July, July (1968)

I'm a sucker for post-Sgt. Pepper UK psychedelia circa 1967-1968.  And while July's self-titled 1968 album isn't quite up there with S.F. Sorrow and Piper at the Gates of Dawn and Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake, it's a fairly representative and perfectly respectable example of the genre's lesser-known works, with a few fun tracks and a trippy but still poppy overall vibe.

The minor single that showed up on the standard Nuggets-style psyche compilations is "My Clown," a slow, headphone-friendly groove that sounds like the perfect encapsulation of the psyche-pop sound of the age (such that it almost sounds like an 80s retro-psychedelic tribute a la the Dukes of Stratosphear as much as an authentic 60s track).  Other stand-outs include the bluesier "Dandelion Seeds," coming across like an early Moody Blues demo, and the quirky pop of "Jolly Mary."  

Some of the album gets a little too deep into almost Zappa-like weirdness and over-the-top faux psyche kitsch (i.e. "The Way"), and the vocals are at times a little too twee (Syd Barrett as reinterpreted by the Television Personalities).  But there are enough choice nuggets here to make this a worthy entry in the genre and one that is all but essential for those who still enjoy their old Kaleidoscope and Nirvana (UK) and Status Quo vinyl.

Here's a recently reunited band with a surprisingly awesome live run through "My Clown":
And here are some snippets of album tracks woven together and given some sparse visuals: