"For many years, Tommy Marolda has been a versatile member of the American music industry: a multi-instrumentalist, producer, engineer, composer, Grammy-nominated songwriter...the list goes on. But record nerds like me know Tommy because of a single weekend in 1979. He was scheduled to record demos with the Smithereens in his New Jersey home studio, but their last-minute cancelation gave Tommy a small window to record something of his own. After three days of hitting the record button and dashing back to his instruments, Tommy had more than 30 slabs of pop perfection on tape, 12 of which became his seminal power pop LP 'The Toms'. Other tracks from that weekend session have trickled out via reissues of 'The Toms' over the years, but little did anyone know Tommy recorded enough material to fill up three long players! Presented here are the last of the 1979 Toms sessions. Savor them like the rare commodities that they are."
-Scott Carlson, Tomologist
Our take: The Toms are well known among power-pop cognoscenti for their 1979 self-titled album, recorded in a single weekend by Tommy Marolda. The story goes that the Smithereens had booked studio time with Marolda but canceled last-minute, and he used that time to record these tracks with himself playing all the instruments. It’s amazing enough that Marolda recorded an entire album in one weekend, but it turns out he recorded much more than that and 1979 Sessions compiles that additional material. When I listen to the Toms, I can’t help but think of Big Star; like Big Star, the Toms sound like Paul McCartney’s songwriting sensibility filtered through the aesthetic of 70s album-oriented rock. While a track like “Love at First Sight” can lean more toward the Wings / ELO end of that spectrum, “Call the Surgeon, Pt. 2” and “Til the End of the Day” (not a Kinks cover BTW) are perfect Beatlesque pop confections. Fans of Big Star should check this out, but this will be right in your wheelhouse if you like that fuzzy space where new wave, power-pop, and the early 80s Paisley Underground scene meet.