Treadmill Trackstar’s New CD “I Belong To Me”

Treadmill Trackstar
I Belong To Me
Your Name (Here) Records

The last Treadmill Trackstar album was released in 1997, so for fans, a new one seems like the proverbial manna from heaven, or some kind of unlikely rip in the universe. Spurred in part by the band’s participation in a reunion event in 2007 and self-financed with lots of help from friends and private benefactors (hence the name of the ‘record label’ above), the result sounds less like a return than a completion of unfinished business.

Band leader Angelo Gianni was always a cynical romantic, if there can be such a thing, and his poetic side seemed to be constantly in flux with his cranky pessimism. Here, he seems more resigned to his fate on “I Belong To You.”

“I belong to you / Do with me what you want to do / Judge and grade and maybe push me through”

on “Hands Off,” however, he changes his mind:

“Take your hands off me / I rented myself / But now I belong to me /
Keep your hands off me / No longer a child / And I’m certain to cease you to be.”

Musically, Treadmill Trackstar always sounded a little out of their time, with Billy Corgan and Smashing Pumpkins the closest sonic reference point that made sense. Here, Gianni takes that psychedelic post-grunge and paints broad sonic strokes that sound at times Beatlesque (“Euphoric”) and even Tom Petty-esque (“Check My Reaction”), but mostly unique. Heidi Carey’s cello isn’t as shockingly different as it was a decade ago, and it blends better with the mellower material that dominates the proceedings.

On one of those more sedate tunes, “Bus Went By,” one senses Gianni coming to grips with the lost opportunities and lost years that the past decade of living with something other than this band represent:

“Waiting around / The bus went by / Wating around to matter”

By the close of the song, he’s resigned to whatever fate he has made for himself, though as always he leaves things wide open to interpretation and personal internalization by the listener:

“Feed the meter / It’s just time / and time is free ‘til gone / Dig the century / and make your small mark in the ground / Climb down and lie / Down and lie”

Treadmill Trackstar’s discography will undoubtedly end up being a ‘small mark in the ground’ straddling the centuries, but this album will make a fitting cap for the time capsule buried there. As Gianni himself says on “Last Good Breath”:

“If for a second it all went away / seal up this package and call it a day.”

For a free song download, visit the band’s website here

Grand Theft Audio: Stealing Vegas Lifts Classic Pop Sounds

stealing vegas
stealing vegas
The neat thing about how connected we all are with the myriad of blogs, websites, and social networks out there is that occasionally I will get contacted by people I have not thought of in years, or musicians who I have not heard from in a while.

The latter situation came up recently when Chris Brackett got in touch about his new project, Stealing Vegas. Brackett may be familiar to South Carolina audiences from his semi-acoustic duo Different Daniel, and to fans of his previous outfit, Suburban Love Junkies, that called Alabama home.

Stealing Vegas is more along the Junkies line, with a contemporary, buzzing pop-rock sound that hearkens back to the popular alt-rock of the late 1990s without indulging in the post-grunge dead end of Stone Temple Pilots or Candlebox. Instead, Brackett tackles the more song-form oriented style of Tonic, or his most obvious influence, Treadmill Trackstar (The Stealing Vegas tune “3” could be a lost outtake from Treadmill’s major label days, it’s so close to their sound).

So far, Brackett has been content to play a few shows and put up some great new songs on the band’s Myspace page (Check out the song “Letters”, the best of the bunch on the playlist); hopefully there will be more to come from the group, and a proper album release, soon.