Tag Archives: Robyn Hitchcock

Beatlesque Again

What can I say? He’s done it again.

As a followup to the prior Meet The Beatlesque, my pal Angelo at Power Pop Criminals has unleashed a new two-CD mixtape of Beatley tunes called Beatlesque Again. These are not Beatle covers, but rather a collection of songs that capture the essence and spirit of the Fab Four.

The list of artists should entice any fan of the genre, from more recognizable names like Robyn Hitchcock and Julian Lennon to successful indie pop stars like Ben Kweller, The Nines and Splitsville. Those yet to discover the wonders of Magic Christian, Kenny Howes, The Singles, The Greenberry Woods and The Redwalls will be bowled over.

There’s great music being made all the time, you just have to go find it. Angelo is one of your chief warriors in this effort, so click here and be thrilled by this fifty-five track collection.

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Do It Again

It’s only appropriate to follow a Kinks reunion post with a Kinks film-related post, since the Oscars are taking place this evening. (By the way, how did I miss Alex Chilton in that list of collaborators on the album-in-progress? Holy shit!) The film Do It Again isn’t in the running this year, but with several prominent film festival appearances this Spring, who knows what will happen next year?

Boston Globe reporter and die-hard Kinks fan (are there any other kind?) Geoff Edgers took his frustration about the Kinks dormancy a step further and made a documentary film about trying to reunite the band. Obviously he didn’t succeed (at least by the time the documentary was edited) but this film is about the journey, not the result. Do It Again features his encounters with members of The Kinks as well as Sting, Zooey Deschanel, Clive Davis, Peter Buck, Paul Weller and Robyn Hitchcock, among others.

* Watch a promo video about the film.

* Read the review in Variety.

Geoff made this film on a…wait for itLow Budget. Which means that without a major studio or even Harvey Weinstein picking up dinner checks, this is coming out of his pocket. Like any artist in the era of cuts in arts funding, Geoff is taking advantage of what available means of financing remain to help defray the cost. Enter Kickstarter, a site that allows artists to set up a funding website, track pledges and offer updates and rewards to the backers. Edgers has set up a very modest goal to be able to participate in the film festivals, and as of today he is almost halfway there.

Click for the Do It Again Kickstarter site.

So far it’s a still man and a dream. But as stated yesterday, perhaps Ray and Dave will Give The People What They Want and we’ll all experience Better Things. For now, I’m helping Geoff out with a little Word Of Mouth. And if you have a few bucks, maybe consider helping Geoff out…because Money Talks.

And Ray, regarding the film and the reunion rumors…may I please use your own lyrics to plead my case? The clock is ticking…

The days go by and you wish you were a different guy,
Different friends and a new set of clothes.
You make alterations and affect a new pose,
A new house, a new car, a new job, a new nose.
But it’s superficial and it’s only skin deep,
Because the voices in your head keep shouting in your sleep.
Get back, get back.

Back where you started, here we go round again,
Back where you started, come on do it again.

Back where you started, here we go round again,
Day after day I get up and I say, do it again.
Do it again.
Day after day I get up and I say, come on do it again.

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Under The Radar: Anton Barbeau

Is it really possible to be a cult superstar?

When I say “under the radar” about Anton Barbeau, I don’t mean to slight him by insinuating that he’s unknown. The Sacramento based artist has enjoyed a long career splitting his time between the US and Europe, much to the delight of a loyal and growing audience of fans. But mainstream he’s not, so I implore you to dip your toe in the River Barbeau and check him out.

(He’s amazing, and he would never resort to a cheesy rhyme like that.)

What first knocked me out was his second album, Waterbugs and Beetles. It’s an odd phrase for an album name until you compare it to song titles like “Beautiful Bacon Dream” and “Slimy Cello Piece”. But behind that strange choice of words is a master song craftsman who is creative, versatile and anything but ordinary. Anton continues to record and release new albums, and I continue to enjoy them – but this one holds a special place for me.

Here’s my original review of Waterbugs and Beetles for Amplifier Magazine. (Note – this was a review of the original 1995 album; it was re-released in 2006 on Pink Hedgehog).

“Allyson 23” kicks off the record with a lurch–voice, guitar and drums all start together as if you dropped the needle in the middle of the record. And you might as well, because Anton’s Wild Ride will take you on a roller-coaster through his head, turning and twisting at the most unexpected moments while you know that at any given moment, anything can happen. And it does!

Anton (or “AntBar”, as he is affectionately known) will at times remind you of Robyn Hitchcock, XTC, The Loud Family and other less conventional artists because he, like them, has a vision that’s anything but “cookie cutter” music. His voice can be a sad whimper (the beautiful “Untitled But Sad”) or a tool of conviction (“I Want You Not Around”) and everything in between. Musically he uses a crack band augmented by cello, flute, percussion and sometimes even sound effects to get his point across.

Subject Matter? Nothing is sacred. AntBar’s world is a raw nerve of rejection, acceptance, happiness, fear, pain, love and thousands of other impulses that throb in his songs. That means that along with your moments of poetic imagery (“…your sand, oceanless and dry”) you’ll observe girls peeing or share fifty seconds with “Vomit Song”. But Anton tempers this diverse no-holds-barred approach with wit and a lifetime’s worth of musical influence; the result is rich and rewarding.

There are several strong tunes that simply demand to be heard. “MTV Song” (every musician’s nightmare) and the hilarious “Tad Song” (which skewers a Sacramento music writer) are certainly upbeat and punchy enough, and the Crowded House Aussie-Brit-funk of “Bible Beater” is a real treat. “A Proper Cup Of Tea”, led by ringing guitar, would delight any Paul Kelly fan. Slower, haunting tunes like “Jelly” and especially the hypnotic “Come To Me (Made Of Metal)” are pure delight.

With nineteen songs, expect to go off the tracks a few times. Anton sometimes bridges the gap with tape loops or answering machine messages as short “songs”. I would have been much happier without “Complicated Umbrella Piece” or “Long John”, thank you, and could have easily put together a ten or eleven song record without losing a beat. But it’s his muse, and a small price to pay to be able to hear the gems within.

I want to hear more from Anton, even if I have to weed through the idiosyncrasies to get to the true keepers. So what if the batting average isn’t 1.000–the extra base hits are worth the trade off. This is true adventure pop. Invest the time in AntBar’s wonderful world and be rewarded.

Order albums from Anton’s website

“The MTV Song” live in 2004

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