THE FLASHCUBES (Syracuse, NY)
THE FLASHCUBES are as venerable and vibrant as they come, bursting out of Syracuse, NY in 1977 with the same lineup they have today – guitarists Paul Armstrong and Arty Lenin, bassist Gary Frenay and drummer Tommy Allen. During their initial lifespan of 1977-1980, The Flashcubes released only two singles, "Christi Girl" and "Wait Til Next Week," on their own Northside Records label. They always seemed on the brink of bigger things - everyone who knew them just presumed The Flashcubes would become stars. And while those big things never materialized, their legend only grew, so that by the time the band reunited in the '90s, as powerful and poppy as ever, they were recognized as the heroes they'd always been. They haven't looked back since, with a string of acclaimed albums, an induction into the Power Pop Hall Of Fame and a reputation as a world-class live act to their credit and no end in sight.
Along with being a cutting edge power pop band, The Flashcubes are, and have always been, massive music fans and record collectors. When Cubes’ drummer/producer Tommy Allen suggested they cover The Pezband’s “Baby It’s Cold Outside” (a record they all had in their personal collections), the rest of the band jumped at the idea. For two bands who both started in the late-70’s and were inducted into the Power Pop Hall of Fame in the same class of 2019, it was a perfect match! And the cherry on top, was the participation (guitar AND vocals) of Pezband founder - and the song’s co-writer - Mimi Betinis. While the original single was a classic, The Cubes have put their own spin on it with the newly-recorded version.
And while the story could have ended there, the new single proved a springboard to more fresh and exciting callbacks and collaborations for The Flashcubes. Big Stir Records has already been thrilled to present the band's cover of Dwight Twilley's "Alone In My Room" (approved by the man himself... Twilley didn't mind!) and a version of Shoes' "Tomorrow Night" featuring all three key members of the classic lineup. There followed a teamup with The Spongetones as the next installment in the series (leading to that band, enshrined alongside the 'Cubes in the Power Pop Hall of Fame, also joining the Big Stir Records roster), and cover-collabs with David Paton of Pilot, both of the Paley Brothers, and more. As it all unfolded, an ever-clearer clamoring could be heard from fans of THE FLASHCUBES, the bands being covered, and the guitar-pop form in general: will there be an album?
And the answer at long last is an unqualified "yes". All eight singles along with four more never-before-heard Cubicized versions of classic tunes have been collected for an all-new album that could only be called Pop Masters. It's on your way on CD and all digital platforms this summer as THE FLASHCUBES' first full-length album on Big Stir Records. And it's worth the wait, serving both as the long-awaited return of the band to record store shelves, and a tribute collection like no other. Twelve short and sweet masterpieces of the guitar-pop idiom, served up with a dash of 21st-century-style virtual collaboration and performed with all the passion and chemistry of a band that easily stands alongside the creators who accompany them. THE FLASHCUBES remain, without a doubt, POP MASTERS, and we at Big Stir are proud to put their work on display.
BIG STIR RECORDS and Power Pop Hall-Of-Famers THE FLASHCUBES are proud to announce the August 11 release of the first full-length album of their partnership: POP MASTERS. The single-most requested release in the label's history, the new album collects all of the long-running NY State band's recent guest-star-studded singles covering the guitar pop
BIG STIR RECORDS and Power Pop Hall-Of-Famers THE FLASHCUBES are proud to announce the August 11 release of the first full-length album of their partnership: POP MASTERS. The single-most requested release in the label's history, the new album collects all of the long-running NY State band's recent guest-star-studded singles covering the guitar pop classics of the past five decades, together with new tribute tracks (including the current single “Forget About You”) for the definitive presentation of the beloved collaborative covers series. Hitting record store shelves and online retailers worldwide as a CD and all streaming services on the street date, POP MASTERS is up for pre-order/pre-save now (https://orcd.co/theflashcubes-popmasters). Guest shots from many of the original artists on these fresh versions of underground classics by SHOES, PILOT, THE SPONGETONES, PEZBAND, PALEY BROTHERS and more make the album a must for fans of THE FLASHCUBES, the artists celebrated here, and perfect, short-and-sweet guitar pop in the past, present and future tense.
