The Asteroid No. 4. Adam Wallacavage
Note: This week we're featuring some of the bands performing at this year's South by Southwest music festival. This artist was originally featured in July, 2008.
Philadelphia's The Asteroid No. 4 takes dreamy shoegazer pop and mixes in elements of '60s psychedelia and latter-day space rock to create a folk-rock sound that falls somewhere between The Byrds and The Stone Roses. The group's fifth studio album, These Flowers of Ours, is dripping with reverb, echo, and tremolo effects — from the jangly, offbeat guitars of "My Love" to the spacey vocals of "She's All I Need" to the wispy melodies of the space-to-ground-control message "War." The album plays like a pastoral work of stargazing time-travel.
"Let It Go" echoes the sunny, carefree folk sounds of '60s-era British rock. The song's reverb-doused psychedelia offers a space-rock feel that reaches its apex during the track's huge, two-minute wall-of-sound finish. Unlike many cosmic rockers, Asteroid No. 4 grounds itself enough to keep the record from sounding like an interstellar jam session. Instead, the group writes catchy and accessible pop songs, driven by the lazy vocals and quirky vocal melodies that drive the Stone Roses comparisons.
These Flowers of Ours finds the band settling in to a more concrete sound after four albums that saw much sonic change from record to record. "There's elements of country, early-'90s shoegazer, and swinging London Pink Floyd," lead vocalist Scott Vitt says. "I think this is the first record that's kind of become us."
The group places as much of its musical influences in the '80s and '90s as it does in the '60s. On the group's fourth album, An Amazing Dream, the band covered the Australian rock band The Church in "To Be in Your Eyes," and for These Flowers of Ours, the group covers the '80s psychedelic band The Rain Parade in "I Look Around." Vitt explains the covers as attempts to draw attention to bands lost in the shuffle — influencial acts not named Pink Floyd or the Beatles. "We try to tip our hats to the music that came a generation before us, rather than two generations before us," he says.
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