Tart’s new single, “Toothache”, and its accompanying video aren’t mere heralds of the Detroit group’s latest EP. No, they are declarations of a band channeling a new muse and reinventing their paradigm.
Since Tart’s last release, 2015’s These Are Not Love Songs EP, the duo of vocalist Zee Bricker and guitarist Adam Padden has been augmented by former Von Bondies drummer Donny Blum. His presence remarkably evolves their sound, as evidenced in “Toothache”. Padden’s guitar work, previously a stew of metallic riffs, has turned into a chugging fusillade of garage-punk tones. Check his dirty and oil-slicked solo late in the game for a marker of how things have changed. Blum’s thunderous percussion supplants drum machine beats, thereby laying much of the group’s darkwave electronica touchstones asunder. Still centering it all is Bricker’s searing banshee wail and coyly predacious presence. A nocturnal aura remains, now with a dose of gutter-glam chic.
Propulsive and relentless, it’s a song unlike anything else in Tart’s oeuvre, a reboot of their aesthetic. That Tart chose this tune as a demarcation of between their past and their present was no mistake.
“‘Toothache’ was the first song we wrote with Donny,” the band said. “It encompasses the direction we’re heading towards together as a band and is a good representation of the music we’re continuing to write. Donny really filled out our sound. We were always a rock band but ultimately were constricted by the drum machine. The sound is more reflective of what we want Tart to be. This truly is Tart now, fully realizing itself. And live, the energy is that much more intense onstage.”
The video was created by Three Lyons Creative, a Detroit-based multimedia production company.
“The corporate and political systems that govern our society ultimately keep the people down, forcing us to live in a dog-eat-dog world,” Tart said of the video’s concept. “External differences drive us apart, to the delight of those who profit from our suffering. Taking that basic idea, we developed something with Three Lyons Creative that we hoped could convey part of that with humor and goofiness.”
Tart is releasing the four-song Toothache EP on Friday, Aug. 25, with a Midwest tour planned after that.
8/25 – Hamtramck, MI – Ghost Light Bar (EP release show)
9/16 – Indianapolis, IN – State Street Pub
9/29 – Oxford, OH – House Party at Miami University
9/30 – Nashville, TN – Mouth Hole
10/1 – Bowling Green, KY – FFOYA House
10/3 – Cincinnati, OH – The Comet
10/6 – Chicago, IL – The Mutiny
10/7 – Hamtramck, MI – Fallout Fest
10/14 & 21 – Detroit, MI – Theatre Bizarre