Take one part Rock ‘N’ Roll High School, one part Thin Lizzy, one part Cheap Trick and one part T.Rex. Mix in a shot of the youthful exuberance of The Exploding Hearts. Add a dash, now just a dash, of cheese-metal guitar riffs. We don’t want too much cheese metal. And we’re close to all the ground the Chicago band Mickey covers in their debut album, Rock ‘N’ Roll Dreamer, an album of teenage party-rock that stubbornly refuses to conform to three chords, three kegs, and three days with the parents away. Songs like, “Dance,” and “My Lady” take the sexy swagger of a Marc Bolan boogie and inject it with the speed and enthusiasm of punk rock. While numbers like “She’s So Crazy” and “For You” are their inverse — Starting with a framework of The Ramones and filling in the details with glam’s big guitar lines and seductive shimmy. As long as Mickey keep things relatively simple Rock ‘N’ Roll Dreamer is thoroughly entertaining. It’s when they try to cram too many of their Rock ‘N’ Roll heroes into too tight of a space that they begin trip themselves up. “Kids Crazy in Love” suffers an identity crisis when a perfectly fine take on the trash-rock of the New York Dolls gets interrupted with power guitars, a disjointed chorus, and pounding instrumental passages from who knows where that fit neither the verse nor the chorus. “For You,” has a similar penchant for quick changes and could use similar streamlining. While “Scream With Me” never quite makes up its mind between pop-metal, proto-punk, or proto-metal. Once Mickey learn the fine art of keeping all those influences in check, there’s no doubt they’ll be the stylish, Rock ‘N’ Roll animals of their album cover. Until that time, we’re left with a record that knows it wants to rock, but doesn’t always know when, where, or how. 6 out of 10 on The Rockometer.
Garage rock was hot in 2011, especially in Chicago, where the HoZac record label is the center of an exciting scene. One of the bands in this scene, Mickey, plays fun but frequently sloppy live shows, filled with drunken energy. The band tamed that rambunctious recklessness just enough to let the strength of its songs shine through on this debut studio album, which sounds like a lost classic of the ’70s era of proto-punk and glam. Long live rock ’n’ roll dreamers!
What’s not to love about scuzzy glam garage from Chicago? Replace a few ‘s’s with ‘z’s, a few ‘y’s with ‘ee’s, in titles like Bright Lights Big City, Kids in Love, and Baby We’re Gold, and this album could sit proudly next to the likes of Sweet and Slade.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Dreamer
It seems that the hope shared by a number of people in the local garage rock scene—namely that Rock ‘n’ Roll Dreamer would catapult local scuzz-glam band Mickey into rock superstardom—have been dashed. As of this writing they aren’t causing any teenage riots in London or booking shows at the Budokan. I’m not sure where to place the blame, but it definitely doesn’t go to the album, which sounds every bit like something you’d hear blasted over an arena-size PA.
Top 11 albums of 2011
by WHITE MYSTERY: Miss Alex White & Francis S.K. White
1. Thee Oh Sees: Carrion Crawler (In The Red)
2. Heavy Times: Jacker (HoZac)
3. Cave: Neverendless (Drag City)
4. Night Beats: S/T (Trouble in Mind)
5. Jacuzzi Boys: Glazin’ (Hardly Art)
6. Davila 666: Tan Bajo (In the Red)
7. Mickey: Rock’n’Roll Dreamer (HoZac)
8. Apache: Radical Sabbatical (Burger)
9. People’s Temple: Sons of Stone (HoZac)
10. Tyler Jon Tyler: “Tyler Jon Tyler” (Slow Fizz)
11. Schiller Killers: Wicker Park Strangler (Rubber Vomit)
The eBay title got all the hits… all it’s missing is “WOW”
$14.99 at Dave’s Records! Still sealed!
