Greg Roberson of Tiger High (among others…) is back with The Trashed Romeos, paying tribute to the late Jim Dickinson and sending a love letter to hometown Memphis on Where Dreamers Never Go. Joined by Jake and Toby Vest, Rick Steff (Lucero, Cat Power) and Adam Hill (Big Star, Alex Chilton), The Trashed Romeos deliver a set of tight nuggets that ‘focus attention on some of his hometown heroes and the obscure psychedelic garage rock 45’s they released in the mid 60’s.’
I Sit and Cry :: The Trashed Romeos :: Where Dreamers Never Go (2012, Trashy Creatures Records)
Not only a gem of an artifact, but a gem of a record on its own. Power pop, straight up and pure. The Beatles’ references and influences are obvious, but who else are you going to touch down on when you start making pure pop of your own in ’72? Well, a lot actually…and The Late Show did. Sweetly. It’s classic stuff, chock full of hooks and melodies, buoyant vocals and delivered with enough effervescent energy to keep you up for the show. Originally out in ’80, and long since out of print, it’s not so much a missing link as another bridge between what was and what was coming.
Take A Chance :: The Late Show :: Portable Pop (2012, Trashy Creatures Records)
…Produced by Trashy Creatures’ Greg Roberson (Tiger High, Reigning Sound, Arthur Lee’s Love), the reissue will be available on both CD and cassette, featuring the original twelve-song LP plus four previously unreleased studio bonus tracks recorded just prior to Portable Pop. The cassette reissue contains the original twelve-song LP plus an entire ten-song live concert from 1980 as bonus tracks.
Portable Pop, originally released in 1980 on Rave Records, was the only official release by The Late Show, and was only available at the time on vinyl. Portable Pop has a classic power pop sound but is also heavily influenced by sunny 60′s pop melodies. The record has been out of print since the early 80′s…
This summer, The Late Show will be featured in a new book called Power Pop 360, and the song “Take a Chance” will be featured on the CD Compilation that will accompany the book. The book covers 360 of the most essential power pop records in history.
Anton Barbeau is back, already, this time teaming with Andy Metcalfe and Morris Windsor (Soft Boys, Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians) under the moniker Three Minute Tease (multiple puns surely intended). Squirreling themselves away in ‘the wilds of Cambridgeshire…and in bedrooms nearby,’ their debut Three Minute Tease is 10 cuts of pop, spanning some psych, balladeering and their ‘mini spacerock epic,’These Alien Angels. Love is Onion kicks it off in usual Barbeau-esque shimmering psych-pop style with some added pyrotechnics from Nick Saloman. Milko II takes a misunderstood lyric and nurses it into a sad pop song nugget with plaintive yearnings to the Beatles, Jan & Dean and the elusive Milko. Who else but Barbeau could lace a lyric snippet like ‘…moody Ringo’ with such heft, and pull it off? Part of me hopes I’m misunderstanding that one like Barbeau himself…Thanks for Lifting My Leg picks up the pace for a thumping burst before they slow it down a bit on Dust Beneath My Wings. My Potato is pure pop with ‘squishy synths’ condiments on the side. These Alien Angels brings some languid spacier calm, still chock full of Three Minute Tease’s pop savvy. As they said themselves, ‘there are more songs, more sounds, but you can hear it for yourself, probably.’ If your familiar with Barbeau and Co., then you probably know what you’re going to hear; classy, witty, sharp pop songs that give you a sugary rush, but also have much more to say under the shiny surface than most. Barbeau’s trademark eccentric playfulness abounds, and as usual never dissolves into silliness (‘Don’t let Anton get too weird.’). Three Minute Tease is tight, heartfelt pop built by cats who not only live and breathe it, but can take it apart and put it back together blindfolded with ear plugs. Probably in under 3 minutes.
Thanks for Lifting My Leg :: Three Minute Tease :: Three Minute Tease (2012, Idiot Records)
Seven Long Years unleash some groovy psych pop on Chained to Your Love, conjuring up outfits like Yardbirds on through to Roky, among others. Fuzzy, bouncing and packed full of hooks, Chained to Your Love churns out nuggets one after another, whether it’s the horn pumped stand out call to arms Take Over the World, thefrenziedbeatnik beached Dance Around the Fire or the smooth hum of Stop What You’re Doin’. Las Vegas Jesus gets a little personal with its chug, but leaves the real soul to closer A Very Easy Explanation, where the horns and keys get to workagain. It’s eccentric enough, vocal stylings included, to leap-frog over gimmicky rehash that has no personality making Chained to Your Love a tight record that doesn’t skimp on the hooks.
