Trolley has been riding the power pop rails in Milwaukee since 1995, releasing a string of catchy, guitar-driven rock and roll records over the years.
But its members have also often been involved in other bands (perhaps most notably The Nice Outfit and The Exotics) and so Trolley seems to have spent a bit of time during those 16 years in the shed.
The group is back with a new 14-track disc, "Things That Shine and Glow," on its own Easter Records, that continues its tradition of jangly power pop but with a post-punk edge.
"In the End" is especially Beatles-esque, while "The Calico Cat" conjures Syd Barrett's quirky lyrics and the opener, "I Woke Up," owes as much to Richard Hell as it does to The Kinks.
With a relatively new drummer – Patrick Morrow – on the throne, Trolley officially releases the CD on Saturday, Dec. 3, at Linneman's with Testa Rosa and The Sugar Stems.
We asked guitarist Terry Hackbarth about Trolley and "Things That Shine and Glow:"
OnMilwaukee.com: Can you tell me a bit about what Trolley has been up in recent years? Is everyone else in other bands, too?
Terry Hackbarth: Paul (Wall) is still doing The Exotics shows once in a while and our new drummer Patrick (Morrow) is currently touring with Kim Lenz and other odds and ends, but, otherwise, the focus is on Trolley.
OMC: Did you do it all in one go or was it made over time?
TH: It was made over two extended sessions; one where we did the musical arrangements and overdubs and the second one was primarily for vocals.
OMC: Was the process different than in the past?
TH: The big thing that was different with this record was that many of the songs didn't have stage arrangements made, so we sort built them in the studio and then learned how to actually play them as a band – usually it was always the other way around – which I enjoy more.
OMC: How would you say the band's sound has changed over the years?
TH: We have definitely have become very unconcerned with what is going on around us and are not at all influenced by rock music trends. I would say in the past that wasn't so much the case. Sonically speaking, we've expanded our use of different instruments and use of harmony vocals.
OMC: What's next for Trolley?
TH: Aside from playing shows in the Midwest we plan on doing lots of writing and recording and hopefully put out music on much more frequent basis. I doubt I will ever be in another band other than Trolley so we might as well keep on doing it as long as we can.
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.