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The Tom McGees debut CD is even better than expected

Related: The Tom McGees throw a benefit -- for themselves

 CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- If awesome band names and playing high-energy ska were Olympic events, The Tom McGees would bring home the gold. Then, though, the Charleston-based eight-piece "punk party" band would likely have their medals stripped after pictures of them partying with Michael Phelps surfaced online.

Comprised of members of Charleston pop punk band The Concept and Orlando (via Charleston) ska band 69 Fingers, the McGees unleash their superbly produced punk/ska debut, "This Just In," in a CD release party at 10 p.m. Saturday at The Empty Glass.

They'll be joined by their friends Dinosaur Burps, Time and Distance, Foz Rotten (it's his birthday) and InFormation. Cover is $5.

"This Just In" is nine songs, eight guys and driving pop punk (like "The Choice" and "FCJ") flaked with choppy reggae riffs, punchy bass, great vocal harmonies and alternately swooning and stabbing sax and trumpet parts. With it, the McGees have ably captured the energy, spirit and fun of punk and ska.

Singer-guitarist Mike Withrow's lyrics deal mainly with what's most important for guys in their early 20s: partying and desperately dealing with chicks. This only makes the songs more appealing and endearing.

Withrow, an engineer, together with producer Greg Hunt, has captured a sound as big as the McGees' eight-man lineup. "This Just In" was hotly anticipated by area punk fans, and it's even better than expected.

See Withrow, Adam Dittebrand and Ross Anderson discuss the album's writing, recording and more here.


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