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The STRAY CATS Vault Onto Album Charts With ’40’

 
THE STRAY CATS
VAULT ONTO THE ALBUM CHARTS WITH
’40,’
THEIR FIRST NEW ALBUM IN 26 YEARS,
ON SURFDOG RECORDS
EARNS CRITICAL ACCOLADES
BAND IS GEARING UP FOR SUMMER CONCERT TOUR
OF THE U.S. AND EUROPE
 
  
(Album cover)
The STRAY CATSBrian Setzer (guitar, vocals), Lee Rocker (bass, vocals) and Slim Jim Phantom (drums, vocals)–have vaulted onto the album charts and earned critical accolades for 40, their first new album in 26 years. Released May 24, the album entered the charts at #1 on the Current Rock chart; #3 on the Indie chart; and #5 on the Billboard Album Sales chart. This marks the group’s highest entries since 1983’s Built For Speed, which was released 36 years ago.
Featuring the original founding members of the iconic and acclaimed American rock and roll trio who are celebrating their 40th anniversary this year, 40came out blazing on the heels of three singles that were released from the album: “Cat Fight (Over A Dog Like Me),” “Rock It Off” and “Cry Danger,”the latter of which was premiered at Guitar World, issued by Surfdog Records and distributed by BMG (CD, vinyl, digital).
The all revved up and red-hot STRAY CATS recorded 40–issued by Surfdog Records and distributed by BMG (CD, vinyl, digital)–at Blackbird Studios inNashville in late 2018 with producer Peter Collins (Rush, Bon Jovi, The Brian Setzer Orchestra) and engineer Vance Powell (Jack White, Chris Stapleton, Arctic Monkeys). There are a dozen original songs that comprise the album. Read the first press release about the album here, which includes quotes from the band and the track listing. Watch the band and album producer Peter Collins in the studio discussing the making of the album here.
Here’s a selection of critical praise for 40:
“No doubt, they’ve got the throwback sound down on ’40,’ named to celebrate their anniversary. Fans looking for a good time will find it, including on the lead-off “Cat Fight (Over A Dog Like Me).” Like the Cats classic “Rock This Town,” there’s dancing, drinking and fighting. Well, this time it’s mostly fighting – two women tussling over the affections of the narrator, the aforementioned ‘dog like me’…Another highlight, ‘Cry Danger,’ offers a tight musical groove and inverts the Beatles’ ‘Day Tripper’ riff. Coupled with a boppin’ bass and tambourine shake, you’ve got an original that’s a worthy callback to the 1965 hit by another rockabilly-besotted band. ‘Desperado’ shines with soaring, aching musical lines from Setzer…The Stray Cats can slink down the alley any way they choose.”
–Jeff Karoub, The Associated Press, 5/22/19
 
“…this is a rollicking, toe-tapping, finger-snapping great time. The sound is bigger and fuller than you’d think possible for a stripped-down threesome, the playing is as energized as it was all those decades ago, and Setzer’s voice has matured into a tough, sturdy vehicle for it all to ride on. The band shifts their attack slightly for a Spaghetti Western-styled instrumental ‘Desperado’ that combines Link Wray’s thunder with the James Bond theme’s spy reverb for a stunning one-off that effectively breaks up some of the sameness of the rest of the material. The Cats strut in a harder direction for ‘I Attract Trouble,’ keeping the basic format but infusing it into a swamp-rocking template. And even when it’s business as usual on ‘I’ll Be Looking Out for You,’ it’s clear that Setzer is twice the guitarist he used to be as he shoots out sizzling leads with snarling ferocity. Okay, so they aren’t reinventing the wheels to their musically souped-up hot rod. The Stray Cats remain a well-oiled machine, as super charged in 2019 as they were 40 years earlier. If this is their final road rally, they’re going out in style.”
–Hal Harowitz, American Songwriter, 5/21/2019
 
“Comfortable in their skin and still intoxicated by a big rockabilly beat, the Stray Cats sound vigorous and sly — a bit louder and heavier, possibly slightly slower, than before, but also unconcerned with the kind of modern fashion that tainted their records after Rant N Rave. What makes 40 work is the same thing that made Built for Speed click: the trio has absorbed all the nuances of rockabilly, so they can enliven it with their own swing and sense of humor. It’s this bold personality that keeps 40 cooking. Stray Cats spit out allusions to their idols and classic oldies, nod at surf rock and country mythos, play a few blues shuffles, and generally have a whale of a good time. It’s notable that these high spirits are evident on a reunion album because they were largely absent on the trio’s previous reunions: this time, it sounds like the group is in it for fun, and that makes a huge difference.”
Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music, 5/24/19
“The album brims with bracing, stripped-down rockers like ‘Cat Fight (Over a Dog Like Me),’ ‘Mean Pickin’ Mama’ and ‘Devil Train,’ and every track boasts a widescreen riff and virtuoso guitar solo. But the band also serves up some new sounds with the riff rocker ‘Cry Danger’ (co-written with Mike Campbell) and the punk-like ‘I’ll Be Looking Out for You.'”
–Joe Bosso, Guitar Player, May 2019
“Four decades later, Stray Cats are ready to ‘Rock It Off’ with the same three basic ingredients they’ve always used: Setzer’s twangy Gretsch guitar, drummer Slim Jim Phantom’s elemental thumping and Lee Rocker’s expertly slapped upright bass…On the standout ‘Cry Danger,’ the Cats venture out of their ’50s comfort zone and move boldly into ’60s garage-rock territory. The track features an intro guitar riff that’ll make any Beatles fan instantly think of ‘Day Tripper.'”
–Kenneth Partridge, Billboard, 4/25/19
 
