Friday, May 28, 2010

The United States of America - The United States of America (1968)

A psych rock album with no guitar? Upon first listen I didn't believe this record was made in '68; outside of the production quality there's really nothing that ties it to the decade (except the spirit of the times, maybe). With its arty pretension, courtesy of Joseph Byrd's musical expertise and virtuosity (by 1967 he already had a vast knowledge of both electronic instruments and musique concrète) and singer Dorothy Moskowitz's icy cold vocal delivery, it literally sounds like it belongs in the early oeuvre of Stereolab.

So how'd they get away with creating a rock record with no guitar? Easy- heavy use of the violin (courtesy Gordon Marron), sublime bass lines from Rand Forbes and Byrd's work with the organ, calliope and electric harpsichord. Throw in Craig Woodson's electronic drums and here's an excellent psychedelic-meets-art pop/rock record that for some reason has been lost to the sands of time.

This is the 2004 version from Sundazed; re-mastered and with bonus tracks...


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