Every now and then I get an email from Chris Banta, one half of the Indianapolis band Brother O’ Brother, and the man in charge of Romanus Records. Aside from general pleasantries and politeness, Banta messages are usually about a band he is stoked about or working with at his label. On the most current email, it was both! He wasn’t asking what I think about the band Tart and their new album, Better Luck Next Time, he was demanding I listen to it and thank him later. And I did just that!

Kicking the door down, Zee Bricker and Adam Padden formed Tart as a duo in 2014 as part of Detroit’s indie rock scene. Later, they recruited Donny Blum (originally of The Von Bondies) on drums and the trio was poised to take over the world. Although they haven’t conquered the world just yet, I’d like to think it would’ve happened already if it weren’t for the live music industry shutting down due to the pandemic. Which leads me to why their record Better Luck Next Time is so important. It is, for all intents and purposes, every single thing we love about live rock n’ roll poured into a single LP like trying to fit into a pair of slim-fitting leather pants after hitting up the greasiest buffet your neck of the woods has to offer!

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Gritty, feral, buzzy, and every other word every other publication uses to describe garage rock applies here but in the most authentic way possible. I typically don’t like utilizing nostalgia or describing artists by comparing them to others, but Better Luck Next Time reminds me of the records I listened to as a teen when I wanted to punch someone but didn’t want to deal with consequences! The best way I can describe Tart is like a female Glenn Danzig fronting The Yeah Yeah Yeahs covering Garbage. Does that make sense? Of course not, but try describing how satisfying the sound of a distorted guitar is or the way drums rattle the fillings in your teeth.

Just like every release from Romanus Records, Better Luck Next Time is available in multiple vinyl variants. Tri-color, splatter, test pressings, and are you ready for this? One variant filled with Pixie Stix! But all that collector stuff would be null and void if this record wasn’t so good! Look, it might be a minute or two before we can see this kind of thing in a live setting, so drop a needle on Better Luck Next Time and let Tart give you the closest you’re gonna get to the experience!

Better Luck Next Time is available exclusively at Romanus Records.

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Aaron The Audiophile

Son, brother, uncle, musician. I enjoy music of all genres, shapes and sizes, preferably the good kind.

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