The Northstar Session returns to the racks of the record stores with “Winter Collection”, as Johnny returns to the pages of The Owl to re-review this band.
The Northstar Session is a quartet hailing from California. The four-piece features Matthew Szlachetka on guitar and vocals, Kane McGee on drums and vocals, Shiben Bhattacharya on bass, and Dave Basaraba (a name that makes me want to do the robot, much to my wife’s dismay) on heading up the organ and saxophone, or “saxa-ma-phone” as I always hear it in my head in Homer Jay’s voice. This quartet can be found touring the West coast extensively, and are known to put their all into all of their shows.
“Winter Collection” is TNS’s second release, and picks up where “New Prehistoric Times” left off in 2008. The Northstar Session can be considered a not-so-hard rock band, more in the vein of a folk rock band a la Wilco. This release features seven tracks, five of which are songs I want in regular rotation on my iPod. Where “New Prehistoric Times” was a great full album with one or two “plus” songs, “Winter Collection” is a great album consisting of mostly great songs.
- The opening track, Crazy Jade, throws down the gauntlet with likely the catchiest song on the album. If Oasis lost their accent and limey-ness, they may come close to creating something as good as Crazy Jade.
- A Piece Of Me starts off immediately as a toe and finger-tapper (no, don’t tap your toes and fingers together. You’ll be thrown on a short bus to oblivion). This track pulls on their retro rock roots and reminisces 60s pop sensibility with its guitars and organ work. The lyrics talk about how you lose parts of yourself when others leave you. I’m always a fan of songs of leprosy, especially catchy leprosy songs.
- The album ends on one of their high notes with A Letter Each Morning. This song is a straight-up folk song that brings up the spirit of John Denver as it talks about cherishing your love every day.
The Northstar Session is a retro rock band if you could weed out all of the cheesy crap bands we’ve had to endure throughout the years. If you find yourself on the West Coast in CA or in Oregon, do yourself a favor and check out this trio live. It would be time well spent. If you’re not on the West coast, start a letter writing campaign to get these guys to come to your neck of the woods.
Consider this the first letter.