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Allen Clapp and His Orchestra

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Biography

At the dawn of the 1990s, Allen Clapp set out to change the world with a Radio Shack tie-clip microphone and his Tascam Porta One four-track recorder.

The odds were squarely against him.

Even to the casual observer, Clapp was barely equipped to record a decent demo tape. But most songwriters with better studios lacked the force that has been Clapp’s secret weapon during his recording career: a seemingly limitless supply of optimism. A keen ear for melody didn’t hurt, either.

At the time, Clapp’s first band had just broken up. Half of his Foster City, Calif. bandmates split off to become garage-rock monsters The Mummies, and the other half went on to form a group with a pre-Counting Crows Adam Duritz.

Not content to merge onto the garage-rock or classic-rock highways, Clapp set out on the road less traveled. Soon he found himself immersed in the little-known world of Indiepop, listening to artists on homespun labels and communicating through hand-written letters and Xeroxed fanzines.

Attracted by the scene’s honesty and DIY aesthetic, Clapp poured his heart and soul into recording; making entire worlds occur within the confines of 2-minute pop songs.

In the pre-Belle-and-Sebastian pop landscape, Clapp’s combination of classic melodies and lyrics that were equally parts fey and clever struck a chord. His delightfully economical first single, “A Change in the Weather” (1991) introduced the world to the breezy melodies and spry rhyming that would become his hallmark.

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