Tee Vee Repairmann – What’s On TV
3.14.23 by Zach Mitchell
Been hearing a lot about new benchmarks in power pop lately, mostly from bands that seemingly don’t understand that there are two end points on the power pop spectrum: sticky sweet hooks and guitar riffs that make me want to jump off my couch while windmilling. Sometimes a band just gets it. TV Repairmann has figured out that “what if all those 90s bands that claimed to be influenced by Big Star were fronted by a snotty punk guy” is the ultimate formula for power pop success. What’s On TV? is Exploding Hearts for a generation of bedroom Tascam punks and it’s also the tape I’ve ended up playing the most this year so far. Perfect for cooking chicken thighs, making salads, and sending mindless e-mails.
While Repairmann’s (real name: Ishka Edmeades, but isn’t it funnier to call him Mr. Repairmann?) other bands like Gee Tee, Research Reactor Corp., and Satanic Togas aim to wallop the listener over the head with brash punk or steamroll them flat with sheer speed, What’s On TV? actually cares to take its time and be a little sweeter. What’s On TV? provides the best ratio of hooks to dollars spent that any tape has ever provided me, starting with the pining “Out of Order” and not letting up until “No Life on This Street”’s glammy gutter punk. “Get Outta Here” feels like a blown out lost radio classic, all AM radio hooks crunchy guitars. It’s a summation of what Repairmann does best on his solo work: ultimate sunny day anthems with just a hint of melancholy, filtered through tape hiss and cranked up loud.
The vocals, guitars, and songwriting hit the bullseye in the Venn diagram of “simple” and “effective.” Fans of Gee Tee will feel absolutely at home here amidst monophonic synths and whip crack drum rolls, but where other homespun punk projects like that tend to make themselves small, TV Repairmann goes big. This is music for sensitive punks who aren’t afraid to rock. That seems like it could be a backhanded compliment, but it’s the mode I’ve found myself the most in this year.
“Backwards” is the single best song I’ve ever heard from a lo-fi punk band in a while. Every single aspect of the song, including the opening chiming guitars, is a hook leading to another hook leading to me grinning ear to ear and nodding my head along. I feel like I’m going to wear out my copy because I keep rewinding it over and over again to relive the ascending and descending lead guitar mimicking the “falling down” lyrical motif. If that’s not a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is. What’s On TV? is another huge win for Edmeades and Total Punk Records – a match made in punk heaven.
Cassette Sold Out at the Total Punk Bandcamp! Still Available (in imported quantities) from Mr. Repairmann’s Bandcamp!