Mike Abbate is best known as the bass player of Screaming Females and co-founder of State Champion Records (New Jersey), but he also gets creative as a solo artist under the moniker KMES. King Mike Entertainment System is his first record as KMES and it’s a thing of beauty. That is, if you are a fan of punchy powerpop that makes up what it lacks in polish with a strong sense of melody. Not that I’d count the unpolished scrappy sound as a negative by any means. KMES reminds me of two bands I love: Laika’s Orbit and Tenement. Like both those bands, KMES sounds essentially as a punk outfit, but with a record collection that includes many other styles and genres.
KMES is very much an Abbate project. He wrote everything on the record and the bass, guitar and synth work (and singing) is all his. Jenna Fairey helped out by providing drums on all the tracks, and Marissa Paternoster and Quinn McDonald make an appearance on the excellent closer Algorithm & Blues. With songs like that one, and Ended Up Dumb, It’s Nice and Just Another Mike, it’s easy to fall for King Mike Entertainment System. Purchase the record on tape now through State Champion Records.