If I have written one word about Kevin K’s music over the years – I’ve written a thousand. Yet I still struggle to find the right words that do justice to his music. What I do know is that in 2012, you should all be damn thankful that Kevin is still around and creating top shelf rock ‘n’ roll that is nothing short of inspired, and shits all over anything else you’ll hear. Period. For those familiar with Kevin’s extensive back catalogue, ‘Tramp Stamp’ treads a line that is similar to his 1997 album, ‘Rule The Heart’. Recorded in St. Petersburg, Florida, ‘Tramps Stamp’ is Kevin’s 21st album and he has tapped into his past for inspiration on ‘Tramp Stamp’. This includes having his old New Toys cohort Meat Cleaver on board, who is, as ever rock solid and steadfast on bass. Much of the influence for this album came from Kevin’s revisiting his old haunts in NYC, a city which he lived in for much of his life. He sings of how NYC has changed, and of times past and friends departed. How his old haunts have become yuppified and gentrified and squeezed out everyone except the rich and well to do. You can hear those themes on tunes like “Damage Control” ’ (The city feels like a cemetery) and “City Kill” (the ghosts walk with me down the Avenue). Can I just say before I go on that Kevin’s solos on these two tunes are killer! In fact, the guitars sound amazing on this album – really out the front soundwise. His playing has never sounded better. Kevin plays all the guitars on ‘Tramp Stamp’, with his ‘64 Melody Maker giving a great, rich tone. He also gets a great sound playing his brother’s Fender Telecaster. Whilst thematically, some of the songs are darker, (and some heavier), all these tunes are still coated with his trademark penchant for melody. The darker theme to the album does not mean that he has forsaken those infectious hooks and melodic lines that he is known for. Check out ‘Dreamin Again’. Lyrically, it is reflective, but man, what a hook! Big catchy, sing along chorus! Another from the guy who has written thousands of ‘em! My personal fave of the album, (though I also dig the instantly likeable Ramones like power pop of ‘Just The Girl’). The darker gothic theme is further evidenced on ‘Love Crimes’, with a 1970 Sabbath like riff that would do Geezer proud. Significantly, Kevin also includes a version of ‘Nowhere Safe’, a tune that was written and recorded by his late brother Alan on his last demo in 1995. This is such a cool tune. Reminiscent of his work in Lone Cowboys, though I can also hear a little Lords influence here too. Great lyrics, great melodic lines, and further exampled of just how good a song writer Alan K was. Kevin even used the same keyboard on this recording that Alan did on the demo. Like all brothers, there’s a chemistry/symmetry that will always exist, and Kevin’s interpretation of ‘Nowhere Safe’ is superb. It’s always cool to hear Alan’s influence on Kevin’s work. ‘Rule the Heart’ also had some of Alan’s demos on it, so ‘Tramp Stamp’ really does sit comfortably next to that album. I would like to hear Kevin record a whole album of Alan’s tunes. A final highpoint of the album is the mafia themed ‘Wild For You’. This one cooks, and like me, you’ll be crankin’ up the car stereo and singing your heart out! And why the f–k not ? F–k whatever else you think is rock ‘n’ roll. I’m here to tell you that it’s not up to par chum. This ain’t American Idol, this ain’t punk cut outs Good Charlotte – this is KEVIN K – the #1 rock ‘n’ roller on the planet and still the BEST voice in rock n roll. Half the year gone, and THE album of 2012 has arrived in no uncertain terms. What are you waiting for? Show some respect. Go buy it now. Go to CD Baby or buy it from Kevin (email: Kevinkband@aol.com).