THE FLASHCUBES are as venerable and vibrant as they come, bursting out of Syracuse, NY in 1977 with the same lineup they have today – guitarists Paul Armstrong and Arty Lenin, bassist Gary Frenay and drummer Tommy Allen. During their initial lifespan of 1977-1980, the Flashcubes released only two singles, "Christi Girl" and "Wait Til Next Week," both now acknowledged as guitar pop classics. They always seemed on the brink of bigger things - everyone who knew them just presumed The Flashcubes would become stars. And while those big things never materialized, their legend only grew, so that by the time the band reunited in the '90s, as powerful and poppy as ever, they were recognized as the heroes they'd always been. They haven't looked back since, with a string of acclaimed albums and a reputation as a world-class live act to their credit and no end in sight.
For the past two years, THE FLASHCUBES have been delighting global radio audiences and followers of the power pop sound with a series of singles, all pursuing an ingenious gambit: covering the songs of their rough contemporaries in the creation of the modern power pop song, and enlisting the original artists for prominent guest shots. It all kicked off with their July 2021 debut for Big Stir Records, a new version of fellow Power Pop Hall Of Famers PEZBAND's classic “Baby It's Cold Outside” with the tune's original writer and singer MIMI BETINIS sharing vocal duties. Fans clamored for more, and the band and label were happy to oblige: 2022 kicked off with the band going it alone on an artist-endorsed version of DWIGHT TWILLEY BAND's “Alone In My Room” before the guests artists returned for the next whirlwind run of one-off releases. The full classic lineup of SHOES joined the 'Cubes on a rendition of the Chicago darlings' beloved “Tomorrow Night”, both PALEY BROTHERS guested on their own “Come Out And Play”, and THE SPONGETONES – yes, also Hall Of Fame inductees, and yes, now Big Stir Records labelmates with our heroes – brought their renowned vocal firepower to the biggest of the many hits in the series, “Have You Ever Been Torn Apart?”
As THE FLASHCUBES continued to turn the should-have-been-hits of yesterday into indie radio smashes for the 21st century, they dipped back to salute their key influences as well as their contemporaries. The proto-Raspberries outfit CYRUS ERIE's RANDY KLAWON added guitar to a new version of the band's “Get The Message” while New York Dolls guitarist STEVE CONTE ably glammed up the 'Cubes' take on SLADE's “Gudbuy T'Jane.” And PILOT main man DAVID PATON joined the the fun on an inspired reading of his band's “Get Up And Go” (a single from 1977, the year the THE FLASHCUBES came together). The inspired pairings of tunes and collaborators showed no sign of letting up.
By this stage, though, fans were demanding more than just more singles. Clearly a full-length album was in order, and it will come as no surprise that the new album POP MASTERS was in the cards all along. Apropos to their legacy and stature as the the hosts of all the pop party, THE FLASHCUBES in all their four-piece glory have announced the album with the rip-roaring new track “Forget About You,” originally recorded by THE MOTORS. It's one of four new tracks on which THE FLASHCUBES tackle the classics from across the decades as only they can. They bring POP MASTERS to a round dozen never-before-collected artifacts of ageless hooks and harmony, served up anew in the inimitable 'Cubes style and sounding fresher than ever.
On a modern music scene perhaps oversaturated with tribute albums, POP MASTERS is something truly special. Not only is it a new dispatch from a still-vital group of power pop pioneers, and not only is its authenticity burnished by the many guests THE FLASHCUBES have invited to the party... it's also a unique assemblage of songs that could only have been chosen by true fans. Naturally, THE FLASHCUBES could have selected a fistful of far more obvious pop rock chestnuts, all the easier to catch the eyes and ears of “the casuals”... and let's be honest, they would have nailed two sides' worth of Beatles, Byrds, Badfinger and Big Star. But what we have here is something altogether more engrossing and unique. Songs picked by compulsive record collectors with the keenest of ears, ornamented with all-star assistance by friends from their enviable contacts list, and delivered with the swagger and drive cultivated over four decades of legendary live performances, and yet shot through with the youthful abandon the material demands.
