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America's Anderson Council digs English rock sounds

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The next British Invasion is being launched from New Jersey.

The Anderson Council, out of New Brunswick, delivers a tightly wrapped mix of psych and power-pop on its second album, The Fall Parade, released this summer on Groove Disques. The band gets its name from the surnames leftover from when Pink Floyd took its name from old-time blues musicians Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. Early Floyd, not surprisingly, is a prime influence. gets the lowdown from Anderson Council singer/guitarist Peter Horvath: Any thoughts on the recent passing of Syd Barrett and his influence on the band?
Peter Horvath: “I would be lying if I said that Syd and the Floyd wasn’t an influence! A lot of my personal favorite ’60s psychedelic stuff could be classed as ‘fairy-tale psych.’ You could call a lot of the first Floyd singles and Piper at the Gates of Dawn fairy-tale psych. The cool thing about Syd and the Floyd was that they weren’t afraid to dispense with all that and just make noise or ‘sonically explore’ for 10 minutes. I guess I try to stand on that fence with the songs that I write for the Council. The power-pop/psych angle tends to win out over the more exploratory stuff, but I still try to bring it in where I can.

“As far as Mr. Barrett’s passing, I guess you can say that he’s at some sort of peace. I’m sure he just saw himself as a regular guy that liked to paint and ride his bike around town. He probably didn’t know who ‘Syd’ was. He was just Roger. I wonder whether or not his death will cause him to be further deified in the eyes of a lot of his fans. I hope not. I would just prefer to celebrate him through listening to his music and by trying to infuse that spirit into my own music.”

Speaking of influences, there is a song on the new album called “Partridge.” Is XTC another big inspiration?
Horvath: “I’ve been an XTC fan since I was 10. I’m 36 now, and I’m still a fan. When the Council’s first record (2001’s Coloursound) came out, some folks thought I was trying to sound like Andy Partridge. Some even went so far as to say that I was trying to look like Andy Partridge. Funny stuff. Anyway, I figured that if that’s what people thought, I might as well actually try to write an XTC-styled song for the next record, and so there is ‘Partridge.’ Good song, un-subtle title. . . . And while we’re on the subject of influences, yes, the Jam and Paul Weller fall in that category. Maybe he’s another reason that I sing like I do.”

Did you always sing with the British accent?
Horvath: “Well, when I first came up with the concept of the band, I knew that whatever songs I wrote would have to be sung in a British accent [because] I was going for a more English psych sound than an American psych sound. As I already mentioned, Paul Weller’s vocal style also came into play a little.”
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The Anderson Council went five years in between releases. What took so long?
Horvath:Coloursound came out in April 2001. Our original drummer left in March 2002. We were without a steady drummer for a few months, then we finally got Mike Polilli, who played on The Fall Parade. We started recording that in January of 2003, and then Mike had to leave the band in September 2003. The record was unfinished at that point, and with us not having a drummer, we couldn’t play shows to get money to continue the recording. Basically, I started selling off gear and kept recording the record in the interim. Our current drummer, Joe Chyb, joined the band in January of 2005. I think we finished the record in the early summer of 2005. After that, we had to find someone that would actually put it out, which we did with the good people of Groove Disques.”

You’ve done both your records there — how was recording at the legendary House of Vibes studio in New Jersey?
Horvath: “I enjoy recording there. I’d like my basement to be as cool as that one! Kurt Reil is good at what he does. He has good ideas, and he doesn’t mind indulging me when I have crazy ideas. He usually ends up using recording ideas that I’ve given him on other recordings that he does. I still think that he needs to lose his back yard and put an addition on the studio, but that’s just me.”

— By Joe Belock