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The United States of America

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Los Angeles, United States (1967 – 1968)

The United States of America was an American psychedelic and experimental rock band which existed from 1967–1968 in Los Angeles. Their recordings are an example of early use of electronic music in rock and roll.

A registered Communist starts a band called The United States of America and lands a major label record deal before playing a single live gig? Only in the Sixties. After studying with avant-garde legend John Cage in New York City, composer Joseph Byrd moved to Los Angeles in 1967 and decided to form a rock band. His first recruit was ex-girlfriend Dorothy Moskowitz, whose icy vocals formed the perfect complement for the trippy sonic experiments Byrd had in mind.

The band recorded only one self-titled album before dissolving, but it was a memorable one.”The American Metaphysical Circus” begins the album with a lilting calliope tune upon which Byrd heaps one patriotic marching band tune after another. Just when the whole insane cacaphony is on the verge of collapse, in comes Moskowitz - transmitting from a sinking submarine. “Cloud Song” features delicate plucked bass and an ever-haunting melody. Like an LSD flashback, the final minutes of closing track “The American Way of Love” features snippets of all the preceding songs flowing in and out of consciousness.

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