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Monday, 19 December 2011

Anton Barbeau, Popjunkie


Nope I had never heard of him either (well until a month or two ago) but Anton Barbeau is a prolific artist with a small but influential coterie of admirers. From his CV (started in Soft Boys covers band, moved to Cambridge for the vibe, namechecks from Julian Cope and Stuart Lee) you'd expect him to be peddling straight out of Itchycoo Park English psych, but Barbeau never quite ditches his American (he's from Sacramento) roots. There's plenty of Beatley pop here, albeit with a Californian hue, but also a whiff of the odder wing of grunge (Blind Melon, Jellyfish etc) as well as recent bands like the Dilletantes and Morning After Girls.

This compilation rounds up the best of nearly twenty years of music from his garage days in California through to hanging out with eccentric English troubadours and most of it is really rather good.
The tracks that hit home fastest are Fuzzchild, a quality chunk of English psych with an unusual extended droney chorus and Losing You Makes Crucifixion Easy, a jaunty acoustic strum apparently inspired by The Pretenders.
Barbeau also seems to benefit from a good partner as other highlights include a gorgeous duet of sorts with Allyson Seconds on If I Could Bring You Trouble and a thrashy rocker Octagon from the rather good album King of Missouri which Anton made in the mid noughties with Bevis Frond.
Also on board is the brilliantly titled This Is Why They Call Me Guru 7 from what many of his devotees consider his best work 2006's In The Village Of The Sun.
Anyone who likes the quirkier side of psych will find plenty to revel in here. As an intro to a very under-rated musician this is bang on.

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