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The United States Of America

The United States Of America

1968

The United States Of America

Album Summary

The United States of America is the only studio album by American rock band the United States of America. Produced by David Rubinson, it was released in 1968 by Columbia Records. The album combined rock and electronic instrumentation, experimental composition, and lyrics reflecting leftist political themes. The United States of America received positive reviews on its release and charted at number 181 on the Billboard 200. The album has been reissued several times and continues to receive critical acclaim decades after its original release.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.66

Votes

4970

Genres

  • Rock
  • Psychedelic Rock
Reviews
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Mon Mar 21 2022
1

My wife while listening to this album: “ This sounds like the music that would play when a clown comes to murder you”

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Fri Jul 30 2021
5

4.7 - Yes! This is finally a psychedelic sound that redeems the genre for me, after having choked down so many other buttoned-up commercial examples that crowd this list. Wonderful and incredibly forward-thinking use of noise, electronics and field recordings, all of which add so much dimension. I'd argue the use of secondary sonics rivals contemporary bands like Stereolab and Broadcast. Truly a "garden of earthly delights" that belongs in the psychedelic pantheon alongside "Os Mutantes", "Sgt Pepper" and just a handful of others.

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Wed Aug 25 2021
3

Very high 3. Lot of great songs on this album like Lump and Peaches but the back half was largely unnecessary. Stranger was the underrated hit for me

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Wed Feb 02 2022
2

who names their band this? Yea this sucks. I mean I appreciate weirdness but it's not good.

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Wed Feb 03 2021
1

Whats the difference between avant garde and just annoying?

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Thu Jul 15 2021
5

It is different, it is very experimental, but also very good

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Wed Dec 22 2021
5

that was a pretty cool album, I’ll probably need to listen to it again to “get it” but from what I heard, I really liked it 9/10

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Fri Jan 07 2022
4

Fuckin weird and kinda loved it. Like sgt pepper crossed with os mutantes

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Wed Mar 17 2021
3

Pretty cool

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Mon May 24 2021
3

“The United States of America” by The United States of America (1968) If you’re a fan of “American Metaphysical Circus” by Joe Byrd and the Field Hippies (1969), you might want to know that “The United States of America” was Byrd’s immediate predecessor album. Very narrow niche appeal. But wow. You should not listen to this music while on acid. I make that recommendation on good advice from someone I trust, not from any personal experience (heh, heh). This experimental musical product was an early exploration of synthesized sounds and the John Gage school of what I call anti-music music. It’s really cool. Weird, avant-garde, whimsical, chaotic, and horrifying to boot, performed by musicians who actually know what they’re doing and seem to not give a shit. This is an effort to go exponentially beyond Sgt. Pepper, but unlike The Beatles, these folks really want to mess with your mind, and they have some seriously political burrs in their saddles. Serving up induced psychosis, nymphomania, sadomasochism, “queer” appetites to satisfy, and other naughty bits in the lyrics, they deliver sonic distortion as an art form, with frequent departures from melody altogether. Very nice (undistorted) fretless bass by Rand Forbes throughout, and quite pleasing lead vocals by Dorothy Moskowitz. Oh, and I should mention—they’re communists. God, I love this country. One can discern numerous synchronization and pitch problems, but this is still in the analog epoch, baby. Anyway, not only does this music not age well, it was rendered obsolete as the vinyl was still cooling, but who cares? “And the price is right: The cost of one admission is your mind.” 3/5

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Fri Jan 29 2021
2

Wasn't for me

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Fri Feb 25 2022
2

sack of shite

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Wed May 19 2021
1

Shit.

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Thu Jul 15 2021
5

I didn't know the band. Pretty solid psychedelic rock. Not a single song I don't like.

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Fri Dec 24 2021
5

Oh fuck ya this is my shit. I sort of recall the name/co ver art but glad to listen to this. "Creating the electronic sounds on the album was difficult because of the technical limitations. Byrd recalled "the only available functioning keyable synthesizers were Robert Moog's at +$20,000. We were left with whatever sounds I could squeeze from three variable wave shape generators, modulating one another." ... this is my shit. This is basically the Beatles "Number 9" meets The Velvet Underground. I can't believe this could chart on the billboard 200 (hit 181). The album also has some beautiful Can-like frenzy in the guitar playling, in some ways this is Krarutrock... Yankrock? The very Nico-esque vocals are a great pairing with all the other weirdness going on. This is the stuff that only could get a label's backing in the 60s/70s for sure. It's almost perfect that this was the only album that happened, then everything fell apart. It's STILL forward thinking, like a fucked up National Album that we deserve.