It's a loving look at the past, but it's just too palpably “new” and “now” to be mistaken for a mere nostalgia trip. Take the album's title as you will: THE FLASHCUBES themselves are indisputable POP MASTERS, and here they pay homage to others equally deserving of the title. The result is a record which, however you may categorize it – tribute collection, collaborative party, or simply the band's much-anticipated next studio album – will inevitably be ranked among the year's best, and an absolute essential for guitar pop fans of any age. Big Stir Records takes great pride in bringing it to you.
Get Up And Go 3:380:00/3:38
Get The Message 2:300:00/2:30
Gudbuy T'Jane 3:280:00/3:28
Tomorrow Night 3:030:00/3:03
Come Out And Play 2:500:00/2:50
Forget About You 3:000:00/3:00
The Summer Sun 3:090:00/3:09
Alone In My Room 2:430:00/2:43
Flavor Of The Month 2:380:00/2:38
Nothing To Do 3:080:00/3:08
Forget About You
BIG STIR RECORDS brings you a brand new single from THE FLASHCUBES, and it's a sign of very big things to come from the long-running, NY State-based Power Pop Hall Of Famers. “Forget About You”, a cover of the late '70s underground guitar pop classic by the 'Cubes' British contemporaries THE MOTORS, is out July 21 and up for pre-order/presave now
BIG STIR RECORDS brings you a brand new single from THE FLASHCUBES, and it's a sign of very big things to come from the long-running, NY State-based Power Pop Hall Of Famers. “Forget About You”, a cover of the late '70s underground guitar pop classic by the 'Cubes' British contemporaries THE MOTORS, is out July 21 and up for pre-order/presave now (https://orcd.co/flashcubes-forget), streaming everywhere on the street date and hitting global radio now. It'll be accompanied by a special career-spanning video, and it serves as an announcement that the album fans have been demanding from THE FLASHCUBES for years is about to materialize at last.
It has been a banner trio of years for THE FLASHCUBES, and they've seen the band rising to their highest profile since their earliest days and the classic 1978 single “Christi Girl”. The band, still rocking with their original lineup of guitarists Paul Armstrong and Arty Lenin, bassist Gary Frenay, and drummer Tommy Allen, has taken the global pop-rock radio scene by storm with a unique and beloved series of eight new singles, released throughout 2021 and 2022, which have seen them joining forces with their artistic peers (and more than a few primary influences) to cover the songs they love. The series has featured THE FLASHCUBES in collaboration with key players from fellow Power Pop Hall Of Famers SHOES, PEZBAND, and THE SPONGETONES as well as the likes of PILOT's David Paton, THE PALEY BROTHERS and former NEW YORK DOLL Steve Conte, with steady support from RANDY KLAWON of The Choir and Cyrus Erie. Throughout it all – and especially since this May's announcement that the band, along with The Spongetones, has joined official Big Stir Records Artist Roster – fans have consistently asked after, and at times rightfully demanded, a full-length album collecting the singles.
That announcement is just around the corner, and there's no better way to herald it than with another rip-roaring FLASHCUBES single... after all, pitch-perfect pop songs are short and sweet, and eight of them won't fill a disc. And so for their ninth (!) preview single, THE FLASHCUBES in all their four-piece glory tackle the 1978 track “Forget About You” by British guitar-pop heroes THE MOTORS. It fits the band like a glove, and we daresay it's got a bit more edge than Leif Garrett's version (compare if you dare). The video, premiering Thursday in advance of the single's release, does a handy job of bringing fans old and new up to date on THE FLASHCUBES' career... watch this space for premiere news!
With the new single motoring out of the gate, fans can collect or playlist the Pop Masters Singles Series to their hearts' content, but there's still more to come. Early listeners to the new album, like Carl Cafarelli of This Is Rock 'N' Roll Radio, are already calling it a lock for one of the year's best power pop (or indeed rock and roll) albums, and we can only agree. For now, rev up this Motors classic delivered in vintage Flashcubes style, and consider marking August 11 on your calendar... you've got a date with some true Pop Masters.
