Posts Tagged ‘Baroque Pop’

RIP: Michael Brown

Friday, March 20th, 2015

Michael Brown, 1949-2015

Your name and mine inside a heart upon a wall
Still finds a way to haunt me, though they’re so small

The Hello People: Fusion

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

HelloPeople_FusionTuneful “mime rock” from 1968

The Hello People were a late-60s sextet that performed in white face and mimed skits amid their live musical performances. Their visual imagery and theatrical skills landed the band slots on several television variety shows, but even with national exposure, their records failed to dent the charts. The group’s best known track, “Anthem,” was a pungent reaction to songwriter Sonny Tongue’s incarceration for draft-dodging, but even its socially-charged message couldn’t lift the group beyond regional success. The group’s sound incorporated several then-current trends, including baroque-pop, sunshine harmonies, country-rock, electric folk and and old-timey jazz. You can hear influences of the Left Banke, Grass Roots, Blues Project, Lovin’ Spoonful and others, and though the band was quite accomplished (especially in flautist Michael Sagarese and bassist Greg Geddes), their lack of a singular style and the novelty of their stage act seem to have relegated them to a footnote. The group continued into the mid-70s in various formations, releasing their own records and backing Todd Rundgren on Back to the Bars, but this 1968 album is the most complete expression of their original concept. Real Gone’s first-ever CD reissue includes the album’s original ten tracks and a twelve-page booklet with new liner notes by Gene Scalutti. Separated from their stage visuals, the group’s music still holds up. [©2013 Hyperbolium]

The Clientele: Minotaur

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Terrific spin on paisley, psych and sunshine pop

These leftovers from the sessions that produced 2009’s Bonfires on the Heath include several memorable mélanges. The title track brings to mind the baroque sounds of the Left Banke, the paisley patterns of the Rain Parade and the sunshine pop of Curt Boettecher. The second track, “Jerry” is even more beguiling, feinting towards progrock with its opening, but quickly giving way to vocal harmonies reminiscent of the Robbs and Three O’Clock, with drifiting piano and a melodic bass displaced by Television-like staccato guitar and an escalating rhythm whose tension is again broken by vocal pop. The EP’s lone cover, “As the World Rises and Falls” is an obscure album track from the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band’s third release. The hypnotic production and crawling psychedelia are perfect complements to Alasdair MacLean’s hushed vocal – particularly his drawn-out reading of “rises” as “rye-zizzzz.” The tone turns jauntier for “Paul Verlaine,” bouncing along like a Paul Weller reverie, and the folk-rock “Strange Town” suggests Cat Stevens and Donovan (albeit with someone tuning a vintage oscillator for a mid-song solo). There’s a moody piano solo and a lengthy spoken word piece before the EP closes on a lovely pop-soul note. All in all, a brief bite, but a tasty one. [©2010 hyperbolium dot com]

MP3 | Jerry
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