UNCUT UK, APRIL, 2013
First Album in 24 years from Kansas City’s answer to the Replacements. Pedaljets’ 1988 debut Today Today was an undersung gem of pre-grunge US ’80s rock. The band reconvened, with Paul Malinowski replacing Phil Wade, in 2006. Their salvoes of high-powered melodic punk, laced with Beatles harmonies (the dazed and lovely “Some Kind of One”), prove affirmative and energizing with hard-won wisdom at the core. Embattled and combative on “Terra Nova”, offering a masterclass in curdled sarcasm on the belligerent “Conversations”, Mike Allmayer’s brand of hangdog dirty realism combines potency and killer riffs in equal measure. A belated but timely return.
REVIEWER: GAVIN MARTIN
8 of 10
THE BIG TAKEOVER, June, 2013
The Pedaljets came bursting out of Lawrence, Kansas in the late 80s with a pair of LPs that put a proto-grunge spin on power pop and bar-band rock. Nearly a quarter-century after it split, the quartet came back, first to remix its self-titled second album and then to enter into a full-on resurrection. What’s In Between is the fruit of that reunion, a smart, vibrant rock & roll record that perfect balances loose (not sloppy) performances with highly-crafted writing. The album opens with “Terra Nova,” a spitting take on postpunk with more casual spite than a conservative talk show host and more balls than a sports field. “Nothing Boy,” “Dead Day Return” and “Clowns and Jackals” bash and crash, blending catchy hooks with careening energy in the Midwest alt.rock tradition. “Change” and “Conversations” strip the varnish from Beatlesque pop, eschewing lushness for naked melodicism. “Measurement” and “Riverview” find a balance between the two, pumping up jangling pop melodies with noisy rawk energy. “Tangled Up” constitutes the band’s distinct take on country music, while “Some Kind of One” and “Goodbye to All of That” indulge in raw but graceful balladry. Varied and consistent, What’s In Between doesn’t sound like a final statement taking a band out in style, but the next chapter in a whole new novel.
REVIEWER: Michael Toland
BLURT MAGAZINE June, 2013
Pedaljets arose in the mid-1980s out of the same rough-housing Kansas indie scene that birthed The Embarrassment (whose Bill Goffrier came east to co-found the great Big Dipper). The band was, at one time, a raucous r ‘n r contender in the hunt for the next ‘Mats, Husker or Meat Puppets. They shared stages with all these bands. Yet Pedaljets made just two albums in its heyday, the grungy, rackety debut Today Today in 1988 and the rushed and less satisfying S-T in 1989. They split a year after the second record, worn out with touring and disappointed with their showing. The Pedaljets’ sophomore effort apparently rankled so much that the band actually reformed to re-record it in 2006.
By 2006, naturally, the music industry was already well into its retro-obsession with short-lived post-punk legends, having raised the middle-aged ghosts of Mission of Burma, the Pixies, Gang of Four and countless other bands that could be your life (if you didn’t already have a life). So, Pedaljets kept going, playing local shows, recording and finally, in 2012, releasing their first new material in 23 years, a single of “Terra Nova” backed with “Riverview”.
The two songs lead off What’s In Between, the Pedaljets quarter-century-gapped third album (another version of “Terra Nova” also closes out the album). And, let’s be clear, they have more than a whiff of the 1980s in them. “Terra Nova” comes from the land where the Pixies meet Devo with its menacing, new wave bassline, its twitchy staccato guitar. “Riverview” leans more towards Americana, a boot-stomping road-house vamp under close R.E.M.-into-Jayhawks harmonies. “Conversations,” one of the best of the new songs, splits the difference between Paisley Pop and sloppy Mats-style mayhem, a Brit-pop melody scuzzed over with beer-sticky American rock bravado. Even so, the song that popped first for me was a quiet one, the radiant but also simmering “Goodbye to All of That.” It’s the song that wraps a young man’s chiming guitar dreams in an older man’s ruefulness. It stays low to the ground but also somehow soars. Its criss-crossing shouts of “Goodbye to that” pierce the strum and clatter with a close-to-tragic resonance.
If you go back as far as the Pedaljets do, you’ve said goodbye to a lot of things, some you miss more than others. Let’s all be glad that these guys are also saying “hello again” to a worthy if not quite star-making band.
REVIEWER: Jennifer Kelly
Ghettoblaster Magazine June, 2013
After a 23-year absence, Pedaljets have returned with 11 brand new songs that feel as if they picked right back up from where they left off… and that’s a good thing! It represents a lot of what was good about the
90s and also stacks up really well with what’s current. These guys flew under the radar during their short time originally and after hearing the album’s high-energy opener “Terra Nova” (which has all the vocal
swagger of Iggy Pop, courtesy of Mike Allmayer) I cannot understand why. The band sounds as tight as ever, you’d almost think they never stopped playing together. With so many 90s “alternative” bands reforming, it’s kind of nice to see one that wasn’t as huge follow suit and make the listeners wonder what they hell they were missing.
