Obi Best

Obi Best


When she’s not moonlighting as back-up singer for acclaimed retro-pop group the Bird and the Bee (Bluenote), Alex Lilly is masterminding the fanciful pop of Obi Best. Think Stereolab meets Prokofiev and Mary Poppins. With vocals that call to mind Feist, or Karen Carpenter, with more traction.


Alex Lilly, song scientist and frontwoman for creative pop outfit Obi Best, has come to realize that her first album "Capades" is in fact a concept album – not a proper concept album based on a book or the result of a dare or written at a remote cabin in the woods. Rather it's a colorful smorgasbord of songs, recorded mostly in home studios around Los Angeles, taking their aesthetic cues from a quote she misunderstood, likening Chopin's Mazurkas to "guns buried in flowers.”

Lilly, at the time a junior in college, translated this romantic image into the idea of daring music that tricks the listener into believing it's "easy" and accessible. Since then it’s been brought to her attention that this was in fact a reference to a hidden agenda championing Polish Nationalism. But it is her original misconstrued interpretation that is the philosophy humming underneath "Capades,” a debut that is musically adventurous but also melodious, catchy, and emotionally resonant.
After graduating with a degree in composition, Lilly moved to L.A. to pursue writing music for films. Inspired by the inventiveness of a collective of local bands and musicians, she shifted her focus to songwriting and experimenting with different musical configurations for her band Colorforms. Soon she got a lucky break – a phone call from her musical crush Inara George with an invitation to join her new project, The Bird and the Bee. Lilly has since played with a diverse array of musicians including Rilo Kiley, Petra Haden, Ry Cooder, Nick Lowe, Juliette Commagere, and Mandy Moore.
"Capades" was released in 2009 on indie label Social Science. The album runs a gamut of styles, both lyrically and musically and incorporates everything from vibraphone to saw to synths to French Horns to create a unique cinematic quality for each song.
Only months before the release, the ideal band configuration finally solidified: Barbara Gruska on drums (Jenny Lewis, Benji Hughes), Wendy Wang on bass (Priscilla Ahn) and Bram Inscore (Beck, Charlotte Gainsbourg) and Aaron Arntz (Zappa Plays Zappa) manning the analog synthesizers. Lilly renamed the band Obi Best – a play on the Japanese word "obi" to create the juvenile, almost anti-punk phrase "oh, be best!”
With the release and national tour, Obi Best has earned stellar reviews, igniting comparisons to artists as divergent as XTC, Prefab Sprout, The Cardigans, and Todd Rundgren. But this self-classified "fancy pop" band has created a unique live sound with sonic textures that see-saw between thoughtful sophistication and noisiness.  And the lyrical curveballs, off-kilter progressions, melodic leaps and shimmering three part harmonies lend a dreamy hand to the whole affair.


Green And White Stripes

Written By: Alex Lilly

Green and White Stripes

Lovely laughter sitting on a wall
It’s lovely lovely afterall
You can read between the lines
But it’s only notes and dots and rhymes
It’s only music

Truth – it brings no consequence
So we might as well stop making sense
Nickels, tulips, bottles and incense
And these objects with their names
Are only empty lightweight frames
Seagulls, sun, riding on my bike;
Words can’t really tell you what this feels like feels like

This feels like green and white stripes
The sun on my skin
This tastes like green and white stripes
Is this the mood we’re in?
This feels like green and white stripes
This sounds like green and white stripes
This tastes like green and white stripes
This feels like green and white stripes

Am I alright? Lyrical degrading
Emancipating these words from what they stand for
No one’s holding me tight so I’m wrapped in a dictionary
It’s kind of scary.
Weightless is a synonym for light

It’s not a piece of fabric
It’s not a chunk of time
It’s not a strap of leather
It’s not a peace of mind
This feels like green and white stripes
This sounds like green and white stripes
This tastes like green and white stripes
This feels like green and white stripes

This feels…


Obi Best - Capades (digital release Aug 25, 2008/ street date Feb 24th 2009)

Set List

10-13 Originals and occasionally a cover.