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Spiv

Everybody's a Rock Star Tonight

Pop Sweatshop

The Posies' Ken Stringfellow returns with his new band, Spiv. Stringfellow produces this four-song EP, and plays bass and keys, but all the songs are written by lead singer/guitarist Chris Barber. Drummer and saxophonist Sean Sippel rounds out the package. The four songs on the EP are well-rounded, reminding me at various times of the likes of The Jam and Elvis Costello (the deliciously angular and ironic title track), the great Chicago power-pop band, The Webstirs (the somewhat Beatlesque "Beatley"), and Evan Dando (the lovely, subdued "Seedy Release" -- great pun!). And the closer, "VIPs of the Street," defies almost all categorization, mixing elements of hip hop, ambient, jazz, and more, with Barber's deadpan lyrical flow taking center stage. In all, a great introduction to this band. On the title track, Barber declares, "I've got my 15 minutes comin' to me." After a few listens to Everybody's a Rock Star Tonight, I hope he gets a lot more than that!

Pop Sweatshop, PMB 148, 2103 Harrison Ave. NW, Suite #2, Olympia, WA 98502; http://www.popsweatshop.com