Over the years, Paul Wall and Terry Hackbarth have been the driving force behind two British Invasion-fed power pop outfits, Trolley and The Nice Outfit.
The latter band -- which also includes Quinn Scharber on bass and drummer Joe Kirschling and also had roots in the now-defunct New Blind Nationals -- has been gigging a lot and now releases a four-song EP.
"Kissing Jocelyn," on Milwaukee's Easter Records, is officially launched on Saturday, Dec. 22 at an 8 p.m. gig at The Mad Planet. Local music fans got a pre-gig taste when the band played on WMSE's "Local/Live" show on Dec. 18.
While The Nice Outfit and Trolley inhabit similar space on the musical spectrum, TNO is a little less "kempt" than Trolley, shaking up its Kinks-y power pop roots with covers of tunes by bands like arty post-punk outfit Magazine and American punks Redd Cross.
"The CD was recorded over a four-month period by our drummer Joe Kirschling in my basement and kitchen," says Wall, not to be confused with the rapper of the same name.
"We recorded about 18-20 songs and wanted to put out a little teaser before the full-length."
The EP was mixed by Justin Perkins, formerly of The Obsoletes and Yesterday's Kids. Now based in Madison, Perkins works at the famed Smart Studios there and has been doing some work at Wauwatosa's Burst Studio, too.
"We originally wanted to have it out a bit sooner as it definitely has a brisk, summery feel to it," Wall says of the EP, explaining that the original release date was stymied by unexpected production delays.
The other songs from the sessions will be used on the as-yet unnamed full-length, which will be released in 2008, according to Wall.
"It's totally recorded but just starting to be mixed," he says. "We are maybe going to record a few more just so we have more to choose from. We even recorded a couple covers, just for snicks: "Annie's Gone" by Redd Kross and "Knowing Me, Knowing You" by Abba. I don't think those will make it on the full-length, but who knows.
"We already have four ‘new' mixed songs ready to go and Joe is mixing them at an alarming rate! They sound real good, though; I think as good or better than anything on the EP."
Wall says that the new recordings by The Nice Outfit shouldn't lead anyone to think Trolley has been retired to the rail yard.
"Trolley has a full-length CD mixed and mastered," he says. "We just have to come up with the cash to press and promote it. It was produced by Ryan Weber with assistance from Nick Sanborn, both from Decibully (and) recorded at my house and finished at Bionic."
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.