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Top Five Fridays: Banners and Floats

June 12, 2015

Hey Folks,

Top Five Fridays has come again!  This Friday I’m off to my own stomping grounds of Harrisburg, PA to talk with Chad Tilder aka the man the myth the legend behind the psychedelic dream pop of Banners and Floats.  Finding a great band that you never knew existed is always a great moment, but when you stumble upon a killer artist in your own postal district it’s like finding out your house is built on a silver mine.  After listening to the album “Follow You Down,” which currently stands as possibly my favorite album released in 2014 that I did not hear till 2015, I shot a message to Chad and he was good enough to come on board to share five of his favorite albums for us all!

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Banners and Floats

So I didn’t PLAN to fill the Summer Editions of Top Five Fridays with an assortment of artists who make you want to take in the sunny weather and good vibes, but from the 90s tinged Surf Punk of Dentist to the Folks Stomp of VULCANS, It is certainly turning out like that.  Actually, this is my chance to get some major blogging intentionality points, let’s say I totally planned the whole thing.  Banners and Floats continues this trend with a sound that perfectly encapsulates the warm haze of summer.  If you have any doubts that this is the record you want to be playing on a hot afternoon as you roll your windows down, just give a single listen to “Calling Again”  There.  You’re welcome.  Well folks strap yourselves in!  Top Five Fridays today brought to you by Banners and Floats is a mixture of lost 70s gems, pointed song writing, and atmospheric grooves…Take it away!

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It always amazes me when someone so young can make a record so good. Wendy and Bonnie were only 17 and 13 when they recorded Genesis. The songwriting is pretty advanced for their ages. The album has a breezy melodic feel, and the harmonies have that extra something that happens with siblings (Beach Boys, Free Design etc). There’s tasteful instrumentation throughout, thanks to the Jazz label to which they were signed. “By The Sea” and “The Paisley Window Pane” are the well-known tracks, but this record is really solid.
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Killer moody soft pop/ folky stuff with great harmonies.  They worked with Harry Lookofsky, who was the father of Mike Brown of The Left Banke (“Pretty Ballerina”) on these recordings. Eumir Deodato worked on the arrangements, so there’s a Brazilian feel to it.  “Daybreak” and “Summer Sound” are fantastic, as are a few others and the delay on the drums really helps push these to the next level. There are a few weak tracks (like the cover of Love The One Your With), but the inclusion of the demos on the Rev-Ola re-issue makes up for those.
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This one can be a bit of a hard sell.  It’s a bit Broadway. Nilsson was a great songwriter, but here he is interpreter. These are all Randy Newman songs, which can turn a lot of people off.  But this record allows Nilsson to just show off his vocal chops (he had a 3 1/2 octave range). It’s just Harry with Randy’s piano. Nothing else to get in the way, nor to fill out the holes. His harmonies are insane on this album.  He did in some cases over 100 vocal tracks and had a team of engineers work the faders to highlight the subtleties that he liked from each take.  It’s really a triumph of an album.
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These guys had been in the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band together.  It’s a super intimate record. As the title suggests, it was recorded live at home. It sounds deceptively un-produced, but Glyn Johns and David Anderle both had a hand in producing. “Morning” is my favorite track.  Great album cover too.
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Galaxie 500 – Today & On Fire
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The first two Galaxie 500 albums are perfect records that still sound fresh. So warm. I go back and forth as to which is better, “Today” or “On Fire”. I think the answer is both. (also, Dean Wareham’s solo record from last year is great, and is the closest in feel to the Galaxie stuff that he’s done yet.)
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This record is definitely about the feel vs the song. There’s a pattern; the songs start out in more of a traditional songwriter mold and then, maybe because you can’t make out the words, slowly bleed away. It’s easy to space out to these, but the interest holds. The record plays kind of like swimming – where it sinks, comes up to the surface and then sinks back again.  At times she reminds me of Linda Perhacs. Or Linda Perhacs in an empty grain silo. A beautiful sound.
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Thanks Chad!  Great picks!  I’m always amazed at the musical gems that are buried that I still have to find, thanks for helping me uncover some more of them!  Way to be the first artist to ever sneak in a 6th album!  Dear Readers, You can check out the Banners and Floats album “Follow You Down” on band camp, and you really should, cause front to back it’s simply a fantastic dreamy, hooky record.  Also give ’em a like on the ol’ Facebook.  Remember you can check out past editions of Top Five Fridays at the ARCHIVE
well peace out good people of the world,
Peter Winter
Peter Winter is going to see “Jurassic World” this weekend.  He really really doesn’t want it to suck.  Find out what he thought on twitter peterwinter38.
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