Reviews – Press
“Stop Talking is the debut EP from Portsmouth, NH quartet The Connection. The music is true 60’s retro, think Dave Clarke 5, The Standells and The Searchers. The Connection would have been right at home on Shindig. No cutesy indie here, just straight ahead traditional 60’s song forms and music. This is 60’s music done the way the originators envisioned: hooky, commercial and fun. Take a trip back to the days when Rickenbacker guitars and Vox amps ruled. Stream and download Stop Talking at the link below”
The old 80’s video motif of the band performing an anachronistic set on the Ed Sullivan show or something and then destroying the place and causing a mayhem party is apparently alive and well. The Connection walks through the door a respectable lookin’ bunch of lads in nice suits and maybe an occasional bit of scruffiness, but they plug in and turn up and simply let loose with a whole 60’s/70’s garage full of righteously chugging hard melodic pop that borders on punk (but not, thank goodness, pop-punk). We hesitate to call it punk, because it’s punk you can take home to meet your grandmother. And while she might call The Connection a bunch of rascals or something like that, deep down, she wants to bake them a million cookies.
The Connection’s straight-ahead style is reminiscent of the Ramones; with a strong commitment remaining harmonious and melodious and all that junk. The rhythm chugs along like the earliest strains of rock and roll, like BIll Haley and the Comets found out that it’s OK to turn up the tempo and the guitars. It’s like the first band that got booted out of the dancehall for being too rowdy and just sort of landed in the local garage. And the kids followed. The Connection doesn’t seem to try to avoid the grease spots on the floor in the garage, they just step in them and make them part of the whole deal. And Grandma won’t even yell at them if they track it inside the house.
The draw of “Stop Talking” is absolutely undeniable. It’s the sound that makes you want to shoot a montage of people hearing the song through the radio or whatever and tilting their heads and going all “Oooh! Hmmm!” and dropping whatever they are doing – whether they’re making breakfast, washin’ their tights or maybe even showering. Then we’ll have a quick shot of their manager (played by Tom Hanks) signing more and more papers and whatnot while the band’s name is shown climbing the charts (“What? They beat Frankie Valli? NO ONE beats Frankie! “The Connection makes an immediate connection with the listener (that’s us), and we’ll follow them into any garage and maybe even back into whatever legend they came from. Because they are that good.
If I often praise certain bands for ignoring the past thirty years of “progress” in popular music, then surely I have to like a band that’s ignored the past fifty. It’s 1962 all over again when I’m listening to The Connection. And since ‘62 predates my birth by nine years, my love for this band has nothing to do with nostalgia. What it has to do with is great music. I was raised on oldies radio. And back then, “oldies” meant The Beatles, Beach Boys, and Chuck Berry. You know….the best music ever made! Ever notice that today, “oldies” radio now means The Eagles and Jimmy Buffet? Hell, you might as well listen to Top 40! Thankfully some people still appreciate real rock n’ roll. You might remember the names Brad Marino, Geoff Palmer, Chris Faulkner, and Andy Casey from bands like The Guts, The Queers, The Rydells, and Red Invasion. Now they are The Connection – the pride of Portsmouth, New Hampshire! If you love real oldies radio like it used to be, you’re gonna love The Connection. New album New England’s Newest Hit Makers takes it all the way back to the classic sounds of the early ‘60s – most notably the British Invasion and early Beach Boys. Whether you prefer the Mersey Beat/proto power pop bliss of “All You Gotta Do” and “I Want You”, the surfy splendor of “Little Lies” and “My Baby Likes to RnR”, or the ’50s flavored goodness of “It’s All Right”, you’ll just have to smile listening to this record. There’s no posturing here. There’s no pretending to be “tough” or even trying to be “punk”. Straight-up, this is fun, feel-good rock n’ roll of the highest quality. The songs are great, the energy is contagious, and the style is timeless. What’s not to love?! This is the debut album The Oneders could have made. If you say it sounds like something your grandma would like, I am pretty sure The Connection would take that as a high compliment. A+!
Summertime 2011 has just been graced with the soundtrack of the season with the release of Portsmouth-based rockers, the Connection’s debut album, “New England’s Newest Hit Makers.” They couldn’t have arrived a moment too soon.
Brad Marino (guitars, vocals) Geoff Palmer (guitars, vocals), Chris Faulkner (drums), and Andy Casey (bass), are a seasoned core of local rock ‘n’ roll veterans who have formed to get you swingin’ and smilin’. This is the music that defines the season of fun. The Connection have resuscitated ’60s garage pop in lieu of the Kinks, the Jam, and the Yardbirds, while incorporating an edgy element to the music reminiscent of the Buzzcocks and from the obvious source of some of the band mates’ past projects (the Guts, the Queers, Jonee Earthquake). The final product? Brilliant.