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Fri Dec 24 2021
5

Some 60's psychedelia sounds top cheesy for me, but I like how this band does it. Too bad they only stuck around for 1 album. The experiments were promising. Worth investigating further.

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Sun Aug 21 2022
5

This is great on so many levels. It’s weird and avant-garde, twisted but funny, experimental with its clever use of primitive electronics, but accessible. One of the easiest 5’s I’ve given and way ahead of its time both sonically and stylistically.

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Thu Sep 08 2022
5

A real trip. Not really into all the bonus tracks but the original album itself is brilliant

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Thu Sep 22 2022
5

Så episkt!

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Thu Sep 22 2022
5

Love this album, fantastic psychedelic music. Strange, groovy and a joy to listen to. I hope Rob doesn’t make me look silly and give me third 5 star album in a row

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Wed Sep 28 2022
5

Proper 1968 psychedelic freakout

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Mon Nov 14 2022
5

Some really fun stuff going on here, especially the female vocals. I think I sense proto-Bjork a little bit. The avant garde and electronic stuff is so damn fun.

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Mon Nov 14 2022
5

This was such a damn cool album, and I LOVE the singer's voice. Everything I wanted here. Gotta love discovering something amazing you'd never even heard of before!

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Thu Dec 15 2022
5

Wild, imaginative and unique for not containing guitar in a guitar heavy, late 60’s era. I love it.

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Thu Dec 15 2022
5

Weird.

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Sun Jan 01 2023
5

Definitely psychedelic and not what I expected. I wouldn't say it's shit, but the first track was very interesting to say the least, I also don't entirely understand it, I guess. It got better as it went on. Very Alice in Wonderland vibes. Organized chaos. Fave track(s): Hard Coming Love, Cloud Song, Coming Down, No Love To Give

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Mon Oct 19 2020
4

Surprisingly wonderful!

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Wed Jun 30 2021
4

True psychedelia!!

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Wed Mar 17 2021
4

Tres bon album psychedeliqu rock. 4.25. Il y a de l’influence sgt pepoer je trouve.

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Thu Mar 04 2021
4

Rock psicodélico muy ecléctico. Curioso.

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Thu Jul 22 2021
4

This is certainly a weird one. So avant-garde, with the eerie synthesizer noises and the penchant for ending songs with screeching orchestrations. I like the female vocalist. She reminds me of a more pleasant melodic version of Nico. Their record company was brave to release this, knowing it had zero commercial potential. I wanted to give it a 5, based on the first 8 songs (of the original 10-song LP), but my co-judge was far less impressed after I forced her to listen to it twice, to and from from dinner at The Drake last night.

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Sun Mar 28 2021
4

I don't it is not that bad, but the try for psychedelic rock just doesn't succeed for me.

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Mon May 17 2021
4

Crazy album! Very progressive for it's time, unique instrumentation. Liked it a lot.

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Wed Jun 02 2021
4

Bitvis obegriplig, svårlyssnad och hysterisk. Men sjukt kul.

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Thu Jul 29 2021
4

i don't know if i can do this album tonight, let's see. this first song is pretty good once it actually starts. i love the weird noises/interruptions in the second song <3 i liked 'the garden...' within 5 seconds lol. i've been loving the lyrics so far ah. huh who's this man. every song is doing something different, 6 songs in i've no idea what's to come next. 'where is yesterday': lyrics are so good, melodies are so good, the harmonies, the eerie vibe, everything i love. track 10 was a journey lol. 'no love to give' is the only song i don't totally love so far. track 13 is pretty much the same as track 5 but they switch singers, idc about different versions of the same song. well i'm done. the songs that i love make me want to give this record a 5 lol they're that good. it would be a 5 if the album was only tracks 1-11, around 40 minutes long, way tighter.

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Wed Sep 01 2021
4

Trippy, psychedelic, and experimental in the best ways. Lots of interesting musical ideas on the album and a feeling that the group had a good time cutting the record.

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Thu Sep 09 2021
4

Really nice , relaxing 4/5

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Thu Nov 11 2021
4

Great for putting on while you’re doing something else. Ambient but not dull

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Fri Dec 17 2021
4

Solid psych rock. A lot of interesting and experimental sounds going on.

