Pianosaurus were a ‘80s rock band from New York that used toy instruments exclusively. Forming c. 1982, they released a couple of live tapes before putting out their debut studio album, Groovy Neighborhood in 1987. Produced by Peter Holsapple from the dB’s and released by Rounder Records, Groovy Neighborhood could easily be dismissed as a joke if the songs weren’t so damn good and the performances so convincing. Pianosaurus managed to find the sweet spot between silly and genuine, and it didn’t hurt that singer/guitarist Alex Garvin’s songs are super-catchy. All Music summed up the band’s method and appeal nicely in their review of the album:
A gimmick band which transcends its novelty status, Pianosaurus play their light-hearted, pop-oriented material on children’s instruments bought at toy stores, among them tiny pianos, cheap-o organs and plastic horns and guitars. Sincere and enthusiastic, Groovy Neighborhood is sparkling, well-played pop with folk undercurrents.
The band toured extensively, making numerous radio and television appearances along the way, and seemed headed for greater success. But after they completed their second LP, Garvin apparently suffered some kind of mental breakdown and suddenly vanished in 1988. Subsequently, their label decided not to release the record and Pianosaurus were sadly no more.
More after the jump…