One of my descendants was good enough to drop by from the future and provide a *ahem* timely review of a disc from a band playing the upcoming South by Southwest festival. Let me turn it over to him . . .
Good news, everyone! Professor Bluto Garnsworth here from the 31st century, with word of an extraordinary scientific breakthrough, so modestly priced that it’s within the grasp of even pathetic, chronically under-employed drones like my five-times-great-in-name-only uncle, James.
You see, this marvelous, anachronistic audio disc — The Sump’n Else Tapes by The Novas — is a veritable time machine. I must say, placing a “compact disc” in a bulky playing device does seem less convenient than plugging an audio chip directly into one’s skull, as we do in my time. Your method does have the edge in comfort, though.
This compact disc, or CD, contains recordings made by the band in 1967- '68, an era when the Beatles’ first appearance on American television had resulted in a veritable clone war of faux Fab bands throughout the country — nay, across the globe.
Among them was a group of youths from the state of Texas, who picked up electric guitars and drumsticks, named themselves after a model of Chevrolet automobile*, and learned to render the rock and roll sounds that were driving all the kids frantic. As far as my studies can determine, The Novas — guitarists David Brown and John Solly; originally, Mike Mullen, then the similarly alliteratively-named David Dennard, on bass; and Gary Madrigal on drums — were exceptional among the thousands of so-called garage bands that sprang up in the wake of the Beatles.
The Novas stood apart from the standard garage (or in Texas, where the heat prohibited “jamming” there, den) bands of the era in several respects:
• They didn’t limit themselves to minimal chords changes, simplistic arrangements, and sparing use of vocal harmonies.
• They original material on a par with million selling songs they covered.
• They were regulars on a Dallas teen dance TV show, Sump’n Else. **
In my extensive studies of the popular music scene of your time, I’ve come to admire a number of the day’s top combos, and The Novas prove adept at recreating some of those groups’ finest numbers. These apt lads assay accomplished renditions of jangly pop selections from The Hollies (“Bus Stop”), The Byrds (the sublime “Feel A Whole Lot Better”), and The Beatles (“Help!” and “Taxman”). These selections, presumably among those they performed on the Sump’n Else dance program, show the Novas’ precise harmonies, rich range of guitar tones, and cracker-jack rhythm department to splendid advantage.