Mickey- Rock ‘n’ Roll Dreamer
Release date: 2011Jun07
Label: Hozac Records
Mickey hail from Chicago and their sound is similar to that of the New York Dolls, T.Rex, Dead Boys and other similar bands. “Dance” starts things off as an anthem that has a strong 1970s street punk feel to it. “Summer Night” is much the same as the lead singer does his best to imitate the swagger of David Johansen. Other highlights include “Rock and Roll Dreamer”, “Bright Lights”, “Kids Crazy In Love”, “Dream With Me” and “Baby We’re Gold”. This is a very fun record and one of the few vinyl reviews that I’ve done. It’s a great release if you like garage rock and early-mid 70s punk!
Try: 1,2,4,5, 9, 10
A little bit o’ lo-fi, a little bit o’ glam rock, a smidge o’ theatricality, and a lotta chutzpah make for some interesting listening here. They love their rock with hooks and ain’t ashamed to aim for the fences. Gotta respect that.
After two stellar singles on HoZac and Florida’s Dying and a 12-inch EP on FDH, HoZac steps up and spreads some sleaze on the summer with the debut full-length from Chicago’s street-glam rockers - Mickey! The world may not be ready for the sweat-stained concoction Mickey has served up on this platter - whiffs of glam, punk, glitter, and straight-up pop music permeated with the scent of leather, roses, PBR & sex oil. It’s not all fistfights and raunch from these guys, there’s a sweeter side to songs like ‘Baby We’re Gold’ and ‘For You’ that contrast with finger-snapping rockers like ‘Dance’ and ‘Scream With Me’ all of which ride a delicate line between sincere and trite lyrical and musical sentiments. We hear elements of ‘Killers’-era Alice Cooper, T.Rex, Gary Glitter, The Sweet, and Berlin Brats - all that sweet/sour R’n’R that pre-dates the recklessness and danger of punk, but still retains some of the showmanship and debauchery of Glam rock! These guys are tearing up the Chicago scene - rocking clubs hard and leaving a trail of blown speakers and broken mics in their wake - as with the whole of HoZac releases, this comes RECOMMENDED!
Just like how bubonic plague resurfaces every few years to kill a few unlucky people, only to grow dormant again, some folks think that a perfectly lucid way to spend their time would be to start a new glam band. I don’t think it’s a case of glam being resilient but I do think that there are a lot of unoriginal assholes cluttering up what would otherwise be a pretty nice cosmos. As for Mickey’s turn in the bucket – it’s hard for me to imagine music worse than this: Maybe (maybe) if I was wealthy and had billions upon billions of dollars at my disposal, I could hire hundreds of Ph.D’s in lab coats, working around the clock with flow charts and Tesla coils, toiling for decades in the spirit of spitting-on-your-hands-and-doing-it-for-America, coupled with the finely-tuned logistics and resources of something approaching the Manhattan Project, all working for one united goal: to make a record sucks more than Rock ‘n’ Roll Dreamer, it still might fall short. But I’ll save everyone’s time: these clowns tried for hooky and catchy, but ended up with something insipid and annoying. Its songs go beyond boring into painfully playacted, irritating and arch. Imagine being invited to a party, and when you get there, you’re stripped naked and thrown into a pit of Fiberglass insulation. That’s what listening to this band is like.
And hey: I like glam rock. I even watched Born To Boogie with minimal fast forwarding, but this reminds me of those metal bands that were influenced by punk and glam but ended up being those Sunset Strip atrocities. I figure this is exactly the record these creeps wanted to make: criminally stupid lyrics, a cover that looks like an eighth grader with a wisp of a moustache and a denim vest drew on his Trapper Keeper, and a general aura of stunted development. It you like your music sans intellect, cleverness, ambition, without even the most basic interesting or novel elements, and/or get your nostalgia receptors tickled at the thought of the Rainbo’s jukebox in 1984, then this record might be for you. You deserve each other.
I basically say that every record is my favorite of the year, but I probably mean it on this one. Out on Hozac, nothing but bangers, electric live show, these dudes are ridiculous. They’re getting a ton of pub around here and deservedly so. Album’s awesome.