One moment it's intimate and the next it's a cohesive freakout; either way, the music of The Okay Win remains honest.
Based out of Boston, The Okay Win spent the better part of of 2009/2010 performing at a rapid pace around the northeast. From clubs in West Virginia to basements in New Jersey to headlining slots at Boston venues, they have begun to solidify themselves as a band you want to see.
They released their debut full length, entitled We Are Bound, in August of 2009 via Big Bullet Records. The album was well received by fans and press and was named one of the 100 best things in music for 2009 by Artrocker.com.
In the summer of 2010 they released a split EP, entitled Two Toned, with local Boston act Big Big Buildings. The album is available for free via their website.
The end of 2010, saw The Okay Win lay low for a bit. They began to demo for the next record, and performed a few times, including opening for Colour Revolt, Brian Bonz, Atlantic/Pacific, and Ferraby Lionheart.
Now as a solidified 5 piece, The Okay Win are preparing for a rewarding 2011. They just released their brand new full length entitled "Common Nature" in April.
Stephen MacDonald - Vocals, Guitar
JM Craven - Bass, Guitar, background vocals
Adam McElreath - Guitar, keys, background vocals
David Chardo - Drums
LP - Common Nature - 2011
EP - Two Toned - We Know Us (2010)
LP - We Are Bound - Big Bullet Records (2009)
Streaming on iLike, MySpace, Muxtape, and Facebook.
C.D. On Songs: The Okay Win - Huff
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The energy level of “Huff” is apparent almost immediately, but it is a measured and concentrated ene...The energy level of “Huff” is apparent almost immediately, but it is a measured and concentrated energy. The Okay Win keeps things focused with a tightly driving beat and terse melodies under forceful waves of guitarchestration. The guitars sometimes do not fully subscribe to the tight snap of the beat, instead choosing to color outside the lines and, in effect, tie those lines together. The overall sense of cohesion in “Huff” is what gives it that “complete package” feel.
This song’s own internal sense of style makes sure that the song keeps its cool amidst the mild energy surges and rushes. A rich baritone vocal stays in the sweet spot spot of its range, occasionally gathering some steam for a few forceful accents here and there. The vocal generally stays within the zone of its almost-too-cool-for-school mode, with a deadpan delivery that lets the energy of the track shine on its own.
This track’s racing heartbeat is what keeps it alive - even the toned-down opening establishes a brisk pace while building the song’s power dynamic. “Huff” is a neatly packaged piece that captures its lightning in a bottle, smashes the bottle against the side of a building, but then shows us that the lightning is still bottle-shaped.
The Deli Magazine: The Okay Win - Common Nature
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There is no way The Okay Win can be described as anything but earnest. The clarity and sincerity of ...There is no way The Okay Win can be described as anything but earnest. The clarity and sincerity of Stephen MacDonald’s voice comes through from the opening track. Not to say that this man is the next John Darnielle, though sincere, its real intimacy comes from the fact that MacDonald doesn't really sing as much as whisper secrets in your ear. There are definitely a few notes that seem off-key or out of place, but they only serve to facilitate this sense of overwhelming emotional immediacy. Buzz Armstrong sets the earnest dreamscape pace. Still Fall is bittersweet with a beautiful melody that falls like raindrops on a windshield. The guitar work is tight and almost sounds harp-like in parts. One To Have is another stand out on this album of gems. This song is a little poppier and more upbeat, with hand clapping and an almost oriental sounding choral riff. It sounds like laying in the park on a gently sunny spring day. Overall, this was a dreamy album that feels like the harder parts of adolescence, in a good way.
Idle and The Bear: The Okay Win - Common Nature
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The Okay Win is an indie band from Boston who plays great music. I really, really love their sound. ...The Okay Win is an indie band from Boston who plays great music. I really, really love their sound. It's soft and intimate at times and loud and engaging at others, but either way, it always sounds wonderful. I was planning on just sitting around and reading my Atari Force comics with this in the background, but I ended up putting Martin Champion down to give this my whole attention, cause it deserves it. This album comes out tonight at midnight, and you've gotta check it out.
"Buzz Armstrong" grabs you right off the bat with a really cute intro, and then transfers well into sultry guitar and drums. Then Stephen MacDonald starts singing, and I just adore his voice. He's got the classic voice that just makes everyone stop and listen. Soon all the instruments are tying in together perfectly, and it's got this bubbly, soothing sound that ties together perfectly. It's the kind of music I want to put on when I'm painting. Does that make sense? Because that's how I view good music. I either want to dance to it, scream along with it, or paint to it. I want to paint to this. It's got a lot of interesting sounds tied into it.
"Still Fall" is one of my favorites. It has amazing lyrics, and the music makes me think of mermaids.. I'm just gonna let that sentence stand alone. But emphasis on mermaids.
