Ola Podrida
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Ola Podrida

Austin, Texas, United States | INDIE

Austin, Texas, United States | INDIE
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"Pitchfork - Ola Podrida review"

RATING – 8.0
Already David Wingo's résumé has been discussed almost as much as his music. He is a film composer by day, most notably for the movies of southern director David Gordon Green (including his upcoming Snow Angels), and this experience may or may not be relevant to his debut with his band Ola Podrida. It's tempting to read these 11 songs on the group's debut as extensions of Wingo's soundtracks, as the band name implies: Ola Podrida is a variation on the Spanish term olla podrida, which refers specifically to a stew and generally to any sort of miscellany. Podrida itself means rotten, suggesting a dish made of ingredients unused in previous recipes. The implication is that this group is a secondary outlet for Wingo and the album a catch-all for mood-setting music that didn't fit into a film.
If that's really the case, it's impossible to tell. Ola Podrida is a cohesive, confident album full of folky, quiet guitars and thoughtful lyrics that coalesce into complete songs. But what sets the group apart from similar acts like Iron & Wine and Paul Duncan is its cinematic flair: Wingo treats his words like images, so that the music acts like a soundtrack that gently reinforces their meaning and impact. These songs are like short films-- action sequences (the fiery "Cindy"), montages (the humorous "Photo Booth"), denouements (the stark closer "Eastbound")-- but the band's spartan sound never makes that idea too obvious. Ola Podrida, which began with Wingo as its sole member but has grown to a full lineup, make the most of only a handful of instruments: Acoustic guitars pluck ruminative melodies while synths softly suggest atmosphere. Singing with an open twang that sounds both observant and expressive, Wingo performs most songs by himself, even playing piano on "Eastbound".
Appropriately, Wingo's lyrics emphasize the visual, and his songs are full of off-hand concrete imagery, such as these lines from "Day at the Beach": "I played in the waves like a five-year old, timing my jumps with the rolling tide". However, the songs are most effective when he leaves certain specifics to the listener's imagination. In the middle of the plaintive "Run Off the Road", in which a woman gauges her life's course through the changes in her old home, he sings, "When you showed up at the farm, visions of the summer flying past you/ The foxes had torn up the mother and her pups, and the well was full of flies." The violence occurs off-screen, but its aftermath lingers in this southern gothic quatrain, feeding the song's meaning and mystery.
All is not so bleak. "Photo Booth", about lovers slowly growing apart, repeats a playful refrain: "Dog's asleep out in the yard, cat's up on the roof/ We're out drinking at the bar, down each other's pants in the photo booth." Wingo's characters-- all of the lovers, friends, acquaintances, passers-by who inhabit these songs-- hover teasingly between real and fictional, suggesting typical songwriterly confessionalism but slyly undermining those expectations. For this reason, "Jordanna" is one of the album's many triumphs, showcasing not only Wingo's shapeshifting songwriting (in which verses bleed into choruses with such fluidity that it's often difficult to distinguish the two) but also his descriptive powers. The song is an ode to a powerful performer, and the words and music give listeners front-row seats: "You drink from your flask and ask if anyone here has a favorite," he sings, then adds, "I don't care what you play, just do it in your old fashioned way." Wingo sounds like he wants to believe in the power of music to set the world to rights, and on "Jordanna" he comes away with what seems at first like cold comfort, but reveals a musical generosity that's almost like a mission statement: "I don't know if there's any point to it all, but I sure like hearing your voice."
- Pitchfork

"Spin. com - Band of the Day"

Ola Podrida play soft, pretty music, where nuance and space are as important as what is actually said and done. Instruments layer together subtly and deftly, creating an atmosphere that brings to mind the wide Western plains or old, not-quite-forgotten lovers. "I am what you're waiting for/So stop looking all over town," Wingo sings, his voice bittersweet, over the simple, stark piano chords of "Pour Me Another," while on "Cindy" he sounds resilient and strong as he tells of a woman who finally decides to change her life. It's part Neil Young, part early Lambchop, indie Americana that swells with the dusty winds and picked acoustic guitars and considers every move it makes with utmost importance. - Spin

"NPR.com - Song of the Day"

David Wingo, best known as a composer for independent films (All the Real Girls, The Great World of Sound), tackles a slightly different form when writing for Ola Podrida. The solo-project-turned-band uses his cinematic instincts to their fullest advantage: The band's debut, Ola Podrida, is full of airy, acoustic-guitar-driven folk songs with muted vocals suitable for dusty roads and endless possibilities. Ola Podrida excels at creating a beautifully atmospheric mood, as well as gentle beauty that's both spacious and deceptively complex.
The lazily majestic "Jordanna" builds slowly, with a careful hand, as Wingo carefully engineers the placement of each individual element. Fans of Iron and Wine should appreciate his ability to cast a spell with seemingly simple guitar strumming, driven home by Wingo's weathered and road-weary voice. People and scenes float in and out of focus, lending the song the feel of a scrapbook. At the end of "Jordanna," Wingo sings, "I'm not sure there's any point to it all / but I sure loved hearing your voice," and the latter sentiment surely holds true here.

