Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|United States of America|
United States of America
Genres: Alternative Rock, Special Interest, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
1997 reissue on Demon, the band's 1968 debut album remastered, repackaged & reissued. An absolute must for anyone interested in electronic music and the craziness of the psychedelic '60s. 10 tracks, including 'The American... more »
1997 reissue on Demon, the band's 1968 debut album remastered, repackaged & reissued. An absolute must for anyone interested in electronic music and the craziness of the psychedelic '60s. 10 tracks, including 'The American Metaphysical Circus' and 'Hard Coming Love'.
The Holy Grail Of Psychedelia
Josh H. | Toledo, Oh (USA) | 05/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Turn out the lights, turn up the volume and relax. You're in for one hell of a ride. Your mind will be taken to places it's never been before. Places that are dark, mysterious, terrifying and beautiful. Welcome to The United States Of America.This album is, no questions asked, the single greatest psychedelic album ever created, straight from the warped minds of five visionary intellectuals. And I do mean 'visionary'. This album was so creative and ahead of it's time, which is probably why it didn't catch on. It was the first rock album to prominently feature synth as a lead instrument. On some spots, the electronic effects are so mind-blowing they practically make you dizzy. We can thank Joseph Byrd for this. And we can thank Dorothy Moskowitz for the most lovely, ethereal, haunting vocals ever captured on a rock album. Gordon Marron provides us with brain-rattling electric violin, and the rhythm section of Rand Forbes and Craig Woodson is awesome. It's a shame that some musicians never get the respect they deserve. You don't need drugs to enjoy it. This album IS the drug. Just listening to it makes you high. THE AMERICAN METAPHYSICAL CIRCUS: Psychedelia at it's absolute best. Begins with actual circus music and makes you feel like you're listening to a Broadway show or something. That is, until it changes tempo and turns into a dark, twisted psychedelic song with absolutely chilling vocals from Dorothy, who also distorts her voice with the ring modulator to an incredible effect. Also a very melodic bass line and eerie swirls of electronic sounds. It's like something right out of a nightmare. If I were hard pressed to sum up the essence of psychedelia in one song - this would be it.HARD COMING LOVE: This song intoxicates you right off the bat with a blistering, ear-piercing psychotic blast of electric violin. It screeches and screams so excellently that I really can't even describe it. Note the way that Marron makes his violin sound exactly like a guitar. Classic. But after the intro, it slows down and Dorothy enters with some very seductive vocals. This song features the most mind-blowing use of electronic effects on the whole album, particularly right before the final verse. CLOUD SONG: Bliss. Divinity. Joy. Comfort. Peace of mind. This is the most beautiful ballad ever written. Marron's lovely violin notes, the gentle piano and, above all, Dorothy's Heavenly vocals. God, it's amazing. She sings like an angel, and I swear it can lull you right to sleep. If you ever want to experience Heaven on earth, just listen to this song in the dark.THE GARDEN OF EARTHLY DELIGHTS: Back to a**-kicking psychedelic rocking! This one is incredible. The title, of course, is taken from the famous painting by Hieronymous Bosch (which was also used on the cover of Deep Purple's self-titled third album). This is a genuinely far-out song. Excellent bass playing and more hypnotizing vocals from Dorothy. The verses build up to breath-taking choruses. Amazing lyrics too.I WON'T LEAVE MY WOODEN WIFE FOR YOU, SUGAR: What a title! These guys show us that they had a sense of humor too. Basically a satire on the concept of sex and adultery. Ever heard a country song with tripped-out sound effects? Look no further.WHERE IS YESTERDAY: Another defining moment in psychedelia. Now this one can really put you in a trance. The Latin chanting at the beginning may throw you off, but keep listening. This song is so dreary and somber that it practically sounds like a funeral lament. And check out the way Dorothy sings one step behind Byrd, which results in a fascinating effect. COMING DOWN: Another stunning violin intro, this time done like a hoe-down. Awesome psychedelic rocker, and the title is pretty self-explanatory.LOVE SONG FOR THE DEAD CHE: Written for Che Guevera, the Cuban freedom fighter. Doroth gives another celestial vocal performance here. And more beautiful violin work and fantastic lyrics.STRANDED IN TIME: Perhaps the most unusual number on this album, which says a lot. It incorporates a large amount of classical, as shown by the violin parts. But the middle part absolutely ROCKS. It goes from classical avant-garde weirdness to all-out rocking fury in just a matter of seconds.THE AMERICAN WAY OF LOVE: A multi-part suite of acid-drenched delights, this is the perfect album closer. The first part is a cool, grooving rocker with tricky time changes and oddball lyrics. The second part is a hilarious parody of 'rag time' music, I guess. But the final part is the real treat - the greatest simulation of an acid trip ever caught on record. Little excerpts of all the previous songs keep popping up, amongst numerous crazy sounds. This is really something that you must experience for yourself - I can't explain it. But it's incredible. And enormously creative. Pink Floyd - eat your heart out."
