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11 Jun 2016

The Contents Are “Through You" 1967 US Psych Pop Garage

 The Contents Are “Through You"  1967 US Psych Pop Garage


The wheels on the “big, blue” hippy bus went round and round as the Contents Are weaved their merry way across Iowa spreading the word of paisley protest. For four years during the ‘60s, the Quad Cities-based quartet created a heady brew of subdued blues beats, catchy psych-pop and tripped-out folk that sugar-coated the hardcore messages which lurked beneath the 13 original tunes on 1967’s Through You. The Contents Are’s songs weren’t all filled with cotton candy clouds floating in a marshmallow sky but dealt with more serious issues including a very bleak view of modern democracy (“Peace At Last”) set to a tune that borrows from the Beatles “Dr. Robert”, a hook-laden wake-up call to the U.S. government (“In Trouble”) that, some would say, is still relevant today, and the ever-present nuclear threat (“If You’re Relaxing”). This previously hard-to-find (only 100 copies were pressed and sold at gigs) regional gem is bolstered by the band’s two excellent, and not quite so hard-to-find, singles. The best of these sides, “Future Days”, is a piece of moody, early psych-blues that sounds like it hails from the dark side of Haight-Ashbury and, even with the poor audio quality, is alone worth the price of admission to this particular band’s garage. …….
The Through You lp was little more than rumor til a copy mysteriously appeared at a 2005 Austin record show. Contents Are were a garage folk-rock band from Quad City, Iowa that released two good 45’s and this 1967 private press album. It’s remarkable that the band were still in high school when they cut this lp as both the lyrics and musicianship are quite advanced.
In true DIY fashion the band pressed 100 copies of Through You and gave the lp’s away to eager fans who came to Contents Are live events. It’s a solid record to say the least, with influences coming from early Buffalo Springfield, the Byrds and Rubber Soul era Beatles. Through You is full of good, 3 minute pop songs and it’s the kind of record that saw the beat/garage and folk-rock sounds merge. One song, Peace At Last, has complex lyrics and a wonderful mid period Beatles-like chorus. No Chance To Choose is another excellent, dark folk-rocker that strongly recalls John Lennon’s Rubber Soul compositions and hints at psychedelia. There are a few hard rocking tracks such as the opening, fuzzy Country Roads but most of this record is predominately folk-rock. Other good standouts are the folk-rock downers Dream Of My Predictions and Reccuring Changes, which feel like lost Gene Clark compositions in lyrical content and sound.
For many the highlight was In Trouble. This track is notable for beautiful back porch harmonies, jangly guitar and a distinct, rural Buffalo Springfield sound. It’s the kind of song that makes searching for private press records worth all the trouble and grief. Through You’s sound quality is a little muddy and probably will not be of interest to those who like clean, sparkling major label glitz. But to those wanting to explore buried local sounds, this is a great record that’s bound to grow on you.
In 2007/2008 Shadoks thankfully released both vinyl and CD versions of this long forgotten album…….

Dave Neumann – lead guitar and vocals
Craig Hute – 2nd lead guitar and vocals
Larry Smith – bass and vocals, replaced by Mick Orton – bass, keyboards, vocals
Paul Staack – drums and vocals  

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..