ATP Recordings -- the label arm of the left-field, bi-continental All Tomorrow's Parties Festival -- is branching out with releases by individual artists. In the past, the label, which is operated by

ATP Recordings -- the label arm of the left-field, bi-continental All Tomorrow's Parties Festival -- is branching out with releases by individual artists. In the past, the label, which is operated by festival organizer Barry Hogan, has issued compilations pegged to the annual event containing individual tracks by participating artists (the U.S. and U.K. versions contained different tunes).

But this year, ATP is offering full-blown albums by the Magic Band, which includes original members of Captain Beefheart's avant-rock lineups, and Denver psychedelic warriors Bardo Pond.

The Magic Band's "Back to the Front" arrives Aug. 19. The album comprises newly recorded versions of Beefheart's classic repertoire, featuring John "Drumbo" French, Mark "Rockette Morton" Boston, Denny "Feelers Reebo" Walley, and Gary "Mantis" Lucas. Bardo Pond's "On the Ellipse" will be released Aug. 26.

The Magic Band will appear during this year's West Coast All Tomorrow's Parties fest, scheduled for June 20-22 at three Hollywood venues. Matt Groening -- creator of "The Simpsons" and "Futurama," Captain Beefheart uber-fan, and all-around music nut -- is the festival's guest curator this year (past curators have included Tortoise, Shellac, Belle & Sebastian, and Sonic Youth). Groening has contributed a blurb to the Magic Band's album.

"I was in the right place at the right time," Groening says of the group's ATP reunion gig. "They were ready to get back together."

The cartoonist adds, "When I heard them rehearse in Palmdale [Calif.] a few months ago, it brought tears to my eyes. Anyone who has ever loved [Beefheart's 1969 magnum opus] 'Trout Mask Replica' is going to love this. They still have the spirit of the music."

He says that when the group -- which features French standing in for Beefheart on vocals -- played its April ATP debut at Camber Sands in East Sussex, England, "they blew everyone away."

ATP Recordings is distributed by Touch & Go in Chicago.

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