Detroit power pop trio Chris Richards and the Subtractions will release their full-length debut Sad Sounds of the Summer on Gangplank Records on March 17th. Produced by Gangplank-founder David Feeny at his own Tempermill Studios just outside of Detroit, the album contains 10 songs of hook-laden, melody-intensive pop confection.
In addition to singer/songwriter Chris Richards, the Subtractions feature bass player Todd Holmes and drummer Larry Grodsky. While Sad Sounds of the Summer is the first release by the Subtractions, it follows a number of successful solo releases by Richards, who with bandmates Holmes and Grodsky have been fixtures on the Detroit scene since their time in 80’s and 90’s outfits Hippodrome and The Pantookas. Richards’ last release, 2004’s The Mystery Spot, received glowing reviews from The All Music Guide and Pitchfork.
Richards’ love of power pop, which combines an affection for the music of the British Invasion along with 90’s bands such as Teenage Fanclub and The Velvet Crush, is reflected in their guitar-driven approach. Says Richards, “We are all about songs dripping in melody and delivered with a punch! The simplicity of power pop makes it very endearing to us.”
The band’s sound also has global appeal, thanks to power pop’s enduring popularity far beyond its British and American shores. According to Richards, “I’ve been fortunate to have my records released and do well in Spain, Sweden, Japan, and Australia and both the press and fan reaction have been amazing. It’s a challenge trying to let fans in multiple countries know we’ve got a record out, but there’s such a great network of the music’s fans out there that word just seems to spread.”
The recording of Sad Sounds of the Summer took place over multiple sessions in 2008 at Detroit’s Tempermill Studios, produced and mixed by Tempermill owner and multi-instrumentalist David Feeny (Blanche, American Mars). Richards and Feeny have a long history recording together, a relationship that Richards says thrives on Feeny’s sense of humor and his commitment to making pop records with the band’s patented style of harmonies. “Working out harmonies can be a very tedious process,” says Richards, “so we tend to joke around a bit to make the whole process a bit easier to take.”
The band’s goals for Sad Sounds of the Summer are well-suited to their no-nonsense approach. Says Richards, “Our goal as musicians is to continue to create pop records for now people, to sell a few more records than the previous one, and to play our songs in far-away lands.”
Chris Richards- guitars and vocals
Todd Holmes – bass
Larry Grodsky- drums
Press for Chris Richards’ Mystery Spot
“Hmmm, power plus pop….If you dig Falkner, Sweet, Keene, or any of the other giants of the power pop continuum, you need to seek this record out.” – Tim Sendra, All Music Guide
“13 knockout melodies and harmonies sweeter than dried mango, it’s little things like that downplayed wash of backward guitar on “Don’t Forget About Love” and “Is There Anybody Else?” that sinks its hooks in immediately with a charging guitar riff and backs it up with a massive chorus.” – Joe Tangari, Pitchfork
“Few do this sort of melody/harmony/jangle thing these days as well as Richards does”- John Borack, Amplifier Magazine
“Diabetic-coma inducing power pop done with ear-curling skill”- Detroit Metro Times