BLOODY RED BARON – January Reviews

Posted on 08 January 2015



by Mike Baron

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RICK HROMADKA: Trippin’ Dinsoaurs.

Like a paisley Brontosaurus from the Summer of Love, Rick Hromodaka’s Trippin’ Dinosaursraises its psychedelic snout. Hromodka, the force behind Maple Mars, evokes the ghosts of the Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe and the Fish and the Doors with swirling guitar and keyboards. The poppy “Conversation” has a Beatlesque break in the middle while Hormodka’s burbling keyboards float the appropriately titled “Dreams Of A Hippy Summer.” The loping and haunting “Face On” could have come off a Moby Grape album.

Three and a half stars.

The Headlocks

THE HEADLOCKS: Most Golden Goose

A wild bluesy streak runs through this album, which covers a lot of territory from shit-kickin’ good ole boys to Brit pop rave-ups. Singer/songwriter Rob Carey has steel in his voice and plays fluent harmonica, highly effective on the country numbers. “Dream While You’re Awake” is a hortatory U2-ish anthem leading into the memorable “She’s Gonna Explode.” They touch Yardbirds on “February Roses,” but no one will accuse them of imitating the Yardbirds. “In The Water” is a stand-out with its whistling chorus and a memorable bridge. Can’t you just hear the Rolling Stones singing “Running Free?” “Starting Over” could have been written by Joan Armatrading but again, the Headlocks sound like nobody else. “Way Up Wait Up” could have been written by Scott Sax.

This is tart rock served straight.

Four Stars



Ho hum. Another brilliant power pop masterpiece from this Montana-based quintet, overflowing with Beatlesque flourishes and killer hooks. Frontman Ryan Mayne’s six songs employ his characteristic descending themes beginning with “Bitter Sun,” a Jellyfish-type with cascading harmonies and an art-rock ELO-ish bridge, followed by the delirious “Palarium” with Beach Boys chorus behind a McCartney-esque melody. John Brownell’s “Spare Parts” has a Squeeze vibe. Mayne’s “Reservoir” slips under your skin with a rockabilly beat — dig that piano — and a massive hook. By the time you get to Mayne’s “Paula Brown” all resistance has fled. This is fist-pumping complex power pop that belongs on the shelf with the afore-mentioned bands, the Zombies, The Knickerbockers and their ilk. Brownell’s “The Way the Story Goes” rivals Spooner’s “The Way the Stories Go” in exactly the same way with a Queen-like guitar interlude. “Ready To Get Old And Die” is a future anthem, something Queen might sing and a fitting salute.

Five stars.

Illustrated Bird CD Eco Pack cs5

THE HANGABOUTS: Illustrated Bird

Suddenly from out of the blue with mere days left in the year comes this polished gem of tuneful rock in the tradition of the Red Button, The Galaxies and The Everly Brothers. John Lowry and Gregory Addington have that kind of harmonic magic. “Roman Forum” starts things off in an Eagles/Hollies vein. “Cut Down” has a swooningly gorgeous bridge, as do most of these songs. The boys’ keyboard work is impeccable from chiming organs to background burbles. Touch of McCartney in “November” while “I’ll Get Over It” has some of that Nillson magic. “Dr. Dragon” would be a good theme song for a Roger Moore 007 movie, but not for Connery or Craig. “I Wonder Why” combines elements of the Red Button, the Offbeat and the Beach Boys.

Four and a half stars.

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Mike Baron is the creator of comic books Badger and (along with Steve Rude)  Nexus.  His latest book is “A Brief History of Jazz Rock” – more on Amazon CLICK HERE.

He has written five novels in the last few years, all available on Amazon here:  Visit his website here: and on Wikipedia here:

One Response to “BLOODY RED BARON – January Reviews”

  1. Chip Saam says:

    The Hangabouts say thanks to the Bloody Red Baron. We appreciate the kind words.