It’s OK to get excited about local music. Really, it is. Especially when the music comes from a band like Sidecar Radio. Their latest CD, “Dreadnought Cosmonaut,” has been playing in my car on repeat for weeks. The six-song EP is full of catchy grooves that stick in your head for days, and you’ll love every second of it.

This trio of talented musicians are best experienced live. Christian Hayes (vocals), Jason Stewart (drums) and Corey Tibbetts (bass) rock out the stage like they’ve been doing it for decades. The energy and music grab hold of you, regardless of how familiar you are with their growing catalog. Catchy and seamless, most of their music could easily become part of an endless jam session that never gets tiresome. Add to that Hayes’ gritty, unique vocals and you’ve got music the way it should be: infectious and fun.

The grooves of “Hospital on Fire” are upbeat, but at the same time sort of weighty; it’s the kind of song that begs you to close your eyes and really feel the music. I have to confess to playing that one on repeat. OK, I confess, since I saw them live, the whole CD is on repeat.

Reflecting a departure from how they have written songs in the past, “Dreadnought Cosmonaut” was approached one song at a time. This gave the guys more control over their sound and ensured they were all happy with the end result. Lyrical inspiration, said Hayes, came from the loss of his father in 2003.

“All we do is write. We don’t stop,” said Hayes. “When the time for recording comes, we’re going to have an abundance of stuff to pick from.”

“We were in here writing new stuff the week the CD was released,” said Stewart.

Some of the tracks came together quickly and others were labor intensive, with the guys spending hours rewriting until things finally clicked. “That whole song “Funeral for Major Key” was a big pain trying to write,” said Tibbetts. “The song just wouldn’t come together.”

“We don’t give up on something that we know we want to finish,” said Hayes. “That one, though, was just brutal.”

The songs that seem to almost instantly happen, like “Jaundice,” don’t come along often, Hayes added.

“The songs we’ve written that just sort of seem to come together on the spot, those are my favorite,” said Tibbetts.

Here’s a tip: If you ever find yourself talking about national acts with these guys, don’t label any of those bands sell-outs. When a band breaks through and makes it big, it’s something that should be admired.

“These guys have to make a living,” said Hayes. “What were the last dozen years of grinding it out, missing families, birthdays, being out on the road making no money, about? Of course you want to be in a big arena.”

There is a happy medium between the business side of music — getting songs recorded, publicity and, to some degree, the stage show — and the music itself, said Tibbetts. That balance, or lack of it, can come across to fans.

“You don’t ever want to get too caught up in the business aspect,” said Tibbetts. “Then you start worrying about your image and how you look on stage, rather than if there is anything behind it, any kind of joy in playing rock and roll.”

While they wouldn’t walk away from a major record deal, the guys agree that just being able to make what they do in their day jobs and pursue music in their off time is their goal.

“Being a rock star — I’m sure it’s fun, but I don’t care,” said Stewart.

He noted that the odds are better for winning the lottery than making it big in the music business. So why keep at it?

They say they love it, and music has always been and will always be the best outlet for them. Hayes said he wouldn’t discourage up-and-coming musicians from pursuing their dreams, but would stress how hard it is, and the reality of facing those incredibly slim odds. As kids, music was the outlet each of their creative personalities needed, and they encourage aspiring musicians to dive in and get creative.

“I remember watching VHS tapes of guitar players and trying to figure out that chord. And then hearing the sounds that you wanted to make come out of that thing (guitar). It’s just incredible,” said Hayes.

“For me it was always what I did,” said Tibbetts. “I started playing bass at 12 and just fell in love with it at an early age. It’s what kept me out of trouble in high school. Music is good.”

Hayes and Stewart say watching other musicians and being blown away by their talent is what fueled the aspirations they had as kids, well before they were the ones on stage.

“When you’re on stage and you’re sharing this with people it’s unreal, it’s the ultimate high,” said Hayes. “And to be doing it with these guys, that fuels the fire, too.”

The staff at the Bull Moose store in Lewiston looked back at 2009 and identified their favorite CDs for the year. Here are their picks:

Alicia: Neko Case “Middle Cyclone”

Nicole: Bill Callahan “Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle”

Alex: Lady Gaga “The Fame Monster”

Tia: The Decemberists “The Hazards Of Love”

Christina: fun. “Aim & Ignite”

Upcoming shows

What: New Year’s Eve Big Bash with Sidecar Radio and Station Eighty-Five and Sandbag
When: Thursday, Dec. 31, 9 p.m.
Where: The Big Easy, Portland
Tickets: $10 at all Bullmoose Music Stores

What: Sidecar Radio
When: Saturday, Jan. 16, 9 p.m.
Where: Mcgann’s Pub, Boston


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