Pop That Goes Crunch!

Seven Decades Of Melodic Rock & Roll

Archive for the tag “Emitt Rhodes”

A Perfect Pop Gem

A mantra of mine lately has been “if it jangles, I’ll listen to it.”  I never thought of myself as a “jangle pop” person back in the 80’s when “jangle pop” became a genre, but I always had a soft spot for the more melodic parts of the left side of the dial. The Replacements’ “I Will Dare” beat their “Dose Of Thunder” hands down. I could listen to Husker Du’s “I Apologize” and “Hate Paper Doll” any day of the week.

The Red Button takes a decidedly mellower approach to the same melodic formula. Their first album, “She’s About To Cross My Mind,” put 1965 and 1966 into an update machine to craft the perfect pop record that stays in your mind for days, weeks and months at a time.  The word “girl” figured prominently. The ninth song on “Rubber Soul” is, of course, “Girl.” I put their “Free” on a playlist right after The Beatles’ “Rain.” Two more perfect companions might never be found.

Their new record, “As Far As Yesterday Goes” might be even better. Its reach certainly is greater.

Redbutton

Flourishes of Burt Bacharach’s sophisticated 60s pop come in an out. The title song could have been on The Zombies’ “Odyssey and Oracle.” “Easier” does Emitt Rhodes better than Emitt Rhodes does Emitt Rhodes. And, keeping with tradition, there is “Girl, Don’t,” a perfect power pop gem. Jangles can be heard throughout. They also can get breezy with “On A Summer Day”:

<p>On A Summer Day – The Red Button from Seth Swirsky on Vimeo.</p>

“As Far As Yesterday Goes” is my favorite collection of 2011. It’s smart and catchy. It wears its influences without being nostalgic or derivative. It’s sophisticated without being bland. It has an edge without being trendy or falling into alternative rock cliches. And, just like in 1966, its less then 40 minutes long. Brevity is a virtue.

Go get it.

 

A Happy Way To Spend The Fourth Of July

This one was pulled right out of the time machine. The Merry-Go-Round were a great band out of Hawthorne, California. Their “big” hit, “Live” made it to No. 63 on the national charts, and was covered by the Bangles in the early-80s. It’s playing at the beginning of the clip below of their day on The Dating Game in 1967.

The definitive collection from their brief existence is called, naturally, “The Definitive Collection” and is worth checking out. Writing in the All Music Guide, Tim Sendra noted:

The Merry-Go-Round is a breathtaking blend of chiming folk-rock guitars, British Invasion harmony vocals, baroque pop arrangements, and pure pop songcraft that sounds daisy fresh in 2005. The Beatles are a huge influence, there is plenty of Paul McCartney in [Emitt] Rhodes’ sweet vocals and their vocal harmonies. You can hear the Byrds a bit, some Left Banke (especially on the sweeping orchestral pop gem ‘You’re a Very Lovely Woman’), some L.A. garage on rockers like ‘Where Have You Been All My Life’ and ‘Lowdown’; the group definitely didn’t exist in a vacuum.

Rhodes recently released his first recorded material in 35 years.

But, back to the time machine:

After reminding viewers that The Dating Game is “in color,” Johnny The Announcer says “we couldn’t think of a happier way to spend the Fourth of July than with the Merry-Go-Round.” Rhodes is Bachelor No. 2 who, according toJim Lange, projected a “warmth” that made him a teen idol. Bachelor No. 1, the bass player, perhaps took the Sgt. Peppers thing a wee bit too seriously.

The kitsch value of this is spectacular:

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