Stop What You’re Doin’ :: Seven Long Years :: Chained to Your Love (2012, Seven Long Years)
If you can get your head around just the name The Sunflower Army, then your halfway there, or already got a few flowers stuck in your rifle. Icarus Peel pours out the sun and sunshine with the flowering and the bursting, and is essentially an army of one by all appearances, soldier and captain. Peel covers that and more with a weave of psych, folk, pop, rock, some pastoral prog seedlings and his own eccentricities…all woven by hands firmly in control and on the wheel, and somewhere between the ditches. The jubilant loose vibe throughout may get the most attention, but the focus highlights and champions Peel’s songwriting savvy and craftsmanship.
The Sunflower Army moves effortlessly from one cut to the next without any hesitation. Opener Pluggin’ In starts with a full head of steam before being surrounded by The Sunflower Army. Pebble in a Pool pops and bubbles like you think it would into the gorgeous Why — Fleeting Joys, odd false start included. Of course. The rest of Army marches without trampling the grass, sliding from points where the air is a bit thinner to earthy folk and prog workouts, coming full bloom on the epic Moon Madness. Points between and on unfold and flow without ever crowding. Peel’s vocals tie it all together and move it forward with a wry honeyed quiver that is inextricable from the music; made clear on the brief, but velvety lush Prism on the Bend, a respite as relaxing as it is buoyant.
Every one pulls their weight in The Sunflower Army. It’s all threaded so assuredly and naturally nothing seems out-of-place. While the tunes spill out of the cornucopia with variety and eccentricities popping off everywhere, it’s easy to overlook it’s all put in its place and farmed by said one man army. If brothers in arms like Bevis Frond, Anton Barbeau, Martin Newell, … are your cup of tea, then grab a fistful more of flowers to shove down them smoking rifles and sign up for The Sunflower Army.
Prism on the Bend :: Icarus Peel :: The Sunflower Army (2011, Trumpton Records)
This is what ‘pop’ music should be: honeyed, thick, creamy and packing stones. Everyone who should know, knows pop disintegrated into empty calorie pabulum a long, long time ago and I for one need nourishment from my food. Butterfly Revolutions Vol. 1, the new outing from Chicago’s The Luck of Eden Hall proves that you can not only have your cake (with lots of frosting) and eat it too, but that you can get more than a cheap sugar rush out of it to keep going. I’m a firm believer that cream doesn’t rise to the top; shit floats. I’m happy to say that LOEH prove me wrong. Relentlessly filled to the brim with top-shelf psych-pop nuggets calling to mind a myriad of touchstones from The Beatles through to The Bevis Frond, LOEH have such a firm grasp on their ingredients that Butterfly is never half-baked, in approach or execution. Nobody really wants low-fat dessert; that never satisfies. So, LOEH keep the the fuzz on the peach with melodies that flow like syrup; it may just crystal more than it rocks if that makes sense. In my book, crystals are worth more.
Opener Chrysalide sets the bar high. Relentlessly ornate and paisley, it sets Butterfly firmly on track with the mission clear, and in their hands, fully reachable. Velvet and Corduroy follows suit, a mission statement if there ever was one; a mission of molasses that never stagnates into stale treading water retro treacle. LOEH’s buttery psych is churned with enough of the old and new to give a full-bodied taste that should appeal to traditionalists as well as those who want some more modern leanings (All Her Seasick Parties) in the mix. Mellowed out Jupiter and Pretty Little Things hit a touching sentimentality without getting maudlin; LOEH aren’t applying the frosting so thick it’s impenetrable, or so over done it’s nauseating in the richness of it all.
Butterfly Revolutions almost screams (if butterflies scream…I think they do…) for a Thesaurus…shimmering, sun-drenched, multi-colored…the title about says it all, contrasting something as elusive and fluttering as a butterfly with a word that hints at power as well at what you should do with this record; put it through some revolutions. LOEH have cooked up a lip-smacking layered sonic cake, and it’s clear there was some drinking in the kitchen again…pop the cap off your lava lamp and take a swig.
