Palm Trees and Humidity - Kevin K and the St Pete All Stars (self released)
Just because it's a budget "fans only" issue doesn't account for this one disappearing into a pile of review albums after protracted plays. So it's been out for the last part of 2008 and most of '09.
If you've been paying attention you'll also notice that Kevin K is one of a handful of grizzled punks lauded around these parts as something of a trans-national living musical asset, a guy who's so good that the rest of the world needs to wake the fuck up and take notice. So can you come up with a reason not to like this? Me neither.
The backstory is that the St Pete Allstars are Mr K's local band when he's enjoying the warm climes of Florida as opposed to stints in L.A., Europe, the Mid-West and NYC. When someone rolled tape over their live set, deep in the bowels of someone's grandma's garage, the result was too good not to release in some form. Production is bare bones, dubbed straight to eight-track with no re-recordings except the vocals, and that's not going to worry the devotees.
This album is (another) dozen chunky guitar songs, all but one clocking in at under three minutes and most talking about the usual things (girls, the old punk rock days, the weather.) Musically, it's straight-up rock and roll. Kevin's guitar snarls, except on the acoustic "Mr Ruckus" and "Still Miss You", and his mildly nasal, world-weary vocal just gets better.
Kevin's clearly still a Johnny Genzales fan, especially when he breaks into a lead, but any claims that he's a mere shadow of the man who always seemed to be waiting for the man have long been laid to rest, if they ever had any credibility.
The backing band's a goodie. Drummer Edo McGrady has a firm but nimble touch to his playing that suits the slightly sunny disposition of the music.
Baseball fans take note: Closing track "Go Rays" is a Tampa Bay Rays anthem, courtesy of Kevin K and the St Pete Allstars. Take me out to the ballpark, this sounds like the Replacements on vacation.