Close Encounter of the Synth Kind
Josh H. | 02/24/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It was a warm summer night in Rustic Canyon Park, Santa Monica, CA. around 1969. I was 15 years old and had just started smoking grass. I had just lit up in a secluded area of the park near a fence that bordered someone's back yard. I took a drag and heard this sound like a flying saucer landing right behind me! It scared me silly! Was I going nuts? Was the grass that strong?I peeped through the fence and saw a wall of flashing red lights like the mothership in "Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind" ! (But this was many years before that movie was filmed.) Omigod! I thought the Martians had landed! Then I heard a voice! "Smells good can I have a toke?"
Turns out the voice (and the house) belonged to Joseph Byrd! And the flashing red lights and space noises were coming from his wall of synthesizers! (This was back in the day when synths were huge sci-fi devices with patch cords running everywhere.) Joseph Byrd was so nice, he invited me over and let me play with them! Thus began a wonderful friendship with a generous and great man. He taught me much about music and encouraged me to start my first band. Joe Byrd was a master of electronic music, but he also loved old instruments like this pedal harmonium that he ended up making a gift to me."United States of America" and "Joe Byrd and the Field Hippies" are two great lps, decades ahead of their time. If you can find them, get them both. Last I heard Joe Byrd was giving "rehabilitation therapy" accordion concerts to old folks homes in Northern California.
Sure would be nice to have a U.S. of A. reunion someday soon!"
Easily Redefines "Alternative"
dev1 | Baltimore | 05/11/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After searching for some thirty-three years (God, am I that old !), I finally found it: the most bewitching freaked-out psychedelic album of the sixties. The United States of America. And the United States of America's view of the United States is quite perverted. Not as perverted as the Vietnam War or the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, but still on par with that of the Velvet Underground. "The American Metaphysical Circus" is a carnival of unsavory sadomasochist delights, and "I Won't Leave My Wooden Wife For You, Sugar" could easily be mistaken for a good-time jug band tune if it wasn't for the masochist references. Add the list of perversions described in "The American Way of Love," and no one could possibly mistake the United States of America for, say, the Jefferson Airplane.Most interesting about the album is the eclectic mix of heavy-handed guitar freak-outs (The Garden of Earthly Delights, Coming Down) with compositions featuring Dorothy Moskowitz's unearthly voice floating on a soft and gentle cloud of azure (Cloud Song, Love Song For the Dead Che).Each of the ten selections experiments with electric instruments (including the harpsichord and violin) and the newly discovered ring modulator. "Hard Coming Love" opens like a Nancy Sinatra go-go dance number, them breaks into Dorothy belting a seductive torch song. And "Where Is Yesterday" is as heavenly as anything sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.For about the past decade (Cool, I'm old enough to talk in "decades"), much "alternative" music has been terribly benign. The United States of America's CD release could easily redefine "alternative.""