Blake Jones & The Trike Shop
"If Hawthorne Were Foggy"
From the Album
Blake Jones & the Trike Shop
The lovely Ennio Morricone-style piece “If Hawthorne Were Foggy” is one of three songs with a Vintage-style sound on the fascinating instrumental album Theremins of Mystery (2009) by Fresno, California-based Blake Jones & the Trike Shop. Blake Jones and the Trike Shop’s Theremins of Mystery (2009) explores the similarities between the Bachelor Pad Music of the late 1950’s/early 1960’s, and the boundary-pushing music of ten years later known as Progressive Rock, and finds that the two genres have a lot in common.
Now in case you’re wondering what a Theremin is, that’s the instrument that makes those spooky sounds you hear in 1960’s sci-fi and monster movie soundtracks. The instrument dates back to 1919, when it was invented by a Russian physicist named Leon Theremin (hence its name). Its original intent was to be used as a classical instrument. But in the 1950’s and 1960’s, its other-worldly sounds gave it a life of its own, not only on sci-fi and horror soundtracks, but also in the Bachelor Pad Music that young single men with disposable income used to buy to test out their hi-fi players. The creators of these albums literally had a “the sky’s the limit” compositional approach, and pushed the boundaries in every way imaginable when creating these hi-fi testing records.
Although the Theremin is not on our track, the Theremin sings and pines its way through the rest of Theremins of Mystery. This weird but delightful album is available on CDBaby.
Blake Jones & the Trike Shop is a group with two separate entities, a Beatles/XTC-style power pop side and a Vintage/experimental side. Band frontman Blake Jones grew up with an older brother and sister who introduced him to a wide range of music. He learned from them the importance of researching what one’s heroes listen to in order to better understand how they make their music. It is this defining characteristic of thorough background research that sets both the band’s Vintage-style music and their power pop apart from that of their contemporaries.
Whereas Blake came to power pop through The Beatles, it was The Beach Boys (namely Pet Sounds and Smile) that led him to Vintage-style music. One of Beach Boys frontman Brian Wilson’s favourite artists was The Four Freshman, a close harmony group whose music Wilson studied and transcribed, and who Blake also studied and learned from. Blake is also a sci-fi and monster movie fan, and the music in 1960’s B-horror and sci-fi movies provided further impetus for branching out into Vintage-style music.
As Blake researched, he decided to try his own hand at Vintage-style sounds. His first attempts were recorded in the mid-1980’s. They were initially only meant to be heard by friends, but instead managed to make their way to Dr. Demento, who liked the songs’ warped sensibility and played two of them on his nationally-syndicated radio show. Blake continued to experiment in his spare time, and another set of experimental tunes with some Vintage-style influences showed up on Blake Jones & the Trike Shop’s album A-Sides and B-Movies (2001).
Interest in the Beach Boys’ music also led Blake to other instruments, in particular the Theremin. It was the Theremin that finally brought Blake Jones & the Trike shop into full Vintage glory when they created the song “Astronauts in Trouble” in 2007. “Astronauts in Trouble” was written as a soundtrack to a promo film for a comic book of the same name, and Blake went all out with Vintage-style Theremin and 50’s/60’s sci-fi sounds for the score. Next he scored music for a dance group called “Baba” for their appearance at the Rogue Performance Festival in Fresno, California. The Theremins of Mystery album developed from these scores.
Blake Jones and the Trike Shop are making their next plans to record an album of specifically Vintage-style music, which they have taken a step toward with the currently-unreleased three-song EP New Experiments in Sound (2011). One of the tracks, an instrumental calypso track called “8 ½ Ice Skaters,” was inspired by the ideas presented in “A Night Like This” by This is Vintage Now artist Caro Emerald; this is the first time that one This is Vintage Now artist has influenced another. The New Experiments in Sound EP will be offered as an exclusive, limited-edition release in This is Vintage Now’s Indiegogo.com fundraiser later in the year.
Blake Jones & the Trike Shop Experimental/Vintage-Inspired albums:
A-Sides and B-Movies (Whisper-Ma-Phone Records, 2001)
Theremins of Mystery (Whisper-Ma-Phone Records, 2009)
New Experiments in Sound EP (2011) (unreleased)