Tag Archives: The Three O’Clock

The Three O’Clock • Baroque Hoedown [CD, LP]

Set your wayback machine to Los Angeles, 1982. THE THREE O’CLOCK crowd into a small recording studio and lay down their first recordings, to be released as a humble 5-song EP called Baroque Hoedown on local Frontier Records. The foursome go on to spearhead what was coined as the “Paisley Underground,” a loose group of new indie groups that included The Bangles, The Dream Syndicate and Rain Parade. A movement in which young folks of the ’80s paid tribute to young musicians from the ’60s, it didn’t so much “take off” as it did permeate the growing college rock/MTV Cutting Edge world. (A couple of those bands found fame beyond that original clique.) Make your way back to now, 40 something years later, and that lil’ ol’ extended play has continued to inspire, enough so that YepRoc Records has reissued it with four more tracks and made a proper, exciting LP out of it. Okay, “LP” may be a bit of a stretch… Baroque Hoedown, even with bonus tracks, clocks in at under 30 minutes. Still.

The Three O’Clock lead off their debut release with the curiously titled “With a Cantaloupe Girlfriend,” which certainly caught my eye as a freshman English major-slash-college radio DJ. I dropped the needle on it and it caught my ear, too, with its insistent intro drum beat and guitar/keyboard swirl-o-rama. Bassist/lead singer Michael Quercio’s nasal, boyish, English-affected voice exudes wonder and respect for the sounds that his group pay tribute to, whether he and Gregg Gutierrez, Mickey Mariano and Danny Benair are doing their own accomplished tunes (“Cantaloupe Girlfriend,” “I Go Wild,” the excellent “Marjorie Tells Me,” “As Real As Real”) or their killer cover of The Easybeats’ “Sorry.” The band created a vibe that brought mid ’60s L.A. to early ’80s L.A. without sounding dated or cloying. And at the original five songs, it definitely left me and many like-minded kids wanting more. Of the bonus tracks here – all recorded around the same time – we get original “In Love In Too” and two more covers, “Feel a Whole Lot Better” (The Byrds) and “Lucifer Sam” (Pink Floyd), that are real zingers. (These originally came out on a 1983 French release that added them to the original five.)

Well, my friends, The Three O’Clock’s Baroque Hoedown is again available for your insatiable desire to dig what was put down before… I hope you’re ready for the big smile that’s gonna appear between your lucky ears. – Marsh Gooch

4/5 (YepRoc YEP-2730, 1982/2023)


Various Artists • 3X4 [2LP, CD]

Record Store Day usually brings with it some interesting, if not must-have, releases. This one, 3×4, is definitely the former and quite possibly the latter. With tracks by seminal Los Angeles “Paisley Underground” bands BANGLES, THE DREAM SYNDICATE, RAIN PARADE and THE THREE O’CLOCK, these dozen tracks make a unique set of a batch of great songs.

The idea was actually pretty simple. Each band involved covers songs by each of the other three groups: 3 tracks by 4 bands. As all four groups were contemporaries and fans of each other (frequently playing together on club dates and more back in the day), the concept makes sense and it offers – when it really works – an additional level of appreciation of the original tune or band. I say “when it works” because there are a few here that just feel like straight covers (see the video at the end of this review), adding next-to-nothing to the original tune’s stature. I should also mention that my two favorite bands here, Bangles and The Dream Syndicate, are not as impressive as I had hoped they’d be. The Three O’Clock does a nice job of interpreting “Tell Me When It’s Over” (Dream Syndicate) and Bangles’ “Getting Out of Hand,” the opening track of the album, but it is Rain Parade that actually carries 3×4. Not only are the covers of their songs quite good (Dream Syndicate does a nice “You Are My Friend”), but their versions of the others’ songs are the best tracks here. “When You Smile” is a more somber take of Dream Syndicate’s early tune, while their “Real World” adds some beautiful psychedelia to the Bangles song and their “As Real As Real” is a super sweet version of The Three O’Clock’s neo-psychedelic track.

3×4 is a must-have for fans of Rain Parade, for sure. If you’re not as big on them as the other bands, you might want to get the CD and not splurge so much on the vinyl. For Record Store Day, the release is available as a double purple swirl vinyl set and a single CD, and in January 2019 the album will receive a wider release that will include digital formats. Being a sucker for colored vinyl (especially purple!), I may seek out that version. On the other hand, the CD is a good economical way to go, and holding out for downloads wouldn’t really be as real as real.

2.5/5 (YepRoc YEP 2596, 2018)

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