The Proper Ornaments is a neo-psychedelic band from London. The primary members of the band are Maximo Claps and James Hoare. How they met is a pretty cool story in itself.
In 2008, Claps had to leave his native Argentina. His band there went through a nasty split and his family tried to have him sectioned. He knew he needed to escape, and with assistance from a guy with connections to the Rolling Stones, he had a one-way ticket to London. Ticket in hand, he was run over by a car and required hospitalization. Undeterred, he actually had to break out of the hospital in order to make his flight to London.
A few weeks later, Claps was browsing a Notting Hill vintage clothing shop when he spotted Hoare behind the counter reading a book about The Velvet Underground. Hoare, by the way, is also a member of the fantastic London group Veronica Falls.
Claps and Hoare quickly bonded over their mutual affection for the Velvets, and they started writing music together a short time later. They’ve released a couple of singles, an EP and a collected works compilation, and as far as I can tell, Wooden Head is their first album. The band has recently signed to Slumberland Records for distribution in the US.
Everything about them says that their main influences are The Byrds, the Velvets, Lou Reed solo, Darklands-era JAMC, and The Beach Boys. I definitely get that stuff with tonight’s song.
This is that song.
“Now I Understand” by The Proper Ornaments
For sure, with the vocals and vocal harmonies, I’m getting an “Eight Miles High” vibe. And I’m also getting a little bit of a Stereolab sound from this. Especially in the beginning. As dumb luck has it, I didn’t know this at first, but there’s a song on this album called “Stereolab”.
If you act quickly, and if you live in the United States, you’ll be able to get a physical copy of Wooden Head quite cheaply. Slumberland is having a massive sale, and from now until November 2, many titles are discounted by 50% or more You can get Wooden Head on CD for $5.55 or on vinyl for $7.77. Go here to shop for that album. Go here to see the dozens of other releases on sale. And, really, you should just buy a bunch of stuff from Slumberland. Even if the stuff isn’t on sale.