TVD Premiere:
Honey Radar,
“Wind-Up Man”

Leave it to lo-fi Philly rockers Honey Radar to dig up and redo one of The Monkees’ most obscure songs. The appropriately robotic “Wind-Up Man,” a self-lacerating attack at the cookie cutter pop music machine that created the Prefab Four, was first performed in the strange and equally obscure TV special 33 1/2 Revolutions Per Monkee that was also the last creative endeavor of the original quartet before they broke up.

For Honey Radar, it’s one of a slew of recordings collected for a compilation of things they did for the Atlanta-based label Chunklet Industries. Sing the Snow Away: The Chunklet Years is due in stores June 20, but The Vinyl District is proud today to debut that weird Monkees cover that works better and certainly rocks harder in the hands of Honey Radar than it did by its originators, who never did commit it to a recording.

“The Monkees were the first group I was obsessed with when I was a little kid,” says Honey Radar bandleader Jason Henn. Though he says the 1969, purposely trippy 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee TV special was “almost unwatchable, worse than Magical Mystery Tour,” it had “some songs in it that I like, and ‘Wind-up Man’ always sounded to me like it would make a good straight-forward rock song.”

The band played it live a few times and put it on a 2016 split single with label owner Henry Owings where it stood out, mostly because his side was more conceptual comedy—Owings’ extended impression of the band Slint: three minutes of awkward silence, poking fun of that band’s lengthy breaks between songs at gigs.

“The handful of times we played it, someone would usually ask about it afterward,” Henn says of The Monkees track. “One of our friends asked if it was a Wipers cover. I’m glad we were able to make it sound raw enough to get that reaction.” It’s one of a couple covers on Sing the Snow Away (they also do The Fall’s “Middle Class Revolt”). But there are more than enough originals too—more than two dozen, including a half dozen live tracks.

Honey Radar got its start in Richmond, Indiana., with Henn recording his own music in his bedroom by himself starting about 2005. In no time, he started gaining comparisons to Guided by Voices due to shared Midwestern roots, British rock influences, way out lyrical forays, super-short songs and endless numbers of recordings.

The releases kept coming once Henn relocated to Philadelphia and solidified a live band. There’s been lot of movement in and out of the band, though, with no less than a dozen musicians listed in the compilation, which carries tunes as far back as the “Giraffe” EP in late 2015.

A special hand-assembled test pressing copy of Sing the Snow Away, in an edition of 25, includes individual collages from a stack of material sent by Henn and assembled by “9-year-old artist and Chunklet shipping clerk, Charlotte.” The regular vinyl will be published in an edition of 240, with 80 each on red, blue, and clear vinyl. Here’s where to order.

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