The Orange Peels

Torchbearers of the classic indie pop sound, the Orange Peels were led by Bay Area-based singer/songwriter Allen Clapp and bassist Jill Pries. Originally dubbed Allen Clapp & His Orchestra and including lead guitarist Larry Winther (a former member of the Mummies) and ex-Cerebral Corps drummer Bob Vickers in the lineup, the group debuted with a series of singles on such hip indie labels as Elefant and Four Letter Words; their first full-length effort, One Hundred Percent Chance of Rain, appeared on Bus Stop in 1994. After changing their name to the Orange Peels, the quartet resurfaced in 1997 with the excellent Square, released on Minty Fresh.

The group spent over two years recording the follow-up, So Far, during which the band's lineup went through many changes. First Vickers left to be replaced by John Moremen, who had drummed with Jad Fair. Then Winther left, leading Vickers to come back to the group, this time on guitar. After Clapp sent his friend Winther a demo of a new song, "Don't Walk Away, Won't You Stay" (later retitled "You're So Clever" for the album), the guitarist rejoined the band. Now a quintet, the album was finished and released by new label SpinART in February of 2001. After this Clapp turned to his solo career, with two releases in 2002: an LP for March Records in 2002 (Available Light) and an EP for the Bus Stop label (Whenever We're Together).

The Orange Peels returned in 2005 on Parasol with the fine Circling the Sun, recorded with yet another lineup. Joining the core of Clapp and Pries were guitarist/keyboardist Oed Ronne (ex-Ocean Blue) and three drummers (Peter Anderson, Bryan Hanna, and Bob Vickers), each of whom played on a few tracks. The band's next record, 2010's 2020, featured returning guitarist John Moremen and only Vickers on drums. After this Clapp worked on his solo record Mixed Greens, which came out in 2012 on his Mystery Lawn record label. He returned to the Orange Peels when Pries invited Moremen and new drummer Gabriel Coan to their home studio to work on the next album without Clapp's knowledge. He wasn't prepared with songs and as a result, the project became much more collaborative than previous Orange Peels albums. Sun Moon was released in spring of 2013 by Mystery Lawn and Minty Fresh.

Later that year, the band's career almost ended in the worst possible way when Clapp and Pries were involved in a car accident they were extremely lucky to walk away from. Taking inspiration from their close call, the band soon hit the studio to work on their next album. It was recorded in Clapp's home studio over a five-day span, with the other bandmembers pitching in with songwriting and arranging ideas. The resulting album, 2015's Begin the Begone, was another classic slice of adult-oriented indie pop, only a little darker than usual this time. ~ Jason Ankeny & Tim Sendra

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