Great Valley
Lizards of Camelot

Lately, I’ve found myself completely fascinated by the pop music coming out of Brattleboro, Vermont. Artists like Chris Weisman, Ryan Power, Ruth Garbus, Zach Phillips, and Great Valley are crafting some of the most harmonically fascinating songs that are rife with smart/sarcastic/sincere lyrics and wildly inventive production. These folks are creating an incredible alternate universe of pop craft that largely ignores current trends in favor of exploring the beautifully weird possibilities of songs.

Great Valley’s latest album, Lizards of Camelot is another excellent entry into the Brattleboro scene’s canon. The record also feels like a larger group statement since the band’s normal duo of Peter Nichols and Jo Miller-Gamble is often augmented by many of the other key Brattleboro players. Lizards of Camelot is a silly concept record about well, lizards of camelot. In other hands, this concept could easily devolve into pure novelty but Great Valley keep the narrative subtle and the music playful and inventive. For instance, it took me until the gorgeous “Moat of Love” to realize that Nichols was literally singing about lizard people royalty. Like the best work of Ween and Ariel Pink, Lizards of Camelot proves that the ridiculous can still be profoundly beautiful and transcend the strictly goofy.

Lizards of Camelot is out now via NNA Tapes. You can stream five tracks off the record below:

• Great Valley: http://www.thegreatvalley.bandcamp.com
• NNA Tapes: http://www.nnatapes.com

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

Most Read