Sunday, September 2, 2007

United States of America

In high school and early college, I got into a lot of music on account of a particular friend of mine. We had similar, yet also distinct tastes. Over the years, we turned each other on to a number of artists. One group Justin hipped me to was Broadcast, who put out some stellar music in the early 2000s. This post isn't about Broadcast, but bear with me. One day, he asked me if I'd ever heard the United States of America. The only thing that came to mind was the Presidents of the United States of America ("millions of peaches..."), which I knew wasn't what he had in mind. He played me the band's sole, self-titled album, and I was very taken with it. Much more so than "she's lump, she's lump, she's lump."

The reason I mentioned Broadcast earlier is that USA is one of their most overt influences. The connections are clear, although to say that Broadcast is merely imitative of USA misses the point entirely.

Lacking a guitar, the band opted instead for strings, synths and various electronic gadgetry to round out their sound. The result is something unique in the context of popular music in 1968. Experimental yet focused, edgy yet polished. The album's poor sales and the internal tensions of the band's only tour led to the band and album's disappearance.

The great Sundazed label reissued the album in 2004, giving it the remaster and extension treatment, serving up 10 previously unreleased tracks, all of which are worthwhile. You'll have to buy the album if you want those, but here is the original LP in its entirety.

(link expired)

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