Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Octopus Project.....

I saw The Octopus Project once upon a time in Austin, about three years ago, and I was one of only a dozen people in the crowd. Unless I get invited to some super secret shindig they decide to do for only twelve people, that kind of scene will never happen again. They have experienced a windfall of exposure and a massive surge in popularity over the past couple of years, and they're only getting better and better at what they do.

What they do is create unique and irresistable music that is one part experimental electronica, one part face-melting rock, and a bunch of other parts that include descriptors like "adventurous," "innovative," with "danceable soundscapes" and "sugar-coated sledgehammers." Oh, and they also dabble in barely-controlled chaos, AKA: putting together some of the most interesting and endlessly entertaining live shows that you're likely to see.

I've recently received word that The Octopus Project have just finished recording a third album for Peek-A-Boo Records in an old barn outside of Seattle, otherwise known as famed producer Ryan Hadlock's (Blonde Redhead, Stephen Malkmus, The Gossip) Bear Creek Studio. The as yet untitled album, slated for release in late Summer or early Fall of this year, will feature 14 tracks and two of those will apparently feature some sort of contribution by Lionel Ritchie and/or Eric Clapton.

If you click over to TheOctopusProject.com you can check out media from each of their releases, including the tracks available below.

From the Peek-A-Boo debut, Identification Parade:

A swirly, seven-minute beat project filled with all sorts of clicky claps and finger taps, some nice guitar work and a few groovy bass lines.

The Octopus Project - "The Way Things Go"

From the excellent follow-up, One Ten Hundred Thousand Million:

A gyrating electronic rocker with a nice theremin solo smack dab in the center. This one has been stuck in my head since I first laid ears on it many moons ago.

The Octopus Project - "Music Is Happiness"

From the 2006 collabo with Black Moth Super Rainbow that I have mentioned on this site more than once, The House Of Apples & Eyeballs:

It takes a keen ear, or maybe just a healthy affection for both bands, but I can distinctly make out the contributions of both sides on this track. The backing beat and keyboard work brings a few BMSR songs to mind, and then the noisy guitar kicks in about halfway through that is pure Octopus.

The Octopus Project - "Psychic Swelling"


First off, two separate captures of The Octopus Project performing "Truck," one of the songs that will be featured on the forthcoming album. I'm including both clips because the lighting is better in the first so you can see the guys going berserk while Yvonne remains stoic and steady on the keys, and in the second one there is hardly any lighting but the sound quality is better.

...performing the song "Malaria Codes"

...and Yvonne performing for a group of youngsters. That's a theremin, kids.


Also new from Peek-A-Boo Records is another talented group of local musicians, Peel. The Austin quartet have just released their self-titled debut album, described thusly:

"The debut album from Peel is perhaps the most impressive first effort from any band you'll hear in 2007. This may sound bold, but the Austin quartet has created a sure-to-be enduring pop-rock record that begs to be heard. Peel's music is bursting with the kind of loose energy only young bands exude, yet the songs belie a cerebral approach to songwriting and lyrical maturity that usually takes years to discover. The record plays like a pursuit of the perfect three-minute pop song handicapped by youthful enthusiasm and ADD. Like a bad child, Peel can't write a beautiful song without also giving in to the irresistable compulsion to destroy it with unhinged noise. It's that tension that makes this record so interesting and compelling. These songs are immediate and timeless, nostalgic yet hopeful, teeming with sunny regret.

And they f'n rock."

Hear a couple of cuts from the release..

Peel - "Navy Waves"

Peel - "Sliding Doors"

Hear more & grab the album at the official site.


Alllllso in Peek-A-Boo and local talent news are details about the upcoming Spoon album, as well as that great photo-op with Spoon frontman Britt Daniel spending some quality time with everyone's favorite connoisseur of quality time pieces, Flavor Flav. Both Sides has your details...


johngross said...

the octopus project picture looks so bizarre i had a hard time taking it as real and not some silly photoshop skills.... but damn. that's a real picture huh? amazing.

Mr. Curiosity said...

Definitely bizarre. Clapton even looks 20 years younger in that shot.

I think I read somewhere that Lionel recorded "Dancing on the Ceiling" in that studio, but I'm not sure how EC became involved...

Casey said...

Thanks for the Octopus Project info and samples.

Doug said...

I really don't think that pic's real. Clapton is way too young. I think it was an April's Fool thing.

Mr. Curiosity said...

Well shucks, I might have fallen prey to some April foolery. If so, there's some damn fine photoshopping going on here.

I must get to the bottom of this. Too bad the people I need to ask are all in Taiwan at the moment...

tthorn said...

That Clapton photo and Richie's clothes put that shot squarely in the "Live Aid" era. I saw EC last month and he's got a crewcut and no full beard these days. Still, great Photoshop.

Brad aka Penguin said...

Seeing that theremin in action is beyond hallucinatory...

nicko said...

woh! that's awesome.