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Fri Dec 24 2021
4

Picked this one up at Hidden World the night of the FoD show. It's a trip to be sure. Definitely has a chaotic atmosphere from the synths that I feel a kinship with. A landmark album really considering its use use of synths for its time. I like that the synths are a bit more crude than keyboard controlled Moogs and that they were also used to process other sounds. Definitely drawing from a variety of atypical influences to produce a very unique sound. Wish they were able to go on to make more music and refine their sound but I'll take this wild ride of a record. A very enjoyable experiment.

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Wed Dec 29 2021
4

An absolute trip, but I just couldn't pull myself away? 4/5.

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Thu Jan 06 2022
4

This was interesting, def part of the psychedelic wave and reminded me of the Mama's and Papa's. Showed there was more to the 60's than the Beatles.

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Sun Jan 16 2022
4

I’m not convinced this is as far ahead of its times as it seems to be getting sold to me as. The electronica doesn’t really innovate anything Raymond Scott wasn't doing a decade earlier. Musically, where it doesn’t reflect a lot of other psychedelic rock of a similar if not earlier vintage, it frequently shades to the tedious side of avant-garde. I’ll take Wikipedia’s word for it that the lyrics are political: I wasn’t hearing it. Still, it does synthesize these things to an unusual degree and has enough solid gems to scrape a bare four stars. I’d listen to it again.

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Fri Feb 04 2022
4

This is great. really thought this was going to be the usual late 60s rock I have been getting through this, but instead it was lively, different, fun.

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Thu Feb 17 2022
4

Better than expected. Cool 60's psych grooves and I love the retro sci-fi flair and early prog experimentation!

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Wed May 11 2022
4

A contender for the most experimental rock album of the 60s. The production is super lofi for 1968, but the melodies catch on, and the vocals are very appealing to listen to. Her voice reminds me of Nico and Grace Slick. Most of this album sounds like a reaction to Sgt Pepper with the influences of music hall, circus, and vaudeville in several tracks. However, it still holds the 60s badge pride. I would mostly classify this as psychedelic pop, as it mostly follows the formula of groovy 60s pop rock, but there's a lot of acid rock, as well as plays on free jazz, medieval polyphony, medieval folk, vaudeville, space rock (was that even invented yet?), classical, Eastern (Japanese?), ragtime, and whatever you call the genre of beautiful strings that play in 1930s movies, among many other genres. There are signs of early dream pop (Cloud Song) and chamber pop (Stranded in Time) here too. This album could be found abrasive to the average listener, especially with the low production. I found myself loving every song. There are groovy moments to rock to and dreamy moments to relax to. Lots of creative moments to appreciate everything going on. Despite the different styles, it's focused, with nice transitions in styles between and during songs. Wish there was more music like this, but at least we got bonus tracks just as peculiar.

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Thu May 12 2022
4

I had to give this one a second listen to really gather my thoughts on it. Some of the fully musique concrete stuff that bookended the album was a bit too all over the place for my liking, but otherwise this was a really exciting album that went all in on a lot of genres and pulled it off. Definitely one I'll be coming back to

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Sun Jun 19 2022
4

this is very good

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Thu Jul 14 2022
4

Interesting noisy psychedelic rock. Could be painfully dissonant at times but I appreciate the creativity. Good variety throughout the album.

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Mon Jul 25 2022
4

I am going to say, shocked how much I enjoyed this. I'd say 3.5 stars but can't do half and 3 felt too low. So, Four stars... but know it's a 3.5.

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Fri Jul 29 2022
4

This is exactly my bag, down to the electric-violin-not-guitar teased on the cover. I was worried, based on the blurb, about the disastrous potential of that fact. The United States of America ends up being brilliant, though the magical transmission is refracted by the sequencing and scatters a unevenly. That variation is largely in density, it seems at the moment. But the album is a gem which I'm sure will bear revisiting. A band whose oeuvre is easy enough to explore.

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Sun Aug 07 2022
4

Unexpectedly good

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Mon Aug 08 2022
4

Surprisingly good.

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Wed Aug 10 2022
4

Ready to get weird? Freak Out! in 1966, The Velvet Underground & Nico in 1967, and now The United States Of America in 1968. The psychedelic wave of rock also brought along incentive to try strange new ways of making music. Layering sounds from Gregorian chants to circus marches to sound collages, The United States Of America is determined to try as many different thing within the psych rock framework. Some of it works well, some of it doesn't. Stranded in Time, for instance, is a catchy baroque pop piece that very well could've inspired The Beatles' A Day In The Life. Other songs, like The American Metaphysical Circus, are messy and purposefully chaotic. The whirlwind of sounds is perhaps a signature for the band. They never did anything else after the release of this album. Disagreements over the direction of the band led to the break up of The United States Of America, so their debut was also their finale. It's influence cannot be understated though, as others would cite The United States Of America as an influence. That's got to count for something.

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Thu Sep 15 2022
4

Didn’t know this before listening on this journey. I really enjoy some of these early experimental records. Makes me wonder if I am missing something happening now or if the days of this type of experimenting are over.

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Thu Sep 22 2022
4

Epicsauce

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Fri Sep 23 2022
4

quite interesting for such an old rock record

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Mon Sep 26 2022
4

That sweet sweet 90s POTUSA

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Thu Sep 29 2022
4

great

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Thu Oct 06 2022
4

I liked this a little more than I expected, reminds me of early Floyd crossed with The Mothers. Dorothy Moskowitz's vocal style feels like it has a little exotica/lounge DNA.

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Fri Oct 14 2022
4

An unexpected gem with an ungoogleable name. I was really impressed by the fantastic cacophonous psychedelia that somehow still managed to have great melodies laid atop. American Metaphysical Circus and I Won't Leave My Wooden Wife for You, Sugar are the standouts, but the album is one that works best as a whole piece I'm going to mark it four and regret it - much like Laura Nyro a year ago, it needs more listens before I can declare my undying love for it.

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Wed Oct 19 2022
4

Never heard of this band before, good psychedelic album maybe a bit too experimental for me at points but glad I listened.

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Wed Nov 09 2022
4

Does and does not sound like 1968. Has a lot of the styling of the time, but with many experimental sounds/ideas/concepts that I have not heard from music of this period

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Fri Nov 11 2022
4

Scratch everything that I have written about Disraeil Gear being a perfect example of album in psychedelic rock genre. This is The Ultimate experience of late sixties music, for better or worse, condensed to one, as non-linear as possible album. It's a wild ride with The United States of America, which actually reflect the state and history of the nation as well. No guitars on the record, but plenty of other instruments, you can safely pick one and it's probably used on one of the tracks. It is a very experimental concept, avant-garde at moments, with plenty of surprises and unorthodox approach to music. I definitely recommend listening to this album, even though it's too self-conscious, crossing the line of being intelligible far too often. But again, what a fun ride it is!

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Fri Nov 18 2022
4

Lots of interesting things on this album. I actually really enjoyed it, and seeing the different directions it would go. I have a feeling this is one of those that you like more and more the more you listen.

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Mon Nov 28 2022
4

I went into this expecting another mediocre psychedelic album like the last byrds album I got but this was actually really solid. Hard coming love was good, stranded in time sounded a lil too much like eleanor rigby, and I liked how chaotic american way of love got by the second and third part. Also very leftist, counter-culture lyrics which was fun.

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Wed Nov 30 2022
4

I can’t say I’ve heard of this band before. I think I might have heard of the country in passing, but not the band nor the album named The United States Of America. Songs I already knew: none Favourites: The American Way Of Love, I Won’t Leave My Wooden Wife For You Sugar I reckon this album might be a completely different experience under the influence of the devil’s lettuce. However, sans-substances, it was still a fun experience. There were some songs that I felt leant maybe a little too far into the unusual, but on the whole, this was an enjoyable melding of genres, and the last song was fantastic. Also, it would be a crime for me to not mention the zany song titles. I’d easily recommend this for fans of psychedelic rock.

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Wed Dec 21 2022
4

I love this - a fascinating album I've never heard of before, with some crazy and weird music that sheds light on artists that came afterwards.

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Wed Dec 28 2022
4

This is fucked up I love it 3 "The Garden Of Early Delights" go hard. Unexpectedly good record! 4 A little longer than it needed to be.

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Wed Jan 04 2023
4

Odd start and interludes, but for it's time, I'm sure this was a groundbreaking album. Enjoyable and quirky.

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Thu Jan 05 2023
4

Great psychedelic album with lots of gems like the opener "The American Metaphysical Circus", "Cloud Song" et " Stranded In Time". This album feels like the long lost companion album to Pink Floyd's Pipers at the Gates of Dawn. I can definitely feel this album's influence in modern neo-psychedelic bands like Stereolab and The Flaming Lips. Interesting 7,7/10

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Fri Jan 13 2023
4

This album made me feel like I was on drugs, and not always on a good trip. But I found it fascinating. As a one off listen with a few tracks I may revisit, it's gonna score fairly high for uniqueness and catching my interest.

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Fri Jan 13 2023
4

Damn this is some solid, hard-hitting psychedelic rock! Shades of proto-punk. Super enjoyable listen with herbal enhancement

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Fri Dec 11 2020
3

headache

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Thu Feb 18 2021
3

Would give this a half star if it was an option. I could hear a lot of similarities to other bands I like in this. Also a lot of weirdness I did t really like.

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Tue Nov 03 2020
3

"You can never come down" is definitely worth a listen - v funky baseline and lyrically great also. "Do you follow me" definitely touched a nerve with me, especially the 'do you wanna feel real' line.

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Thu Jul 15 2021
3

I somehow thought it was president of the united states haah Not a bad bang tho, they only have that album

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Fri Mar 05 2021
3

Interesting

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Fri Feb 12 2021
3

Weeeeeeeird album. Velvet Underground but weirder.

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Thu Jun 10 2021
3

molto hippy primi elettronici anni 70

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Thu May 20 2021
3

If I had to sum this album up in one word that word would be “drugs.” If I had to sum it up in four words those words would be “a lot of drugs.” Odd bird that it is, I still enjoyed a wide swath of it. Way, way too long for its own good (see above) and not something I’m likely to return to. But if you told me this album influenced a whole slew of musicians that I like a lot I would not be surprised in the least. Because all musicians are drug addicts.

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Wed Mar 17 2021
3

Count on the avant-garde to keep it weird. Not hearing the legendarily subversive screed I was promised here. Killer Mike voice: I’m glad Che’s dead. 5/10

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Fri Feb 05 2021
3

First off: WTF with this band name and album title. And the song titles seem SUPER heavy handed. These folks had to have been on a shit ton of drugs. Didn't love this one, but I didn't hate it either.

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Thu Jan 28 2021
3

I get it but not my thing

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Thu May 20 2021
3

Yeah, not bad. Suffers a fair bit from the rather quaint production job, which was seemingly "reverb up to 11", the musicianship doesn't quite match ambition. However, there's definitely some craft and charm to this quirky little curio. I really liked the female vocals, almost offhand and diffident in delivery. A couple of songs stick, most faded almost as soon as the album stopped, but a pleasant trip whilst it lasted.

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Thu Mar 04 2021
3

Old timey JPEGmafia

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Wed Feb 03 2021
3

strange but compelling. sometimes sounded like foxygen, sometimes like the dead kennedys, sometimes like a little boy playing the fife. not the best running music

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Wed Apr 14 2021
3

Not available on my end

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Fri Apr 23 2021
3

It's a bit rough around the edges, but some cool early electronic/psychadelic music

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Sun Apr 04 2021
3

Moments in here, will give this a more intense listen as it is not an easy background album

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Sun Jun 27 2021
3

Kind of a mess. But, it's supposed to be, after all, the cost of one admission is your mind. I'm not sure if the price was right though. Standouts: American Metaphysical Circus - It's an interesting mess of a song. I Won't Leave My Wooden Life For You. Full of unnecessary sound effects. Could have been on the Dr. Demento playlist. Stranded in Time. The most Beatle song on the album. Not bad though.

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Mon Jun 14 2021
3

Not sure

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Mon Jul 26 2021
3

A very good album, shame there isn’t more from them.

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Sun Aug 08 2021
3

Trippy, fun little record.

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Fri Aug 13 2021
3

3/5 - Interesting, but not for me

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Sun Aug 15 2021
3

Psych rock needs to be really good for me to enjoy it. It wasn't bad, but great for the tech limitations.

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Mon Aug 16 2021
3

about 250 ugs

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Thu Aug 19 2021
3

Better than other psychedelic rock. I zoned out for a period of time while listening to the album. 2.5

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Wed Sep 22 2021
3

In a word: quirky. Apparently this was the only album made by the band, and what an album it is. Mostly quite psychedelic, with plenty of tinges of folk and Americana. The lyrics are pretty interesting too, putting the utopian American lifestyle under scrutiny in a much different way than our previous album from Curtis Mayfield. Where it doesn't work for me is stuff like the off-key, wonky carnival music. It serves a purpose, but it makes listening less enjoyable. I made the mistake of listening to a one hour version with ten bonus tracks, so the length bugged me but it makes sense that the album proper is less than 40 minutes. I would've enjoyed that more, but still a surprisingly good album. Favorite tracks: Hard Coming Love, I Won't Leave My Wooden Wife, Osamu's Birthday, Where Is Yesterday. Album art: Nothing very interesting. Band photos in the shape of a vinyl record? As if to say "We Are Musicians." Doesn't do enough to denote how weird the album is. 3.5/5

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Wed Sep 22 2021
3

Interesting group…. Was OK

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