Pop: Psychedelia revisited
THE OLIVIA TREMOR CONTROL THE GARAGE, HIGHBURY, LONDON
Saturday 22 August 1998
Though centred around a core of five musicians, various auxiliary members wander on stage with instruments ranging from clarinets and trombones to a child's plastic piano. At one point there appear to be 10 people up there, and one of them is simultaneously struggling with a bass guitar and saxophone.
Originally from Louisiana, the leaders of OTC, Will Hart and Bill Doss, are part of a loose collective calling themselves Elephant 6, also including Robert Schneider of the Apples In Stereo, and Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel, whose excellent, bizarre set tonight (an amalgam of folk, punk and New Orleans jazz funeral music) was well received .
All share a distinctly American take on "car-boot" culture - the mix- and-match nature of found music and objects. In the case of OTC, it means the use of a Tibetan metal bowl to set up a drone, followed by the extensive use of Crosby, Stills and Nash-style vocal interplay. Or using a violin bow on a bass banjo.
OTC are at their best when their perfect harmonies coalesce around deceptively simple songs, such as the gorgeous "Jumping Fences', "Define a Transparent Dream" and "Spring Succeeds", all from last year's excellent Dusk at Cubist Castle album, and all so concise, they are almost unsatisfying. Other highlights are "Not Human", an acid-fuelled garage band attempting a soul instrumental in an imaginary 1964, complete with primal screaming; and "Holiday Surprise 1, 2, 3", a fine facsimile of the great lost Southern Anglophile outfit Big Star.
With a new album, Black Foilage, in the can (another psych-pop extravaganza partly based on fans'dreams) it could be time for this enthusiastic outfit to break through.
Both bands will be playing in the UK again within the month. Careful with that trombone, Eugene.
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 2 Christmas comes early to Hong Kong, as millions of bank notes spill out onto busy street
- 3 Antonio Martin shooting: Police and protesters clash over teenager's death just five miles from Ferguson, Missouri
- 4 Northern Lights above Britain: Stunning Aurora Borealis illuminates Northumberland sky on Christmas Eve
- 5 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Christmas Day TV guide 2014: What to watch from Strictly Come Dancing to the story of Frozen
Best underrated Christmas movies: From Trading Places to While You Were Sleeping
Game of Thrones season five: First preview clip shows a beardy Tyrion, a moody Cersei and a distressed Arya
The Interview is finally released after Sony hack and terror threats – but reviews of North Korea satire are mixed
Christmas TV guide 2014: The best shows to watch from Doctor Who to Downton Abbey
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food