Tom Baker & The Snakes and Michael Slawter

Tom Baker and The Snakes

Tom Baker and The Snakes “Lookout Tower”

From the label that brought you The Bullet Proof Lovers, The Connection, and Watts – comes Tom Baker and The Snakes. Baker is a veteran of Boston’s garage rock club circuit, and he’s assembled a talented band with three guitarists that know how to shred to the rhythm. Fans of the above bands will know what to expect, as this is good ole rock and roll with guitar and attitude that takes its cues from The Stones, The Jam and The Replacements.

This is mainly a hard rock album, but some short catchy power pop is here too, like the opener “Gotta Find Her” and the memorable “Doll Eyes.” If you want heavier stuff, the band delivers in spades on “Make It Hurt” and “Bad Change” as Baker’s voice goes hoarse competing with those guitars. And “Needle In The Red” is another standout. This is music that deserves to be heard at high volume with a cold beer in your hand.

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Michael Slawter

Michael Slawter “An Assassination of Someone You Knew”

A veteran of the North Carolina music scene, Slawter made this first solo LP with the help of producer Jamie Hoover (The Spongetones) in 2007. Thanks to our friends at Futureman Records, it’s back and you’ll hear all kinds of upbeat catchy themes here, notably the opening rocker “Count To 10” and it still sounds fresh. Slawter has mastered the melodic techniques and solid songwriting that shares the same musical DNA as REM, The Connells, The dB’s and Mitch Easter.

The first three tracks are just flawless pop with “Obvious” and “Hollywood Sunshine” sticking in your head long after the song ends. It shifts to more storytelling on the self-depreciating “Too Dumb For You,” and slice-of-life gem “Leave Her Alone.” The jangly “The Day Before You Left” is a perfect example of emotional balladry. There is a lot here to love and several bonus tracks are included. Enjoy it!