“‘Cat Fight (Over a Dog Like Me)’ is a wild and woolly rouser, ‘Cry Danger’ is stylized storytelling coupled with edgy hooks and solos, and the relentless ‘Devil Train’ simply burns the house down. The production is lean and uncluttered and retains a robust and very live feel. This release was, as they say, definitely worth the wait. A dozen tunes total and not a clunker in the bunch!”
–Eric Harabadian, Music Connection, 5/29/19
On the concert front, the STRAY CATS begin their select U.S. dates presented by SiriusXM on August 3 on the heels of June and July overseas shows (*see tour dates below). Tickets for the shows are on sale now.
  
The Stray Cats from L-R: Lee Rocker, Brian Setzer, Slim Jim Phantom
By Russ Harrington
 
 
DAY
DATE
CITY/STATE
VENUE
Friday
6/21
Vitoria, Spain
Azkena Rock Festival
Sunday
6/23
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Birmingham O2Academy
Tuesday
6/25
Manchester, United Kingdom
Manchester O2 Apollo
Wednesday
6/26
London, United Kingdom
London Eventim Apollo
Thursday
6/27
London, United Kingdom
London Eventim Apollo
Saturday
6/29
Tilloloy, France
Retro C Trop
Monday
7/1
Amsterdam, Netherlands
AFAS Live
Wednesday
7/3
Berlin, Germany
Columbiahalle
Thursday
7/4
Cologne, Germany
Palladium
Saturday
7/6
Tours, France
American Tours Festival
Sunday
7/7
Belfort, France
Les Eurockeennes
Tuesday
7/9
Stuttgart, Germany
Killesberg
Thursday
7/11
Munich, Germany
Zenith
Saturday
7/13
Aix-Les-Bains, France
Musilac Festival
Thursday
7/18
Pori, Finland
Pori Jazz Festival
Saturday
7/20
Falun, Sweden
Summer Jamboree-Falun
Saturday
8/3
Atlantic City, NJ
Ocean Resort Casino-Ovation Hall
Tuesday
8/6
New York, NY
Pier 17 at South Street Seaport
Tuesday
8/13
Vienna, VA
Wolf Trap
Wednesday
8/14
Huber Heights, OH
Rose Music Center
Thursday
8/15
Grand Rapids, MI
Meijer Garden
Sunday
8/18
Welch, MN
Treasure Island Casino
Monday
8/26
Salt Lake City, UT
Red Butte Garden
Wednesday
8/28
Los Angeles, CA
Greek Theatre
Saturday
8/31
San Diego, CA
Humphrey’s
Sunday
9/1
San Diego, CA
Humphrey’s
About The STRAY CATS:
The STRAY CATS, the band that put Rockabilly music back on the record charts in the early ’80s, scored several big hits on both sides of the Atlantic thanks to a striking visual 1950’s style brought “up to date” with exaggerated pompadours and colorful tattoos and as well as genuine musical chops that evoked the best players of rockabilly’s original heyday. Formed by guitarist/vocalist Brian Setzer, upright bass player Lee Rocker and drummer Slim Jim Phantom in the Long Island town of Massapequa, NY, in 1979, the trio shared a love for Rockabilly music. After banging around New York for a few months, in the summer of 1980, and seeing a pompadoured kid on the cover of UK magazine NME, they hopped a plane to London where a rockabilly revival movement was just beginning to emerge. Their massive hits and videos include “Runaway Boys,” “Rock This Town,” “Stray Cat Strut” “(She’s) Sexy + 17,” and “I Won’t Stand in Your Way.”
 
For more information on The STRAY CATS, visit:

About Louise Swift

I first went to a gig in 1981, Gillan at Leeds University. I've been a regular gig goer ever since. I haven't kept count of how many gigs I've been to over the intervening years, but it's a lot! My favourite bands are AC/DC then, in no particular order, Anti-Nowhere League, Slaughter and the Dogs, Towers of London and Dirt Box Disco. I tend to like Glam/Punk and rude offensive lyrics, not sure what that says about me but as Animal would say 'So What!' The question was recently put to me - did I write for any online publications? My reply - No, but I'd like to! Planetmosh was suggested and I found myself offering to review Aces High Festival. Easy peasy I thought! Well not quite, if a jobs worth doing it's worth doing well! I had sixteen bands to research. I found I actually enjoyed that and it kept me too busy to be making lunatic comments on Facebook! ;) Then I felt a bit inadequately qualified. I mean, who am I to comment on others, when my musical expertise extends to being able to play a mean Greensleeves on the recorder and a passable Annie's song on the flute! Haven't picked up either instrument for years! What I do have, however, is over 30 years of experience as a gig goer, so I can comment on what I like and what I don't! It's only my opinion and, if I don't like a band it doesn't mean they are bad, just not to my own liking. I admire anyone who has the guts to get up on that stage and have a go!