A classic rock trio clearly influenced by '70s glam and arena rock (singer/songwriter Dave Richards sounds just like Marc Bolan and bits of Cheap Trick, Kiss, Todd Rundgren, Boston, and any number of other FM radio mainstays appear on their two albums) but without the nod and a wink irony of the similar Urge Overkill or Redd Kross, Philadelphia's Tin Ear is probably the most immediately accessible band to sign to Kramer's self-consciously odd Shimmy Disc label.
Richards was a former account executive for a Philadelphia TV station when he had a minor nervous breakdown and moved to his mother's farm in rural Pennsylvania to recuperate. While getting his head together in the countryside (just like Traffic had back in 1967 and Led Zeppelin had in 1971), Richards became re-acquainted with the '60s and '70s classic rock of his youth, which inspired him to pick up a guitar and start writing and recording songs. Richards recorded all of the instruments on the band's 1993 debut, The Gospel of Tin Ear, by himself, except for the drums, which were handled by Luke Astro and Matt Coogan. After the album was released, Richards formed a touring version of the band with Coogan and bassist Ramone Sender. The same trio recorded Tin Ear's more psychedelic and noisier second album, Ballad of a Tin Band, which was one of the final releases on Shimmy Disc. Nothing further was heard of the band after the label closed.