REVIEWER: Ryan Fetter
Vive Le Rock Review of WHAT’S IN BETWEEN
Pre-Grunge guitar slingers return
Kansas quartet, The Pedaljets, started out in 1984 and were once seen as the missing link between the Replacements and Nirvana. Extensive touring with such bands as Husker Du, The Replacements, Meat Puppets and Flaming Lips helped seal their reputation and their 1988 debut album ‘Today Today’ was widely acclaimed. Unforunately, its self-titled follow-up was less successful and they evenutally split in 1990. A tentative return to the studio in 2006 bore fruit and resulted in their gradual return to the studio to record this album. ‘Terra Nova’ kicks things off with an early ’80s New Wave feel while ‘Riverview’ and ‘Dead Day Return’ are garage pop in a similar vein to the Hoodoo Gurus. Elsewhere, ballad ‘Some Kind of One’ sounds like it could be a Bowie/Lou Reed collaboration. A sound rooted in the early ’80s but that happily doesn’t sound dated. 11/13
REVIEWER: Lee Catterell
CREEM MAGAZINE REVIEW OF “TODAY TODAY” LP 11/88
One look at the album’s cover — a black and blue number with deteriorating human head, a fish and two skeletons — might lead you to think the Pedaljets are a hardcore band. No way. The Pedaljets sound like snippets of the Dream Syndicate, the Replacements and Dramarama all rolled into one. Except these clever guys had the good sense to add a hefty dose of jangle to the guitars. The constant theme running through frontman Mike Allmayer’s lyrics is that nothing seems to stay the same from today to tomorrow. “Today, Today,” the title track, is the band’s quest for a rock anthem. Other strong cuts include “Hypothermia,” “Lullaby Alarm Clock,” “Dumbwaiter” and “One Million Lovers.” Allmayer has a strong raspy voice. His howling is awesome on “Hide and Go Seek.” The rockin’ riffs and clever hooks only get better on side two. The end result? This is a record to flip over and play again. D.R.
PEDALJETS / Today Today (Twilight) 1988
This nifty Kansas alterno-pop trio lays noisy rock energy and unmitigated passion into melodies strong enough to withstand rough handling. Singer/guitarist Mike Allmayer does a really good job on both, giving Today Today an intriguing sound — Byrdslike harmonies and punky Replacemental rawness — that works just as well (albeit differently) at high and low volumes.
CMJ SPRING 1990
PEDALJETS, Pedaljets (Communion)
Formed in the great plains around Lawrence, KS, the Pedaljets (the group takes their name from one of those weird tricycles manufactured in America’s heartland in the ’50s and early ’60s) could be the brightest light in the Midwest music scene. Being relatively isolated from the trend-a-minute hipster pace of big-city scenes has probably helped the Pedaljets to grow into their own maturity and sound without interference from outside, in much the same way that the relative isolation of early ’80s Minneapolis or latter-day Iowa has spawned such grear bands as the Replacements or Full Fathom Five. While saying the Jets’ new LP hearkens back to Husker Du or the Replacements of yore does ring with a bit of truth, the tag is more often an unfair one — there’s a whole lot more going on here than just guitar jet-blast angst and flannel-shirt screaming and hollering. Lyrically as well as musically, the songs in the current Pedaljets repertoire could almost all fit together as one — like a concept album without a central concept. Throughout “Pedaljets” one finds a broad, anthemic sense of vision that’s as expansive as the skies over the sprawing fields of their home state. Grab an earful, check out “Long Distance,” Small Towns,” “Dead Dogs,” “Stipple County,” or “Place In the Race.”
Review: Pedaljets – Riverview / Terra Nova 7″
Pedaljets – Riverview / Terra Nova (Electric Moth)
The Pedaljets’ story goes back to 1984 when the Kansas quartet was considered the missing link between The Replacements and Nirvana. They toured extensively, supporting most of the main players from the ‘80s alternative scene; Hüsker Dü, Meat Puppets, Flaming Lips, etc., and released their debut album “Today Today” to widespread acclaim in 1988. They released a second album a year later, but it was rushed and unfinished, and that disappointment, coupled with a non-stop touring schedule prompted the band to split in 1990.
That should have been the end of it, but fast-forward to 2006. Such was the feeling in the band that the second album was no way to end things, they returned to the studio to tighten up and fix the mix. The results were released in 2008, with a positive review in Mojo magazine their reward.
They’ve been playing and recording ever since, and the single “Riverview / Terra Nova” are the first songs released (we’ve been assured that an album will follow in the next couple of months). Available as a spiffing 7” single (pressed on snot green vinyl), it’s a firm indictment of the Pedaljets sound. “Riverview” is psychedelic grunge rock, with a massive guitar hook and lines about girls and dragonflies. “Terra Nova” leans toward a Wire-esque post-punk sound – the guitar needles and probes, and vocalist Mike Allmayer disengages like classic David Byrne or Anthony Moore. Catch ‘em if you can.
-Leicester Bangs, Rob Forbes, 2/18/13
“A pulse-raising thriller of a record,” ‘What’s in Between’ Americana UK 9/13
“The Pedaljets make a rough and ready rock and roll with such style and finesse…” ‘The Pedaljets’ LP, The Album Network, 2/90.
“By not judging good or evil yet remaining conscious of both, Pedaljets frequently make life seem harder than it really is. But that’s often the function of art…” ‘The Pedaljets’ LP, Alternative Press, 6/90.
“The guitars crush, the vocals soar, and Mike Allmayer’s lyrics pass the tough lyric-sheet test –they even work without music…” ‘The Pedaljets’ LP, Seattle Rocket, 5/90.
“Mike Allmayer and Co. have scored a bloodless coup on the local scene. The album (“Today “Today”) has the feeback-soaked ring of a band that’s paid some dues and gotten a firm grip on its sound…” ‘Today Today’ LP, Lawrence Journal World (Lawrence, KS), 6/88.