The history of today's mystery band spans five decades, from inception in the late 1960s LA club scene, through adoption by British fans in the middle 1970s, electronic experimentation in the late 1970s, and finally breaking through in the US in the early 1980s, a cinematic sojourn at the end of that decade with a return to form in the mid-1990s which continues to this day as they continue to push the boundaries of pop music.
Brothers Ron and Russell Mael grew up in Pacific Palisades, in western Los Angeles County, California, during the "Golden Age" of the LA club scene, with The Doors, Love and The Standells regularly playing the Whisky-a-Go-Go on Sunset Strip and the Beach Boys playing the afternoon event Teenage Fair. Both Ron and Russell Mael are seen in the audience during the Ronettes section of the rock movie Big TNT Show, filmed in 1966. Both attended UCLA, Ron studying cinema and graphic art, Russell theatre arts and filmmaking. Detesting the folk music scene, which they considered "cerebral and sedate and we had no time for that", they developed a particular taste in English bands of the time such as The Who, Syd Barrett's Pink Floyd, The Kinks and The Move, which led to their description of themselves as "Anglophiles".
They've been very active this last decade no surprise then, they performed at the Glastonbury Festival John Peel Stage on 28 June 2015
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Today's mystery album is the third album by today's mystery band. The album was released in May 1974 and is considered to be their commercial breakthrough album. The album's title is a pun on the song "Come On-a My House", made famous by Rosemary Clooney. In 1973, prior to the recording of the album, the brothers Ron and Russell Mael had accepted an offer to relocate to the United Kingdom in order to participate in the glam rock scene. Their previous lineup were replaced with British musicians: Martin Gordon, Adrian Fisher and Norman "Dinky" Diamond were hired to play bass, guitar and drums respectively. The group signed a record contract with Island Records and recorded Kimono My House in 1974. Although the Mael brothers had wanted Roy Wood to produce the album, he was unavailable, so Muff Winwood was hired as producer.
The new album embraced the more pop-oriented side of the Mael brothers' song-writing. The album slotted in with the current popularity of glam rock—which was dominating the charts—in particular, the more experimental and electronic sound of Roxy Music and David Bowie. Lyrically, the songs remained unusual and humorous. The great number of words filled with pop-culture references, puns and peculiar sexual content sung often in falsetto by Russell Mael set them apart from other groups. Integral to the sound was Adrian Fisher's bluesy guitar playing and Martin Gordon's sonorous Rickenbacker bass. This was aided and abetted by the physical presence of the group. Ron and Russell milked their peculiar image: Ron's toothbrush moustache, reserved wardrobe and usually silent demeanour sat in diametrical opposition to his younger brother's long curly hair and energetic and flamboyant stage persona. Taken together, the sound and look of the group caused a sensation, producing what seemed to the mass audience to be an "overnight success."
The cover is notable for having neither the name of the band nor the album title on the front cover. The two girls pictured, in kimonos, were members of a Japanese dance company touring England in 1974. The mystery album reached #4 on the UK Albums Chart, and was awarded gold status by the BPI in September 1974. The single "This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us" was a surprise hit and reached #2 in the UK Singles Chart. Smiths frontman Morrissey has frequently cited today's mystery album as one of his favorite albums and famously wrote a letter to the NME at age 15 extolling its virtues. He later told the Mael brothers that it had been a key influence on him deciding to embark upon a music career. In 2010, Morrissey included it on a formal list of his 13 favorite albums of all-time for The Quietus. Kurt Cobain has also named the album as one of his all-time favourites. Here today for your pleasure its 21st century edition....
Goldy Rhox 236 (flac 306mb)
Goldy Rhox 236 (ogg 114mb)
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