at its finest. Shows ample progression from the classic razor sharp debut Bazooka, without losing any of the punch that shaped their sound. All mesmerising little nuggets of rock n' roll, with This Side Of The Sun and I'm On A High promising to be the soundtrack of my summer! cheers for the grade A record, cant wait for the next.


Non stop big time mega swell disq
well i'm not usually to big on reviews for the most part, which usually include good feed back but hate the fact writers have to slate the band the slightest to appease there editors. But Dirty Bomb is a non stop great cd one song after another, hit after hit, a non stop thrill ride, a tour de forcem fun for the whole familt, something for everyone,i ran out of cliches fast but it's a great disq.

Slevin Lacey

Well worth the wait for this album
So many instant classics on this cd (Gangland and tear it to pieces), hopefully this album gets the recognition it deserves

Great Records, great tunes..

I'm so high
An authentic band of rock. Effective songs. Perfect
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