October 29, 2008

In the future, we’ll all have jetpacks and listen to Robert Harrison

In the mid-90s, Cotton Mather (named after an especially foxy-looking Puritan minister) made a splash with some of the most divinely-arranged power pop I’ve ever heard. For example:

My Before and After – Cotton Mather (from Kontiki)
Heaven’s Helping – Cotton Mather (from the 40 Watt Solution EP)

Yeah, it’s that good — the 1:11 mark in Heaven’s Helping is one of my absolute favorite moments in any song ever. It borders on celestially sublime; sixteen seconds of downright musical perfection.

I discovered Harrison’s work only after Cotton Mather broke up, and now their albums are often solely the purview of lucky record store cratediggers and used-on-Amazon buyers. So you can imagine how thrilled I was when Austin-based frontman Robert Harrison came back to musical life last year with a cinematic new band, Future Clouds and Radar. The sound is evolving into something a bit more psychedelic and sweeping, but that Lennonesque voice obviously remains the same.

After 2007′s self-titled double disc, Future Clouds and Radar is back with their sophomore effort, Peoria. The opening track has a rosy glow that builds and shimmers, as it sings about “an Epcot view of the stars.”

The Epcot View – Future Clouds and Radar

Peoria will be out on election day in the U.S. on their own Star Apple Kingdom label, and there are a few rare tour dates on the books.

Also, a flabbergasted thanks (!!) to one of my favorite writers/fellow music lover Nick Hornby for the Fuel/Friends mention today on the New York Times site. He must have known that I have Songbook on my nightstand right now, not even lying.


  • that’s an AWESOME nod!

    greenatty — October 29, 2008 @ 12:06 pm

  • ditto above comment. i have a big smile on right now. awesome awesome.

    c — October 29, 2008 @ 12:12 pm

  • Nick Hornby gave you props?? You have officially made it, Heather. Awesome!! :-D

    Jason Warburg — October 29, 2008 @ 3:14 pm

  • One of my favorite authors shouts out to an awesome music blog. Nice!

    Brian — October 29, 2008 @ 6:55 pm

  • Wow! Amazing plug for the blog from Nick Horby! Nick and I have similar tastes!

    Peter N — October 30, 2008 @ 4:15 am

  • wow….
    like, wow….
    no, seriously. that’s pretty big! congrats!!!

    Julio Enriquez — October 30, 2008 @ 5:03 am

  • You’re living the dream. Nick Hornby. Nick. Hornby. NICK! HORNBY! Wow… congrats.

    upto12 — October 30, 2008 @ 10:46 am

  • Nice to see Harrison get some props. I, too, kinda backed into his worked. Picked up the first Future Clouds & Radar cd after reading some favorable press, and, enjoying it immensely, managed to track down copies of the old Cotton Mather albums as well. (I threw together my favorites from both bands onto a cdr mix.) CM is more traditional power pop, which is good & bad — a few great, solid, endlessly catchy tracks per album, but also a tendency to blend together. Future Clouds is far more experimental, kinda like Apples in Stereo with a touch of Guided by Voices, a pop genius letting loose in a tricked-out home studio (which, of course, naturally leads to some self-indulgence, and the 2-cd package can easily be culled down into 40 minutes of greatness).

    Pop Kulcher — November 1, 2008 @ 10:58 am

  • Er… that should say, “backed into his WORK,” not “WORKED.” Damn those twitchy fingers!

    Pop Kulcher — November 1, 2008 @ 10:59 am

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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