Forget About You 3:000:00/3:00
Get The Message
Power Pop Hall Of Famers THE FLASHCUBES close out the 2022 run of their beloved series of hit singles revisiting the classics of the genre alongside their fellow legends, and this time they get to the very roots. The latest single, out and steaming everywhere this Friday November 4 and up for pre-order at www.bigstirrecord.bandcamp.com now, is a
Power Pop Hall Of Famers THE FLASHCUBES close out the 2022 run of their beloved series of hit singles revisiting the classics of the genre alongside their fellow legends, and this time they get to the very roots. The latest single, out and steaming everywhere this Friday November 4 and up for pre-order at www.bigstirrecord.bandcamp.com now, is a cover of the 1968 classic “Get The Message” from CYRUS ERIE, the band that was soon to become RASPBERRIES and set the stage for power pop as we know it! On board to get the message out far and wide is guitarist RANDY KLAWON, who played in both Cyrus Erie and the other legendary band that evolved into Raspberries, The Choir. That makes this release a veritable love letter to the Cleveland roots of the music from the classic lineup of THE FLASHCUBES (guitarists Paul Armstrong and Arty Lenin, bassist Gary Frenay and drummer Tommy Allen)... and a must-hear for fans of the form!
The band's GARY FRENAY explains how this terrific but obscure B-side became the pick for THE FLASHCUBES' inevitable salute to the Raspberries legacy: “For me, the whole genre of power pop that I love starts with the Raspberries. And while the obvious choices for this project could’ve been any number of their songs, we really felt they were already perfect records, so why even try? But in digging deeper, we found this b-side from Eric Carmen's first band, Cyrus Erie - recorded in 1968 - that was just begging to be re-done. The real challenge for me was trying to do a vocal at my age that Eric did in his late teens. But along with the rest of the band, and the able assistance of Randy Klawon, we all just went for it, all in!”
RANDY KLAWON – whose exceptional guest guitar work has been a not-so-secret-weapon across THE FLASHCUBES' Big Stir singles – remembers his time with CYRUS ERIE and how he came to be involved in the new single. "I 'Got The Message' when I was 17 years old, in a call from Cyrus Erie's Bob McBride (bass) asking me to join him and his brother Mike McBride (drums) and Eric Carmen in the band,” recalls Randy. “They had just recorded the single 'Get The Message'/'Sparrow' for Epic Records and were looking forward to their next release. 'Sparrow' was supposed to be the A side but the record flipped when they heard 'Get The Message'. The song rocked! So when The Flashcubes' Tommy Allen asked me to contribute to this cover project, I was in 100%. Recording this song feels like coming full circle. Many thanks to The Flashcubes for bringing the energy and giving 'Get The Message' a well deserved second life."
“Get The Message” is the ninth single Big Stir Records has been honored to release from THE FLASHCUBES. The popular series – which has seen them covering and collaborating with the likes of THE PALEY BROTHERS, SHOES, THE SPONGETONES and members of PILOT and PEZBAND – has had fans asking if an album collecting these fine tracks is on the way. The answer is coming next year, but for now, with the full series available digitally at www.bigstirrecords.com/the-flashcubes, fans can get, and spread, this message: THE FLASHCUBES are alive and kicking in 2022 and embodying the spirit of power pop... just like they always have. And there's more to come!
Come Out And Play
The Flashcubes featuring The Paley Brothers
It's time for the next Collaborative Cover Single from New York State Power Pop Hall of Famers THE FLASHCUBES... and this time out they're joined by THE PALEY BROTHERS for a new version of the duo's classic “Come Out And Play”! The single's out and streaming everywhere Friday, September 23 and up for pre-order at www.bigstirrecords.bandcamp.com
It's time for the next Collaborative Cover Single from New York State Power Pop Hall of Famers THE FLASHCUBES... and this time out they're joined by THE PALEY BROTHERS for a new version of the duo's classic “Come Out And Play”! The single's out and streaming everywhere Friday, September 23 and up for pre-order at www.bigstirrecords.bandcamp.com now. Both brothers – ANDY and JONATHAN – join the original 'Cubes lineup of Gary Frenay (bass, vocals), Arty Lenin (lead guitar), Paul Armstrong (guitars) and Tommy Allen (drums and production) for what's become a much anticipated monthly ritual for power pop fans worldwide: THE FLASHCUBES getting together with their fellow pop legends to re-introduce a true classic of the form.
“Come Out And Play”, from THE PALEY BROTHERS' one and only LP, is just such a genre classic. So much so that it not only appears on, but lends its title to, Rhino Records' essential collection DIY: Come Out And Play - American Power Pop I (1975-78), a definitive document that also includes The Flashcubes' own underground hit “Christi Girl”. Gary Frenay tells us that the connection between the two bands goes all the way back to that era. “When the Paley Brothers LP came out on Sire in 1978, we were all over it. Arty and I are huge Everly Brothers fans (even performing occasionally as the Neverly Brothers), and we thought Jonathan and Andy were the New Wave Everlys.”
“We met them briefly at an after-hours party in Boston back in the day,” Frenay continues, “but it was until 2010, when visiting my friend, Tom Kenny (formerly of Syracuse and longtime voice of SpongeBob Squarepants), now based in LA, that I really got to know Andy. He and Tom created all of the music for the wildly-popular Nickelodeon series, and were partners in crime in the band, Tom Kenny & The Hi-Seas. The 'Cubes got to play with Andy and Tom earlier this year at a Syracuse Awards show, and we all had a ball. Getting Andy and his brother Jonathan to join us on our version of their classic single was the icing on the cake!”
The band's Paul Armstrong adds: “So excited to record this classic with the legendary Paley Brothers! It was an extra special thrill for The Flashcubes to perform on stage with Andy Paley and Tom Kenny this past March doing 'C’Mon Let’s Go,' which the Paleys did with the Ramones for the Rock 'N' Roll High School classic flick.” It's thus that Andy (on vocals, guitars and keys) and Jonathan (on vocals) joined the band to record this new version of “Come Out And Play”.
The final word must belong to The Paley Brothers themselves. Andy says, “The Flashcubes knocked 'Come Out and Play' outta the park. These guys have a winning sound!” Jonathan adds, “Wonderful to work with The Flashcubes! They have real class and a great sound!” Fans of the ongoing singles series have come to expect no less, and they're sure to be delighted to “Play” the new track, often, and loudly.
Come Out And Play 2:490:00/2:49
Get Up And Go
New York State Power Pop Hall of Famers THE FLASHCUBES continue their winning singles streak with another star-studded cover of another pop rock classic! This time out it's a fresh new version of PILOT's 1977 hit “Get Up And Go”, featuring none other than Pilot lead singer DAVID PATON on vocals and piano. The new track is out and streaming
New York State Power Pop Hall of Famers THE FLASHCUBES continue their winning singles streak with another star-studded cover of another pop rock classic! This time out it's a fresh new version of PILOT's 1977 hit “Get Up And Go”, featuring none other than Pilot lead singer DAVID PATON on vocals and piano. The new track is out and streaming everywhere this Friday, August 26, and up for pre-order along with the full Flashcubes “covers and collaborations” singles series at www.bigstirrecords.bandcamp.com now!
By now you know what original classic lineup of The Flashcubes – Gary Frenay (bass, vocals), Arty Lenin (lead guitar), Paul Armstrong (guitars) and Tommy Allen (drums and production) are up to, with a new version of a pop-rock gem every month. The real “magic”, to borrow a song title from a certain band, is which tune they pick and who turns up to help them! Tommy and the boys tell the tall of how they decided to get up and do “Get Up And Go”:
TOMMY ALLEN: “This song has been on the mountaintop of pop for us since its release. It was Gary's idea to include it, but I was hesitant to even try to re-do this absolute masterpiece... it seemed too perfect as it was. Gary's persistence paid off when he reached out to David Paton and asked him if he'd be interested in joining us. Having David on this track is a real high point for all of us as we're complete Pilot fanboys!”
