20TH CENTURY: THE WEST COAST POP ART EXPERIMENTAL BAND

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      If you're looking to zone out into the void for a while then it's time to crank The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, who's wacky and tripped out sound could only be described as a psychedelic fueled night at one of the original acid tests. Hailing from from Los Angeles in 1965, the group was a combination of the band Laughing Wind and Bob Markley, who was introduced to the group by producer Kim Fowley. Though Markley was not particularly talented, he managed to catch their interest with his connections and financial support.

     Their sound is somewhat juvenile and silly, then shifting suddenly to something drastically more menacing and ominous. The band's layered vocal and harmonies are reminiscent of the thriving folk scene of San Francisco that was happening at the time, while other songs wander into more of a novel territory. Exchanging political commentary and darker atmosphere for seemingly ridiculous children's music about such subjects like being a rock.

    They managed to release their debut album, Volume One on FiFo Records in 1966 before signing to Reprise Records in 1966 and releasing a string of three albums including Part One and Volume Two. After the albums didn't live up to the label's expectations sales-wise, what was left of the group released two more studio albums on independent labels Amos Records and Forward Records before eventually calling it quits.

     Through Markley's expertise of copyright law he managed to gain control of the group, its name as well as it's publishing rights. Due in part to him using this to influence the band and its creative direction, the band ended up splitting in 1970. Markley didn't have much of a career after this due to his time spent evading imprisonment, however guitarist Michael Lloyd went on to be Vice President of MGM Records and guitarist Ron Morgan joined the Electric Prunes for their album Just Good Old Rock and Roll.

CHRIS KENNEALLY