They’re nobody’s buzz bands anymore. But since 1993, MAGNET has discovered and documented more great music than memory will allow. The groups may have broken up or the albums may be out of print, but this time, history is written by the losers. Here are some of the finest albums that time forgot but we remembered in issue #75, plus all-new additions to our list of Lost Classics.
When Your Heartstrings Break // Sugar Free, 1999
Beulah never quite broke free from the shadows of the Elephant 6 collective, that loose aggregate of pop alchemists fond of Beach Boys harmonies, Beatlesque psychedelia and lo-fi orchestration. An E6 satellite band, Beulah hailed from San Francisco, and its bright melodies often got tagged as West Coast pop, although the group was no more or less sunny than most of its E6 compadres. When Your Heartstrings Break struck a perfect balance of bubbly hooks, often anchored by a parade-band trumpet and inventive textures (Beulah’s core quintet drafted 18 additional players for strings, horns, accordion and tabla), and its quirky titles (“Emma Blowgun’s Last Stand,” “If We Can Land A Man On The Moon, Surely I Can Win Your Heart”) belied frontman Miles Kurosky’s bittersweet, lovelorn lyrics. Aside from Neutral Milk Hotel’s In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, When Your Heartstrings Break may be the best E6 album.
Catching Up: Beulah went on to record two decreasingly exuberant albums: 2001’s The Coast Is Never Clear and 2003’s Yoko, the latter of which foreshadowed the group’s decision to call it quits after a final tour (documented on 2005’s A Good Band Is Easy To Kill DVD). Kurosky has been working on a solo album featuring former Beulah members and more than a dozen Bay Area jazz musicians, though no release date is set.
“Emma Blowgun’s Last Stand”: