Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Family Tree's "Butters Lament" on Sinking Radio

Here’s my weekly reminder to tune in to Sinking with Sylvia and Todd on Little Radio. The show airs tomorrow (Friday) from Noon – 2:00 PM PST. Tomorrow their guests will Amnion, one of the most talented new LA bands.

Each week Sylvia and Todd feature an official You Set the Scene pick and then I write about it here. I’m perpetually behind, so this week I’m going to play catch up. On the May 30th show, my pick was the Mamas & the Papas’ “Dream a Little Dream of Me.” I picked that one because it was the day before my dad’s birthday and he was a huge Mama Cass fan. Stream the track on the Mamas & the Papas Myspace page. Lately I’ve been listening to Mama Cass’ solo record, The Road’s No Place for a Lady. It’s pretty good too.

On June 6th my pick was the Embarrassment’s “Patio Set.” The Embarrassment are probably the most critically acclaimed band out of Kansas (Wichita of all places). They were active in the late 70s and early 80s. They’re (arguably) a little overrated, but a few of their tracks (including this one) are very enjoyable. This one compares a girl to a patio set. So juvenile, but still amusing. Bar/None just put their two disc compilation, Heyday 1979-1983, back into print on CD. You can stream “Sex Drive” on their Myspace page.

Last week my pick was “The Hollows” by Why? I’m still not sure if I consider myself a Why? fan, but the theme of the show was hip-hop and it was about the closest thing that Sylvia had on her computer (and I forgot to add something). For me his voice is annoying in the right way. The lyrics to this song are just ridiculous. Talking about watching two men have sex in Berlin, etc. Stream the track on their Myspace page.

Which finally brings us to tomorrow.

Tomorrow my pick is the Family Tree’s “Butters Lament.” The Family Tree was a psychpop band led by Bob Segarini (who went on to form the Wackers) who released one album in 1968. All Music Guide sold me on the Rev-Ola reissue with this quote: “Suggesting a middle ground between the Kinks' The Village Green Preservation Society and the best sides of the Left Banke, Miss Butters is a lovely, overlooked triumph of '60s chamber pop..”

I just picked Miss Butters up, so I’m still digesting it. It's a weird concept album and at first some of the arrangements feel a little busy and claustrophobic, but it’s rapidly growing on me. If you’re a regular listener to Sinking Radio, you know Harry Nilsson comes up a lot (Todd loves him and Sylvia tolerates him). Outside of Segarini, The Family Tree is probably best known for having a strong Nilsson connection. Miss Butters and Nilsson’s Aerial Ballet were recorded in the same studio, have the same producer and arranger, share the same cover painter and they came out the same week on the same label. I chose the track, “Butters Lament” because Harry Nilsson collaborated on it.

Tune in tomorrow to hear it.

See Bob Segarini’s Myspace page
Listen to some Family Tree songs on Youtube

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