If sunshine were audible, it would probably sound a lot like Allen Clapp's music. Based in the Bay Area, the Northern California native has been producing a gorgeous soundtrack to the Golden State lifestyle for almost two decades under his own name and with his band The Orange Peels.
While The Orange Peels' efforts blend twee indie guitar pop and strummier power pop and Clapp's releases bearing his own name are more keyboard driven, Mixed Greens comfortably splits the difference.
As is often the case with Clapp, nature and its ever-changing seasons figure prominently in his lyrics and some natural element is name-checked in almost every song. Of course, they're usually metaphors for love and its ever-changing moods, a timeless poetic touch exemplified here by "If The Wind Is Right" and "Autumn Heart," among other songs.
The album opens with an instrumental and is cleaved in two halves by another, the hilariously prog-rock-titled "In the Halls of the King of the Land Beyond the Sun." Thankfully, beyond its title, there's no trace of Emerson, Lake or Palmer.
As always, Clapp embodies the DIY aesthetic, not only composing and performing his music, but recording and producing it in his home studio and releasing it through his own Mystery Lawn Music company as well. He even took the gorgeous nature photographs that enliven the album's digital booklet.
Heading into winter, Mixed Greens is a welcome ray of musical sunshine and yet another masterstroke from Mr. Clapp. It's available digitally now with a physical release slated for the new year.
Longtime fans should take note that it boasts three bonus tracks not included on the original CD and vinyl, nor the 2000 reissue on both formats, and those songs can be purchased individually.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.