It tastes good, and it’s good for you.
Velvet and Corduroy :: The Luck of Eden Hall :: Butterfly Revolutions, Vol. 1 (2011, LOEH)
Consummate popster, eccentric and craftsman Anton Barbeau is back with Empire of Potential: 18 Golden and Completely Obscure Hits. 18 cuts spanning 18 years from Barbeau’s 13 platter catalog make up Empire with appearances from long-time collaborator Scott Miller, Andy Metcalfe, members of Cake, Morris Windsor, and Robbie McIntosh among others.
I started scratching deeper after last year’s fantastic Psychedelic Mynde of Moses (represented here with Fuzzchild), and Empire makes at least one thing very clear: got to keep scratching. Drawing from the same well as luminaries from The Beatles to XTC to Syd to The Bevis Frond (co-piloting on Empire with Octagon), Barbeau is in many ways a traditionalist. Just as the names dropped above pushed their take on tradition making it their own, so does Barbeau. There’s no mistaking Barbeau and his savvy and skewed irresistible take on life on Earth. Kicking off with the admitted Pretenders’ rip-off Losing You Makes Crucifixion Easy, updated here with Robbie McIntosh, Empire covers as much ground as Barbeau himself. Comfortable and confident across many sounds and approaches, Barbeau offers up nuggets spanning his tenure, some retooled for the modern age; teen Barbeau raises his precocious head with a freshly minted take on Pilot Plane Passenger. The Banana Song gets updated here with Metcalfe and Windsor, who make up Barbeau’s new band, Three Minute Tease.
Offbeat, left-field, oddball, outsider…buy a Thesaurus…One thing Barbeau is most definitely is on target. Poke around and you’ll invariably come across the words genius, unique, gifted, brilliant…if that’s where you like your arrows shot from, then you can’t go wrong.
The Banana Song :: Anton Barbeau :: Empire of Potential: 18 Golden and Completely Obscure Hits (2011, Idiot Records)
Daisy Love ≈ The Red Plastic Buddha ≈ All Out Revolution ≈ Space Cat Records ≈ 2011
Hold On For Tomorrow ≈ The Grip Weeds ≈ Strange Change Machine ≈ Rainbow Quartz ≈ 2010
I’m Only Bleeding ≈ The Sails ≈ Headful of Stars ≈ Rainbow Quartz ≈ 2010
Disaster ≈ Frisbie ≈ The Subversive Sounds of Love ≈ Hear Diagonally ≈ 2000
Walking Out On Love ≈ Paul Chastain & Ric Menck ≈ Hey Wimpus: The Early Recordings of Paul Chastain & Ric Menck ≈ Action Musik ≈ 1998
This City Is a Catalyst ≈ Cordalene ≈ The Star Ledger ≈ Dalloway Records ≈ 2006
Flying ≈ Matthew Sweet ≈ Sunshine Lies ≈ Shout! Factory ≈ 2008
Fuzzchild ≈ Anton Barbeau ≈ The Psychedelic Mynde of Moses ≈ Idiot Records ≈ 2010
Ladder to the Moon ≈ Wellwater Conspiracy ≈ Brotherhood of Electric: Operational Directives ≈ Time Bomb Recordings ≈ 1999
Too Much to Dream (Last Night) ≈ The Red Plastic Buddha ≈ All Out Revolution ≈ Space Cat Records ≈ 2011
Unamerican Girls ≈ Outrageous Cherry ≈ Seemingly Solid Reality ≈ Alive Natural Sounds ≈ 2010
Everyone is an Alien ≈ David Max ≈ Simple Psychedelic Pleasures ≈ MInd Expansion Records ≈ 2009
Only What You Can Make It ≈ Stray ≈ Stray ≈ Castle Music Ltd. ≈ 1970
Starship ≈ MC5 ≈ Kick Out the Jams ≈ Elektra ≈ 1969 Read more of this post
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The Sunrise Ocean Bender sets sail every Monday morning, 1 – 3 a.m. on WRIR lp 97.3 FM, to find something for your ears, and something for your head … From psych to prog to pop and whatever tributary we can find on the way … and right back around again. There might be a map, but the destination is up for grabs. If it all goes right, we may just get lost. Meet me at the muster station … it might be a long week.