Album Mini-review: Various Artists — Friends and Frenemies
File next to: Sloan, Matthew Sweet
Based in the redwoods of Northern California, Allen Clapp‘s Mystery Lawn Music has in recent years become a trademark of pop music quality. Originally formed as a vehicle to self-release 20/20 – perhaps the best album by his group the Orange Peels – Clapp’s label has become a collective of like-minded yet stylistically varied artists. This 18-track disc is a sampler of the riches to be found in MLM’s growing catalog, and features a number of new and/or previously-unreleased tracks. Highlights include “Friend Collector” from Clapp’s newest solo release Six Seasons, as well as ace tunes from stablemates Agony Aunts, Alison Faith Levy, the Corner Laughers, Marshall Holland, Anton Barbeau, the Paul & John and many more. Previously-unheard acts (The Incredible Vickers Brothers, Black Butterfly Gang) offer solid tunes as well. Think of this as a sort of power-pop and tuneful-rock mixtape made for you by a really good friend.
About the Author
With a background in marketing and advertising, Bill Kopp got his professional start writing for Trouser Press. After a stint as Editor-in-chief for a national music magazine, Bill launched Musoscribe in 2009, and has published new content every business day since then (and every single day since 2018). The 4000-plus interviews, essays, and reviews on Musoscribe reflect Bill's keen interest in American musical forms, most notably rock, jazz, and soul. His work features a special emphasis on reissues and vinyl. Bill's work also appears in many other outlets both online and in print. He regularly hosts lecture/discussions on artists and albums of historical importance (including monthly events Music to Your Ears and Music Movie Mondays), and is a frequent guest on music-focused radio programs and podcasts. In Spring 2023 he is co-teaching a history of Rock 'n' Roll at UNC Asheville's College for Seniors. He also researches and authors liner notes for album reissues -- more than 30 to date -- and co-produced a reissue of jazz legend Julian "Cannonball" Adderley's final album. His first book, Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2018, and in paperback in 2019. His second book, Disturbing the Peace: 415 Records and the Rise of New Wave, was published in 2021 by HoZac Books. His third book, What's the Big Idea: 40 Great Concept Albums will be published in 2024. Read even more about him here.