GARY FRENAY: “I know of no bigger Pilot/David Paton fan than myself. I have followed his career from the very beginning when 'Magic' first hit the charts in 1974. I was working in a record store at the time and was in charge of the 45s, and of reporting sales to the local radio stations. Long after 'Magic' had slid off the charts, I was still reporting it to radio as a 'hot seller' for that week. Makes me laugh now, but I was such a true believer! All these years later, to get to sing what I think was David’s greatest single, and have him join in on the second verse, was literally a dream come true for me!”
ARTY LENIN: “It was a great pleasure and one my great challenges to emulate the guitar work performed on this pop masterpiece. One of my all time favorites from the guitar genius Ian Bairnson. He’s as good as it gets.”
And lastly, a word from Mr. PATON himself: “I was a bit apprehensive when I received the message about the FLASHCUBES recording of 'Get Up And Go'... and I must admit that I was surprised at how good the basic track sounded! The quality of musicianship and production is excellent and I was happy to add piano and vocals to the track. Well done, guys, and thank you all for making such a good recording of the song.” And with that endorsement, we can deliver to you the next, but far from final, FLASHCUBES flashback. Get up and go get it!
Get Up And Go 3:360:00/3:36
Christi Girl (Live)
THE FLASHCUBES – Power Pop Hall Of Famers and unstoppable icons of the NY State rock scene for over forty years – are back with another single from Big Stir Records. This month, our heroes take a break from saluting their peers and influences in the guitar pop pantheon to show off their own legendary prowess with hooks and high-energy pop rock, at
THE FLASHCUBES – Power Pop Hall Of Famers and unstoppable icons of the NY State rock scene for over forty years – are back with another single from Big Stir Records. This month, our heroes take a break from saluting their peers and influences in the guitar pop pantheon to show off their own legendary prowess with hooks and high-energy pop rock, at the height of their early live powers in 1979. “Christi Girl (Live)” is out this Friday, July 22, up for pre-order now at www.bigstirrecords.bandcamp.com, and streaming worldwide on the release date.
It's an urgent vintage recording of the band's biggest hit single, recorded at The Firebarn in the band's hometown of Syracuse, NY just one year after the classic 45's 1978 release. “Christi Girl”, performed onstage here by the band's classic (and current) lineup of bassist Gary Frenay, drummer Tommy Allen and guitarists Paul Armstrong and Arty Lenin (who wrote the tune) will be familiar to even power pop fans who weren't “there”: it's hard to find an anthology of the genre's heyday that doesn't include the original version. It is quite simply, like the tunes the modern-day 'Cubes have been covering by the likes of Shoes, Dwight Twilley, The Spongetones, and Pezband on their recent Big Stir singles, a definitive classic of the form.
And for anyone wishing they had been around to witness the young Flashcubes at the start of it all, this single – an exclusive and specially-edited version of track as found on the terrific live album FLASHCUBES ON FIRE: LIVE AT THE FIREBARN, MAY 26, 1979 independently released by the band earlier this year – is the next best thing. The single's here to showcase why you should add that essential document of the band's early days to your collection, as expressed by Carl Cafarelli (of THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO), who indeed was there, in the record's liner notes:
“On May 26, 1979, The Flashcubes recorded a show at the Firebarn on multitrack, their only 1970s show to be preserved with that level of oomph. You can hear the sweat. The Firebarn's upstairs could get hot. It was never hotter than this night. Bright lights. Guitars, bass, drums. Volume. Your ears are gonna be ringing for days. This album documents that precise moment, that pyrotechnic spark when the band were at their peak: a quartet of rock 'n' rollers dead set for the toppermost of the poppermost. If you were there, you'll never forget it. If you weren't there, just close your eyes, open your imagination, and breathe in the gold.”
You still can, and not just on this new “Christi Girl” single: FLASHCUBES ON FIRE is still available. It's heartily endorsed by Big Stir Records, and we're happy to shine a light on it. For our part? We wouldn't have felt right about issuing series of singles where THE FLASHCUBES play the classics if it didn't include one of their own. Here it is... fire it up, and stand by for more to come from the band next month!