Review Revue: Pianosaurus – Groovy Neighborhood


If you’re anything like me, you probably have a CD or two — or have recorded a CD or two — employing the use of the toy piano. There’s something about those tinny, slightly-out-of-tune little wonders that can add just the right light-hearted touch of melody to a song. So, yeah; toy pianos, been there, done that. But how about a whole band composed of toy instruments? If it’s been done in the past 20 years, I haven’t heard about it, but in 1987, Rounder Records released an album by a band from New York called Pianosaurus whose instrumentation was entirely of the toy variety, found in thrift stores and toy stores. And you know what? It’s pretty good! (And, for the record, not kid’s music — or at least not directed at kids.) I would go on, but the comments on this record are unusually informative and thorough, so I’ll just let the KCMU peops speak for themselves:

“Look closely at their instruments — these folks play only toy instruments. Toys — like what you might have had as a mere youth. The result — well, you’ll probably like it or loathe it. For me, it’s happy, hippy-ish youthful stuff. Reminiscent of John Sebastien + the Lovin’ Spoonful. I like it. I can’t belive that you can actually make recognizable music with toys. Check out ‘Memphis’ for instance. My favorites include ‘Ready to Rock,’ ‘Going Downtown,’ ‘Center of the Universe,’ ‘Toystore,’ + the John Lee Hooker song ‘Dimples.'”

“Gees, sometimes it sounds like they’re playing steel drums. Groovy Neighborhood was produced by Peter Holsapple of The dB’s. I’d put the concept of this record (toys) in H, but the record itself… ? Whaddaya say Mr. M.D., feeling adventurous, wanna lighten up the H bin? P.S. The Jazz Butcher‘s earliest recordings (cassette) were with toy instruments. Hasil Adkins used a flat, cardboard guitar in his early days. Toys — a mark of musical integrity.”

“This is totally great; however, it will probably get old fast, so I recommend H for a short time, and then M, then L, then that little section behind L, then into the library.”

“Another good point.”

“Wow, what a concept.”

“Play this a lot. It’s about time somebody came up with this.”

“I saw this band in Boston. They are 10 times better live!! Toy music gods.”

“Fraggles! eek! Toy musicians rule the school!”

Fraggle Rock drum

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  1. Sheila
    Posted November 23, 2009 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    Where is Alex Garvin now??

  2. Bob
    Posted November 24, 2009 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    It’s funny, I just bought this CD from amazon and was searching around, the only other comment was posted yesterday by someone? How freaky! I was wondering what happened to the band too!

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