Baroque & Roll (A Mix)

I don't know if "baroque pop" is a clearly-defined genre, but I tend to throw it around a lot. Though originally invoked for a brand of pre-psychedelic 60s pop which incorporated classical music (and harpsichords), I tend to think of it in terms of post-60s alternative power pop deeply indebted to the Beatles (particularly McCartney's compositions circa Sgt. Pepper and Magic Mystery Tour): melodic and slightly-psychedelic, dense production, frequent appearances of trilly pianos and harmonies, and just generally a bit more colorful and complex than standard three-chord power pop.

A few of my favorite purveyors of the style would include latter-day XTC (particularly their Dukes of Stratosphear project), Beagle Hat, the Pillbugs, Pugwash, and Jellyfish (particularly Roger Joseph Manning Jr.'s subsequent solo work). A few of the Elephant 6 bands (particularly Olivia Tremor Control, but also Beulah, the Minders, and the Apples in Stereo) may qualify as well.

But it's easier to say "I know it when I hear it" than to describe it. So I've made a mix. It's pretty damn great.

I've got a Spotify playlist below, but, alas, a few key tracks don't stream. So I'm also making a download available if you want to check it out; the link will inspire, so act quickly! Find it here.


  1. Hi there, Marc -- Wow, what an incredible playlist you've put together! Kudos to you, indeed. If I may, and I don't mean to sound critical, but I noted an odd omission: The Left Banke was never noted as was The Beatles (I completely agree, by the way, with your attribution to McCartney). The band's "Walk Away Renee" was released in July '67 and, due to its hit status, most regard it as having officially introduced the genre, although The Beatles' "In My Life" no doubt influenced Michael Brown's songwriting. Regardless, I am thrilled to have come across your playlist and especially see your inclusion of one of my all-time favorites, Pugwash. Making playlists, (that is, really good ones such as yours) takes a great ear to cull and I'm sure I speak for many baroque pop fans when I say, "Thank you for the music!" Best to you, Anne (Lexington, KY,

  2. Thanks, Anne! I'm a huge fan of the Left Banke; just wrote about them a couple weeks ago ( I made the choice to pass over the 60s for this mix, largely because I didn't think it would blend well sonically, but I totally agree that the genre owes a lot to Walk Away Renee (and Pretty Ballerina).


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