Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Pillbugs (#4, 2008)

Remember what psychedelic-tinged '60s pop sounded like?
So do The Pillbugs - like a whole lot!

"Soundman" from Everybody Wants A Way Out (2008)

So, I guess I'm cheating again. Counting the Pillbugs as a top discovery of 2008, when it was really more of a re-discovery. See, five years ago, I bought Happy Birthday (2004, now OOP) on the recommendation of Black Dog Records store. I listened to it, liked it, but it never took center stage in the rotation. Just another Beatlesque band making the sound of a day-glo grin over a cartoon horizon. When I saw Everybody Wants A Way Out (2008), with it's escape-from-dystopia painted cover, it looked good. A bit more 'with it,' for a completely retro-'60s psych-pop indie band.

A Pillbugs album tends to be packed to the gills, with at least a couple of double-cd albums (the s/t debut, Buzz for Aldrin from 2007). Happy Birthday has 20 tracks, The 3-Dimensional In-Popcycle Dream (2003, with 3-D glasses) has 24. The new one pares it down to 14, with added focus. First there's a really catchy psychedelic rocker, then a totally psychedelic pop song, and then there's a very melodic bit of psychedelia, followed by a really rockin' psychedelic rave-up with a great hook... They play around with all the building blocks handed down from the post-Rubber Soul, studio-bound Beatles.

They have of course covered the Beatles, as well as the Monkees (again with Head):

Although the overall sound centers on a very specific time and place, the songs don't all sound the same or like just slightly-tweaked covers. There are various moods and combinations, and the song-writing is suprisingly consistent - between the rockin', the pop, the psychedelia, and various admixtures. You either like where this is going, or you know you won't. Album title links in this post go to a YouTube sample from that record. I still don't own the two double-cd's - the 1998 self-titled debut (1998, OOP) gets the least coverage, and is definitely the hardest to find.

Buzz for Aldrin (2007) was the acknowledged masterpiece, prior to the new one's release. So that's where I'm heading next:
To Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite!!

Extra! If that's not enough Pillbugs video for you, you can also check out this two-part documentary on the band from a couple of years back.

No comments: