Archive for Bill Doss

Morgan Delt’s “Phase Zero” Is The Best Psych Album Of 2016

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , on August 28, 2016 by johnbuckley100

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When Bill Doss passed away in 2012, we despaired of ever again hearing an album that blew our mind quite the way Music From The Unrealized Film Script: Dusk at Cubist Castle by The Olivia Tremor Control did when we first heard it 20 years ago.  But then earlier this summer, the mysterious Morgan Delt released “I Don’t Wanna See What’s Happening Outside,” which leads off his second album, Phase Zero, and if it’s possible to get the same rush the second time through, yep, this song did it.

Here’s everything we know about “Morgan Delt”: that’s not his real name, his eponymous first album was every bit as weird as a typical Olivia Tremor Control outing, he works as a graphic designer in California, Sub Pop were wise enough to lock him in a studio all by himself, and he’s playing September 20th at DC9 in the Nation’s Capital. Oh, and Phase Zero is a gorgeous, weird, melodic, inventive, soothing, trippy self-produced album in which he plays all the instruments.

“I Don’t Wanna See What’s Happening Outside” really does begin like a lost OTC track, and then fades into the boss “The System Of 1000 Lies,” like the best psychedelic album of your amped-up dreams.  The album is mostly those strangely treated six-string guitars, some keyboards for texture, and yeah, underneath it all, we suppose, are bass and drums, but think of this essentially as a longhaired guy singing gorgeously over slow and meandering highly electrified guitar lines, while floaters cross your vision and all solid walls have finely limned colors bleating and tricking your olfactory nerve ends.

We invoke, of course, the Elephant 6 bands, of which OTC was simply our (second) favorite (after the Apples In Stereo), but there is another, important reference point here, and it’s the trio of cross-indexed records made in the mid-70s by Cluster, Eno, and Harmonia (which consisted of the two guys in Cluster plus a guitarist genius pal.)  Their mostly instrumental early German electronica platters have been pulsing across our earbuds for many, many years, but never so intensively as in the last year when a deluge of Cluster and Harmonia recs became available to the non-Teutonic world, and yes, seems like Mr. Delt has been snuffling up these tracks for a long time too.

By the time the most excellent Phase Zero hits “Some Sunsick Day,” we are deeply into Eno’s “On Some Faraway Beach,” and we’re ready to come back to reality, weary, changed, a little emotionally wrought, no longer hearing through our nose and seeing through our ears, but satisfied that we’ve seen God, and his name is Morgan Delt.

 

Quilt’s “Held In Splendor” Is A Patchwork Of Sonic Gorgeousness

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2014 by johnbuckley100

Quilt would prefer it if, when writing about their beautiful second album, Held In Splendor, people wouldn’t immediately invoke the Summer o’ Love, the Mamas and Papas, all those harmonically ambitious bands that played into the wee hours as women in long skirts danced around the driftwood pyre while the menfolk nodded and communed with the shadow of the moon.  Fine then, let’s put ’em in a more contemporary context.

Their second album is produced by Woods’ polymath Jarvis Taveniere, which gives you a reference point to which you’ll  affix your navigation quadrant and map their current location.  Physically it’s Boston, and thank Yahweh for that because it’s so much more original than saying they come from Brooklyn, like other bands that sound just like them: you know, bands with jangly guitars, and four-part harmonies, and a bass player who manages to ground the weirdness in muscular urgency.  But let us also say that if the late Bill Doss of Olivia Tremor Control was in the room, he would nod in admiration.  And that another band Jarvis has produced, Widowspeak, would likely manage Quilt’s fan club if they didn’t have their own album to do.  No, we won’t invoke the Summer o’ Love, we’ll just say that when Quilt played Portland the other week, we bet all those kids who love Houndstooth came out in force.

Shane Butler and Anna Fox Rochinski were art-school students when they formed Quilt at the dawn of the Obama years, and we bet their teachers shook their heads in dismay when they veered into music. For the rest of us, art school’s loss is our earbuds’ gain as angels dance around guitar and keyboard weirdness that can call to mind both Magic Trick and the Magic Castles in the span of a single song.  Where Widowspeak lacks fiber, Quilt has just enough bulk to maintain a consistent weight.  Held In Splendor is wonderfully produced, weird in the way Prince Rupert’s Drops are weird, thrilling in the way Woods are thrilling.  Yeah, this is a good ‘un, and we’ll just state the obvious: if these guys really were from the late ’60s Bay Area, Altamont would never have happened, and by 2014 the land would be harmonious and we’d all be happy vegans.  ‘Course, they’re in the here and now, and so you have the chance to hear ’em now.

They open for Woods at the Rock & Roll Hotel on April 26th.  We know you’ll be there.

What An Amazing History Of The Apples In Stereo, And Other Elephant 6 Stalwarts

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , on October 15, 2013 by johnbuckley100

If you really want to read a good history of the Elephant 6 Collective, with insights into the Olivia Tremor Control and the great Apples In Stereo, then head on over to the great Paste.com writeup of Ruston, Louisiana’s finest.  Seriously good reading.

The focus of the piece is on Robert Schneider (Apples), Bill Doss (OTC), and Jeff Mangum (Neutral Milk Hotel), but it delves into the many projects each was involved in along the way.  And it reminds us of how sad it was, in the summer of 2012, when Bill Doss passed away, just as the reformed Olivia Tremor Control was getting ready to put out a new album.

Which reminds us, where is that Olivia Tremor Control album promised before Bill Doss died?  There is a reference here to it being finished.  When will we see it?

 

 

Stereogum’s Great Bill Doss Compilation Post

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on October 6, 2012 by johnbuckley100

Noble Stereogum, making an equivalent use of the medium as Bill Doss made of guitars and tape recorders, has just posted an amazing tribute to the late Bill Doss, replete with songs he graced with Olivia Tremor Control, The Sunshine Fix, The Apples In Stereo, and Chocolate USA.  Hell, they practically have the whole Elephant 6 Collective starring in “The Story of Elephant 6’s Bill Doss, Told In 10 Songs.”  In these here parts, it’s Friday night.  Go have a nice weekend listen.  Maybe this will tide us over til the posthumous OTC reunion album gets released.  Thanks, Stereogum.

Wonderful Remembrances Of Olivia Tremor Control’s Bill Doss

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on August 8, 2012 by johnbuckley100

From Flagpole Magazine, the Athens, Georgia arts’n’entertainment weekly, we have this way cool series of remembrances of the late Bill Doss. Worth reading, and not just for Olivia Tremor Control fans.  Not just a musical genius.  Sounds like a really wonderful fellow.

Reflections On The Passing Of Bill Doss

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2012 by johnbuckley100

We found out early in the week that Olivia Tremor Control founder Bill Doss had died at 43.  To date, there has been no front-page New York Times obit,  but there should have been.   We expect figures from rural Louisiana to have an influence on Delta blues, but Doss was a revivalist, not of American idioms, unless you consider psychedelic rock as such, but of the trippy weirdness that came when the Beatles and Stones hit their “Tomorrow Never Knows”/”Citadel” late ’60s form.

The Olivia Tremor Control came out of nowhere in 1996 with Music From The Unrealized Film Script “Dusk At Cubist Castle”, and today, 16 years after its release, it holds up as the finest psychedelic rock album since the Summer o’ Luv.  We say this with all due respect to our faves, First Communion Afterparty, and any of the mushroom swallowing young ‘uns who emerged in the OTC’s immense wake.  Dusk At Cubist Castle was a first album that  sounded like a marriage of Sgt. Pepper’s, the second side of  Abbey Road, and Badfinger — it was melodic and pure and surpassingly straightforward for all the weirdness, an accomplishment of a mature band with a big label’s budget.  And yet this first album was recorded for a pittance on a four track, albeit by a cast of musical geniuses that apparently included Doss’s Ruston (LA) High School classmate Robert Schneider, the George Martin of indy rock.

Doss and Olivia Tremor Control spawned The Elephant 6 Collective, which never had a major impact on the mainstream, but in those divots and caves where real rock’n’roll reproduces in mutant cell division, their impact was legion.  Bands like Elf Power, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Of Montreal may have gotten airplay and sold songs to Madison Avenue but they never played Madison Square Garden.  Schneider’s Apples in Stereo may have sent a mighty arrow through red fruit with their theme song for The Powerpuff Girls, but none of the Elephant 6 bands were ever featured on the cover of the Rolling Stone.  If Beulah had stayed together, they might have gone all the way.  But they didn’t.

And still, on the occasion of his early passing,  we come back to Bill Doss, and Dusk at Cubist Castle, and Olivia Tremor Control.  Last year, right around this time, came word that the reformed OTC was releasing some new material, and sure enough, the magical release of their first new music since 1999 sent the entire staff of Tulip Frenzy out in search of  celebratory lysergic mead snow cones.  And word spread, even as the band toured and were featured on NPR, that a new album was in the offing.

And then last week came the bitter rejoinder: Bill Doss had died, which leaves us approximately nowhere. Singer, guitarist, dreamer, entrepreneur, front man and inspiration,  Doss is dead.  Long live Music From The Unrealized Script “Dusk At Cubist Castle”.

Bill Doss R.I.P.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on August 1, 2012 by johnbuckley100

Bill Doss was a founder of Olivia Tremor Control, and thus a founder of the Elephant 6 Collective.  His death at age 43  was announced today.  When we search the path back to the best developments in rock’n’roll music over the last twenty years, we find Bill Doss’s footprints are deeper and clearer to see than so many others, which makes this a very sad day.

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