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Lilys



Lilys henchman Kurt Heasley is a bit of a musical thief. It's hard to mind, though, because he steals so artfully, intelligently mining the best of pop music with nary an ounce of shame. The Lilys (essentially just Heasley and whoever he's playing music with at the moment) first emerged as part of the early '90s DC lo-fi pop scene that produced Velocity Girl, Black Tambourine, and the Slumberland label, making music heavily influenced by My Bloody Valentine and shoegazer rock. After the first Lilys album, In the Presence of Nothing, Heasley underwent the first of many stylistic skin-sheddings, transforming his project into a British Invasion band circa 1967. He has since also tried his hand at cool atmospheric dream pop, Phil Spectorish wall-of-sound style pop, and '70s Krautrock, among other styles, but his favorite influences without question are the seminal British bands of the late '60s, especially The Kinks, The Who, and The Zombies.

In fact, many of Heasley's mid-'90s gems could be lost Ray Davies tunes. But for 1999's Zero Population Growth, part of Darla's Bliss Out series, he threw all that out the window, teaming with DC artists hollAnd and the Heartworms Archie Moore (ex-Velocity Girl) for a tribute to Krautrock, Neu! and Kraftwerk. The record takes you on the same kind of offbeat, electronic wanderings as the great Düsseldorf duo's genre-defining, hypnotically minimal robot-pop, also echoing other electronic pioneers like the Silver Apples and Gary Numan in the course of its gentle journeys of blips and bleeps. Check out the album (where you can find "The Escape") if you've forgotten what the future sounded like a quarter century ago.

2000's Selected EP, meanwhile, finds Heasley in a more familiar arena, riding the fence between British Invasion nostalgia and contemporary British guitar pop, while mixing in just a touch of the proto-techno of Zero Population Growth. That album features "Touch the Water."