Thursday, October 20, 2011

Why I Ever Tried I Don't Know

It is a rare day indeed when a fresh young band releases a record that gets my attention. While visiting my local record store (the fantabulous Music Millenium in Portland, OR) I caught a few songs playing over the store PA. And this incredibly odd and wonderful feeling hit me - was I hearing a never released recording by The Nazz? Or was it a lost 60's psych band with a penchant for sounding like the Beatles circa '66. A giddy feeling took over me and I just had to know what was being played.

So I trucked over to the service desk and looked at the CD.... and see that it is Innerspeaker by Tame Impala. Who the hell was this? I asked an attentive staff member and he mentioned that they were a new band from Australia. Based on what I had heard I purchased the CD, rejoiced as I listened on my car stereo on the trip home. Upon arrival I immediately looked them up on the internet. These young men are barely out of their teens. And sure enough they hail from Perth - way over on the lost coast!

Repeated listenings have only cemented my opinion that these guys have the goods. Not only because I hear echoes of Todd Rundgren, early Pink Floyd, Revolver-era John Lennon, but because they pull together elements of sixties power pop and infuse them with a psych-trance groove in a wicked stew that is totally original in conception.

Choosing a tune to post for this blog was tough but I went with the number that first caught my attention in the store - Desire Be Desire Go. The initial guitar riff is spell-binding with its circular motion. When the middle section comes in with "Everyday..." I swear I hear Mr. McCartney. Goodness - the guitar sound with layers of feedback is just so delicious.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tell me what you're after

Michael Brown is a pianist/songwriter who wrote two amazing hits for his first band the Left Banke - Pretty Ballerina and Walk Away Renee. And in fact just about everything he wrote for that band is top notch. His father was a violinist and Michael often added string arrangements to his songs, lending the "baroque pop" moniker to the Left Banke.

Several years after leaving the band his father introduced him to Ian Lloyd, a singer who was the son of a colleague. They formed a band known as The Stories and released two albums of classical-tinged rock. Michael left the band just as their record company foisted upon them what would become their only radio hit, the despicable Brother Louie. The band soldiered on for one more LP without Mr. Brown, but without his keyboard magic they faded into oblivion.

Those first two albums have a high percentage of listenable Beatlesque pop-rock and some killer string arrangements. Here is Please Please from their second LP About Us. That heavily reverbed piano opening is just so lovely.