"Huff" is REALLY CATCHY. Also, side tracked... As soon as I saw the title, I immediately thought of pre-teen boys huffing that computer air duster stuff... Sorry. It's not actually about inhalants, though. Don't do inhalants. Anyway, the guitar/bass lines all tie in perfectly together and entwine with the vocals of Stephen to make one big fun song.
"Just Fashion" is fucking wonderful. The lyrics are the best on the whole album, and as usual, the instrumentals are extremely talented also. Stephen MacDonald is a wonderful singer/songwriter, however, he doesn't get all of the glory. Ryan Ward, JM Craven, Adam McElreath, and Dave Chardo are all really talented to. I (obviously) don't know who plays what line, but the 3 boys on guitar all sound great, and I have this soft spot for talented bassists, cough, Ryan. Not in a creepy way or anything. We're bros, is all.
"We Won't Sell You Out" has the most amazing intro. It's also a really long song. Actually, the whole album is full of long songs. It takes almost an hour to listen to all 10 songs, but that's almost an entire hour is great music. Cool, right?
"One To Have" is a little bit heavier than everything else. It's still soft, but you know, in a heavier way. Like a comforter compared to a fleece throw, you know? Or not. Anyway, I love it. It sounds somewhat like Only Thieves. Not much, but enough to make me think of them. The bass line is similar to "Jessie's Girl" by Rick Springfield at times. Do you hear it?
"Right" melts my heart. Nuff said.
I really only take the time to mention every single song on REALLY great albums, so yeah.
"Spin (Everyone's Got Gold)" is a chill song. That's the only way to describe it. It's just chill.
"Common Nature" is long as fuck and I'm so glad it is. If I were The Okay Win, I would name the album after this song too.
The album finishes off with "Our Trade" and it closes up the album perfectly.
Such talented boys. Love on them.
SCU: The Okay Win - Common Nature
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Having been a fan of popular indie music like Death Cab for Cutie and the Postal Service, I am alw... Having been a fan of popular indie music like Death Cab for Cutie and the Postal Service, I am always willing to check out what might be the next big thing in the Indie music scene. Also hearing good, if not great, local music is always fun to me too. Knowing that a band might be representing the Massachusetts area in bigger things is awesome. Which leads me to the band The Okay Win and their CD called Common Nature.
The first track "Buzz Armstrong" has a nice 2 minute long intro letting their music hit you before their words do; which to me can impact you more then anything else. This song is by far my favorite on the album there is just something about it that makes me want to listen to it over and over again.
"Still Fall" is the second song on the album. Make sure you have a true stereo system when you listen to enjoy the guitar on the left channel, apart from the right. Hearing them almost clash but sync is a really nice sound to hear, This track leads into the more upbeat "Huff".
"Huff" Starts off with all guitar and little drums. "Huff" offers a slight change in style than what's found at the beginning of the CD. There are some backing harmonies and really add to the music. The next track up is "Just Fashion". While it has an upbeat drum temp with amazing fills, its more of a mellow song with a driving drum beat. Then you feel the mood shift into a more relaxing tone with "We Won't Sell You Out".
"We Won't Sell You Out" reminds me of a song you would put on when you pull up to the make out spot in your local area, or a song you would put on just to sit watch the rain and think. The soft tapping on the cymbals at the end really caught my ears. It was a very interesting and cool way to end a more mellow song. Next up is "One to have", which has a more upbeat and uplifting melody that the previous song.
"Right" comes in next with what you think would be a nice soft song, until the chorus picks up and gets you dancing in your chair. The sudden end in this track leaves you wanting more, which you get in "Spin".
I personally love the use of stereo on this album. Having the bass line on the left with the guitar on the right is really nicely done on "Spin". It's just good to hear something different than the cookie cutter music of today. "Spin" ends by fading away into the title track on the album, "Common Nature". This is a very mellow, but moving track. A very subtle melody makes the song sway and flow around you - to the point where I dare you not to close your eyes and get lost in the beat ... just don't do it while driving!
This leads us to the last track kids! .. Are you not excited? ... I know I am!
"Our Trade" comes in with a nice powerful tom and kick drum line that just changes the mood of the entire album. It breaks into an almost rock-a-billy style beat. Definitely a switch from the norm you would find on this type of album. However, the song still fits well, and kind of makes me curious of what else is to come from The Okay Win. What musical styles will they dabble in next? What will become of them?
Overall I enjoyed Common Nature a lot. I know that I didn't comment on the lyrics or singing much because to me, as long as the singing fits with the melody of the music it works; and on this album it definitely did. I seriously could sit back and just hit play on track one, close my eyes, and let the music flow until it ended. For me, that's a tough thing to do
A set ranges from 30 minutes to over an hour and contains mostly originals with an occasional cover thrown in.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.