Tuesday, March 13, 2012
-valis Pick of the Week
Hail once again voyagers!
Our pick, this week, hails from Berlin by way of Cambridge, England, and Sacramento, California....Anton Barbeau's Three Minute Tease! Long-time readers of the blog know full well our admiration for the psychedelic stylings of Mr. Barbeau, and in this new 3-piece cast he's backed by the twin powerhouses of Andy Metcalfe and Morris Windsor, ex-Soft Boys (!) and Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians. (Not bad Anton!)
Their self-titled release is due April 23rd, 2012, on Idiot Records and packs a psych-pop wallop of off-kilter melody and lyrics to match. Aided by the assist of The Bevis Frond's Nick Saloman on opener "Love Is Onion," the album flows naturally from strength to strength.
As their website says:
" The inexhaustible Californian psychedelic cult hero has been a lifelong fan of Metcalfe and Windsor for their work with Robyn Hitchcock in the Soft Boys and Egyptians, and first met them in 1988 at the Fillmore in San Francisco at an Egyptians gig, giving them each a copy of his tape Back to Balmain. Decades later, after several chance meetings in the UK, Barbeau approached each of them separately. “The idea of the band really took shape in Berlin in May 2010 when Morris and I met to record, “ says Barbeau, “but I’d asked them each at different times, and both seemed keen.”
Barbeau began writing songs specifically for TMT in June 2010, soon after the group's debut gig at the Wheatsheaf pub in Oxford. Knowing he’d be working with Metcalfe and Windsor both in the studio and live focused Barbeau’s songwriting. “The songs I wrote just naturally took on a sharper tone. I was writing for an actual band, and knowing so well the sound Andy and Morris made together made it easy. ‘Thanks for Lifting My Leg’, for example, had a rocking drive that was inspired by the Wheatsheaf gig.”
Most of the songs were written specifically for Three Minute Tease, but Barbeau also dug out some older tunes that never fit on any of his solo albums. The mournful “Milko”, poignant and poppy “Dig My Bones” and power ballad “Up on the Moon” had been waiting for the right home, and they seemed to make sense on what Andy has come to call ‘an album of contrasts', he says.
The final product, much of it recorded at Kimberley Rew’s Remote Farm studio in Cambridgeshire, sounds slightly more pared down compared to Barbeau’s recent work, partly due to Metcalfe’s influence as co-producer.
“Andy has a very methodical approach to recording. He said, ‘Let’s pick 10 songs,’ and he had a clear idea of how they fit together and suited the strengths of the band,” says Barbeau. "In contrast, Morris was very encouraging of my try-anything approach, which can be haphazard. While Andy helped keep my chaos in check, Morris appreciated my constant tweaking, layering and experiments. And he was happy to have me mess around with his drum sounds."
“I've had many bands, but this the most a part of something I've ever felt,” says Barbeau. “The fact that it's with Andy and Morris is amazing for me. I'm proud of how the album reflects the intense effort and enthusiasm we all shared from the start, shaping the unique sound you hear now.”
Hail Anton! And Andy & Morris, too!
You can listen to the archived stream here; or, hear it this Friday, on The Dead Man's Turn Me On, Dead Man show on Live365, where it's heard every Friday at noon eastern time, as well as Mr. Atavist's Sunrise Ocean Bender show, heard every Friday from 3 to 6am eastern, on WRIR in Richmond, VA.