“Brad Marino and I had been hanging out, listening to records and writing songs for about a year,” said Geoff Palmer. “We both love The Real Kids, Chesterfield Kings, Rolling Stones, Kinks, etc., etc., and every time after one too many Tab and rums we would joke about starting a band till one day we did.”
And thank you for making it happen…;
“To quote my New Zealand friend Zoe Aldag the music we’ve created is ‘the same but different’,” Palmer said. “For the ‘same’ part, I’m proud of all the records I’ve made. Brad, Chris and Andy all have had other bands as well and I know they feel the same way. For the ‘different’ part, well The Connection is just a little bit better than all of our other bands — or maybe that’s the Tab and rums talking again!”
“New England’s Newest Hitmakers,” is a stellar and steadily movin’ eight song record (composed of seven originals, and one rollicking cover — Dee Dee Ramone’s “Baby Doll”) that catches you off guard right from the start. From the opening Keith Richards-esque lick of “It’s All Right,” to the closing minute-and-a-half burner, “My Baby Likes to RnR,” the Connection really struck a chord here. You swear you’ve heard it before. The music on this record brings back the feel-good-vibe from a time when music was the focal point of American culture with little other distractions. It’d be nice to get back to those roots, and “New England’s Newest Hitmakers,” is a step forward in that regard.
The Connection will be at the Press Room on Friday, Aug. 19 to showcase their new tunes and their sharp attire.
“We get excited about looking sharp and sounding great,” said Palmer. “We have an endorsement from a fancy suit store!”
“We hope people will come out and have a good time. That’s what rock ‘n’ roll is all about. Let’s DANCE and remember the lesson learned from Spinal Tap: ‘Have a good time all the
It’s clear that Palmer and the rest of his band mates are practicing what they preach. As their Facebook page suggests, the four musicians that make up the Connection ‘have combined to form your new favorite band!’ And that may just be hitting the nail right on the head.
‘New England’s Newest Hit Makers’ by The Connection: At a brisk 18 minutes, the debut album from Portsmouth-based band The Connection offers eight delectable nuggets of rock ’n’ roll ear candy that beckon memories of chasing girls around the pool at the local rec center.
“New England’s Newest Hit Makers” is a trip into a simpler time in rock history, when the bouncy tunes that flooded the airwaves were stripped-down, fun and catchy—but still had just enough attitude to make your parents nervous.
“Yeah, I’ve been at work all day / but when the clock strikes 5, you know it’s my time to play. / You, you know that I can hear / ’cause I’m only thinking about girls and getting two-dollar beers,” Geoff Palmer sings on the opening track, “It’s All Right.”
Indeed, this is Palmer’s time to play, and he does so with friends Brad Marino on backing vocals and guitar, Chris Faulkner on drums and Andy Casey on bass. Palmer also sings and plays guitar, rounding out a present-day fab four.
These musicians are no strangers to the Seacoast music scene, having already lent their talents to such punk and rock bands as The Queers, The Guts, Rydells, Red Invasion and the Jonee Earthquake Band. They come together with a simple mission to revive ’60s-era rock, channeling bands like The Kinks, The Beatles and the Stones, while foreshadowing the early punk of The Ramones.
The second track, “All You Gotta Do,” features a spryly frolicking guitar hook with jaunty, rhyming vocals. Another highlight is “Baby Doll,” which at first sounds like a knockoff of The Romantics but later brings in a growling vocal that echoes Eric Burdon and The Animals. The CD closes with the power-pop, surf-rock anthem “My Baby Likes to RNR,” which concisely conveys the album’s party spirit.
The Connection puts on their best Christmassy sneakers, tight black jeans (with a candy cane in their back pocket) and delivers a solid rocker, following classic routes and adding in some holiday cheer for the party. This song moves, pushed on by bristling guitars and a very generous use of the crash cymbal. Because it’s Crashmas – sorry, Christmas – and when we hark to the herald angels singing, we can expect a lot of cymbal-ism as well.
The small-gang vocals are reminiscent of the Ramones (and with good reason – the Connection covers the Ramones’ “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)” for this track’s B-side), and the guitars are punchy and rangy, bending around the corners of the chord progression and even kicking out a decidedly un-Ramones lead every so often. As our own personal version of The Oneders; The Connection brings the rock to Christmas and the rock is peppermint flavored.