Tadpoles - "Use With Headphones Late At Night: Best Of 1990-2000"
(Bakery Records 2001, BKCD2010)
From Aural Innovations #18 (January 2002)
Tadpoles were a Hoboken, New Jersey band that released four albums from 1994-1999. Use With Headphones Late At Night is a compilation that features remastered tracks from each of the Tadpoles' studio albums as well as a rare EP track and four alternate mixes from their last studio album, 1999's "Whirlaway." The band consists of Todd Parker on guitars and vocals, David Max on bass, Nick Kramer on guitars and vocals, and Adam Boyette on drums.
The band play a powerful brand of dual guitar driven psychedelia that pounds along at a rockin' pace, using all the expected modern psych devices like swirling bubbling guitars and wall-of-noise psych assaults. There's also a pop sensibility to the band that makes them most radio friendly. I'd not Tadpoles before now but from the opening track, "Snapper", I felt a kind of Rolling Stones 2000 Light Years From Home as performed by Syd Barrett sensation. The guitar duo of Parker and Kramer is a strong one. With only one of them I don't think the band would have had much of a voice, but together the two are a solid team that's able to parallel contrasting sounds that gel quite nicely. There's also a heavy grinding guitars side to the band that's not as overtly in the psych realm, having instead a punk-ish feel, though more like the pop-punk of the Ramones than anything approaching hardcore. But these are solid rockers all the same. The band have their slower melodic moments too, and they handle these well enough, but I think the harder driving psych tunes are the strongest.
Songs like "Race You To The Mustard Patch" and "At Least I'm Not Like Jonathan Carver" are representative of what I think are Tadpoles finer moments. When these guys want to get cosmic they do it well. Shimmering trip guitars and a 60s psychedelic song feel, culimating in an acid freakout of molten proportions. "Jaded Jean" is an example of the band's competence with pop-psych songs that are backed by guitars as powerful as any of their most battle-worn acid offensives. I even hear a bit of Hawkwind as "Firecracker" kicks out a jamming beat and riff that's a dead ringer for "Orgone Accumulator".
In summary, the Tadpoles seem to have cranked out some damn good rockin' psychedelia in their time. The two guitars have a heavy wall-of-sound quality, though each is distinct and clear. I wasn't surprised to read that their last album was released on Camera Obscura as this is very much in line with what's often found on that fine label from down under, if that helps give you any direction. According to the Tadpoles web site, Max, Kramer, and Boyette have a new band called Hit.
For more information you can visit the Tadpoles web site at: http://www.tadpoles.com.
There are LOADS of songs to be heard at the Tadpoles Mp3.com web site at: http://www.mp3.com/tadpoles.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz