Sweet, sour and glittering with adrenaline (appropriately named) transcendent Detroit trio Tart have made a reputation for themselves by deconstructing new wave and electroclash to spawn their genre-defying sound. Together, vocalist Zee Bricker, guitarist Adam Michael Lee Padden and drummer Donny Blum form a vibrantly expressive shred-pop outfit who approach each song as a fresh start.
Formed formally in 2014, best friends turned roommates turned sonic architects Bricker and Padden ventured to create a sound that fused the intricacies of their contrasting musical backgrounds: Bricker’s disciplined theatre education and Padden’s untamed, collaborative rock and roll fire. While the then duo explored the marriage of Bricker’s haunting vocal prowess and piercing lyrics with Padden’s intuitive and calculated guitar treatment, it was their inanimate third member, the drum machine, that filled a percussive void yet also strained Tart’s potential.
Blum (who also drums in The Von Bondies) helped them achieve it fully when he began playing with Tart for their live performances in 2016. Both Bricker and Padden discovered a raw beginning within the preexisting framework, Blum being the missing ingredient. It is Blum’s primal endurance and virtuosic stylings that helped birth a new, energized Tart with the same name, but an entirely realized vision.
Earlier this month, Tart saw the release of their third (and in many ways their first) EP Toothache, a well-rounded, eruptive 4-track collection that defines the band’s ardent past and shimmering future with a fully formed ferocity. “Metal Eyes” (which Bricker jokes is their one true “pop song”) feels more Dandy Warhols than glittering excess whereas “Toothache“ is a riotous Tank Girl worthy banger. Pared down from six tracks, Toothache finds a polished momentum that embody what Tart has come to do best: sincere and sinister tornadic shred-pop with a well-roundedness that feels radio ready.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth and a bad attitude check out Tart’s latest below: