CD Review: Anderson Council’s Looking at the Stars is powerpop with a nod to Carolina
The first time I’d heard of Anderson Council it was at IPO, David Bash’s traveling powerpop tour. The venue was one of my favorites at the time. Maxwell’s was a bar/restaurant/club like no other, with the imagination (and guts) to book Dave Alvin, the dBs, Nirvana, The Feelies, and The Meat Puppets BEFORE they became recognizable names. Part owners or investors in the club have from time to time included , Peter Buck of R.E.M., Bob Mould of Hüsker Dü, and Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth. Bruce Springsteen filmed the “Glory Days” video at the club.
Rumor has it that after 30 + years Maxwell’s may be closing their doors. A VERY sad rumor. Let’s hope it isn’t true. But I digress.
In the liner notes of this latest full length effort, Anderson Council thanks the folks at Maxwells as well as “Local 506, The Garage, and all our compatriots in North Carolina…” I’m not sure the band’s connection to NC but I remember seeing them at Maxwell’s on a bill that included two bands that made a bigger impression on me, Copperpot and Evelyn Forever. That was 2001 if memory serves and while those two talented bands have disappeared into the rock & roll abyss, Anderson Council is better than ever.
Equal parts The Move, Smithereens, and Kinks, Anderson Council has raised their game BIG TIME with Looking Into the Stars. “Don’t You Think” is as catchy a number I can remember hearing in a long time. The piano in “Hazel Eyes” makes this one a definite keeper. But my favorite cuts here are “Disbelief”, having the feel of an XTC number with it’s jagged structure and “Gardening Man”, a great psyche pop number that would have fit well on a Move record or Syd Barrett’s Pink Floyd. In fact, the latter may be in my top 10 songs of 2013.
After a few listenings one can’t help but see the similarities between Anderson Council and fellow New Jerseyans, The Grip Weeds. It’s obvious that Kurt Weil (head Grip Weed) has had a significant influence on the overall sound of this LP as its producer. If you’re not familiar with The Grip Weeds, check out read a bit about their excellent pop-psyche Christmas record. No kiddin’.
Anderson Council are: Peter Horvath (vocals & guitars), David Whitehead (lead guitar, vocals, keys) Robert Farrell (bass guitar & vocals), and Christopher Ryan on drums.
Enjoy the video of “Don’t You Think” below and get your copy of Looking at the Stars.