Dan Castellaneta

Two Lips: The Lost Album

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His name appears nowhere on the album cover, but Two Lips: The Lost Album is by Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Dan Castellaneta -- who, yes, has a day job as the voice of about one-third of the cast of The Simpsons, but that's not relevant here. Two Lips: The Lost Album is an affectionate pastiche of '60s sunshine pop, like a version of the Rutles that takes the post-Pet Sounds flood of semi-psychedelic bubblegum (both U.S. and U.K. versions) as its source material. The most surprising thing about these 14 songs is that they're all really good: seriously, but for the lack of surface crackle, tunes like "Rainbow Colored Cloud" and "Ostrich Avenue" could slip onto any of that perpetual flood of CDs of obscure lost '60s singles that collectors salivate over. Sometimes it veers a little too close to parody -- "Take a Little Time" is a spot-on re-creation of one of Paul McCartney's music hall ditties, but Castellaneta's choice to sing it in something very close to McCartney's "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" voice makes it feel just a touch mean-spirited -- yet he clearly knows this kind of music backwards and forwards, and the overall tone is genuinely loving. It certainly helps that he got the right people to help out: luminaries of the L.A. pop underground like Jon Brion, Buddy Judge, Probyn Gregory, and Ric Menck are on the guest list. Two Lips: The Lost Album is more for the We Can Fly crowd than the average Simpsons fan, but fans of the style will likely adore this album.

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