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.

December 19, 2006

Former Cotton Mather frontman Robert Harrison’s new gig: Future Clouds & Radar

Austin-based power pop band Cotton Mather made a splash on the scene during the ’90s with their album Kontiki, which has some truly lovely tracks on it – infectiously good ’60s flavored pop with sublime harmonies that hit that perfect spot in my soul. Per esempio:

Spin My Wheels – Cotton Mather

My Before And After – Cotton Mather

Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about. Good stuff. The band was named after an especially foxy-looking 17th century Puritan minister, which makes them dang hard to Google, but NME once called them “almost the most exciting new guitar pop band since Supergrass,” and after releasing three albums they disbanded in 2003.

Now former Cotton Mather frontman Robert Harrison is back with his new band Future Clouds & Radar, who will release a self-titled double album of “polychromatic psychedelic art-pop” on the Star Apple Kingdom label (March 6). While similarly pleasing, this new stuff is completely unlike his days with Cotton Mather (who sound more like The Beatles/Knack/Oasis).

Listen to two other new tunes from Future Clouds & Radar on their MySpace, I especially like “Egyptian Cravat.” Oh, and this one here has ukulele, and is fantastic.

Drugstore Bust – Future Clouds & Radar

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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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