"All Music Guide - Ola Podrida review"

The first release from David Wingo, who previously occupied himself by composing scores for David Gordon Green films, Ola Podrida (also the name of his solo project) is a pretty, Southern-inflected indie rock album, soft acoustic guitar arpeggios, various keyboard instruments, and brushed drums leading the way through its 11 tracks. Occasionally, like in "Lost and Found," Wingo picks up speed and adds some bass, but for the most part, things stay consistently calm, measured out carefully and with great attention to how they fit into the overall feel of the record. This, assuredly, must come from Wingo's film training, and with Ola Podrida he's able to write both the soundtrack and the script to a sweet, thoughtful movie, filmed in grainy colors with handheld cameras and plenty of shots of the wide expanse of the land, the fields, the sweeping greens and browns and grays, and, depending exactly on the setting (because Wingo is more Neil Young than Kris Kristofferson), the pecan trees, the tobacco fields, the cattle ranches, the frost-covered prairie grasses. Cues are given -- "a car crashed, everybody was OK" ("Lost and Found"), "She burned almost everything/Except for her wedding ring/She threw that in the sea" ("Cindy") -- and scenes are played out -- "We're out drinking at the bar, down each other's pants in the photo booth" ("Photo Booth") -- love discovered and played out, with its problems and its benefits, nothing ever forgotten. Of course, there is no clean resolution, no credit-rolling ending when Ola Podrida sounds its final note, neither a clear break nor a promise to stay together. Instead, there's only sadness, longing, regret. "Something so frightening in this deep Western sky," Wingo murmurs in "Eastbound," his voice high and uncertain, over a picked banjo and strummed acoustic guitar, and, as the song comes to a conclusion, each instrument picking up in intensity, he sings, more strongly than he has before, "I'm not so stupid/I'm not such a fool/Do you think that I'll stop/Stop thinking of you?," a promise that things are not finished, that though screen is black, the music is done, the scene is not over. - All Music Guide

"Austin Chronicle - SXSW Showcase Review"

Although David Wingo left Austin last October for the fertile pastures of Brooklyn, he still plays the hometown card in that Ola Padrida has legitimate local claims based on the presence of Austinites Robert Patton and former American Analog Set frontman Andrew Kenny. Working through songs from their self-titled debut, set for an April release on Plug Reseach, Wingo's swooning vocals and the group's mellow rhythms on tunes like "Jordanna" matched the sodden, cool night air on the Mohawk Patio. Throughout the set, Wingo's songs gracefully dripped subtle details to paint impressionistic scenes over a subdued emotional canvas, not far removed from Sam Beam's best work. Although "Run Off the Road" or "Day at the Beach" might recall Iron & Wine's "Bird Stealing Bread," the powered-up "Lost and Found" and closer "Cindy" displayed the influence of Kenny's AAS days in its slow, steady build to a superbly melodic crescendo. Even if Ola Podrida doesn't call Austin home, we'll still leave the light on for them. - Austin Chronicle

"Brooklyn Vegan - CMJ Spotlight"

Earlier this year, an interesting news bit on Pitchfork appeared reporting they had noticed that the album cover for Interpol's then upcoming album Our Love To Admire was suspiciously similar to just released Ola Podrida's self-titled debut. It was just a funny case of "great minds think alike," but despite their disparate sounds, there are other aspects that link them together.
Both call New York home, but Ola Podrida's wistful folk ballads (in the vein of Iron and Wine and Micah P. Hinson) are miles away from Interpol's urban decadence. Both have band members immersed in film composing, but Podrida front man David Wingo made his name in that field first - before branching out with his band, scoring among several films,David Gordon Green's classic George Washington. And both bands have received great write ups from the music press, but while Interpol's latest has received mixed reviews, Ola Podrida's release has more more consistent praise.

They've been building a steady buzz over the last year, due in part to their very good album, but also their fantastic live show (they were one of the hot tickets to Pop Montreal). Definitely worth checking out.
- BrooklynVegan.com

"Webster Hall w/ She & Him - Concert Review"

Ola Podrida delivered some sweet sounds to a packed house when they played Webster Hall. Opening for She & Him (QRO photos), one of the few good celebrity music acts out there in actress Zooey Deschanel (Elf, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) & celebrated singer/songwriter M. Ward, Ola Podrida’s softer indie-country certainly fit the bill, but had to struggle sometimes to overcome the chattering crowd. But the Brooklyn ban let their beauty shine through on Tuesday, April 22nd. Sticking mostly to pieces off their 2007 self-titled debut, Podrida started off with the pressing and fun “Lost and Found”, a wise choice to win over the crowd at the beginning with its wry, winning tone. Ola Podrida opener “The New Science” followed, and while as sweet and touching as on record, it was perhaps a little too quiet that early in the set. But then came the wistful and wonderful “Photo Booth”; the enchanting piece carried its sounds to the rafters. After a couple of more country-rockin’ unfamiliar numbers, Ola Podrida hit up the moving “Jordanna”, but some of the power of the stripped piece was lost in the cavernous Hall. Luckily, “A Day at the Beach” was just relaxed enough for that late April day (perhaps the first really beautiful day in New York this year). And the band ended with Ola Podrida’s best track, “Cindy”. The driving quiet first portion of the song managed to overcome the setting, and when it grew big, its power exploded in the large venue. In many ways, Ola Podrida lucked into playing Webster Hall, the largest indie-rock venue in New York before the gi-normous Terminal 5. They were a late add as opener to the second of She & Him’s two nights in New York. Then Deschanel’s voice gave out on Monday, forcing She & Him to scratch that show – and move the Tuesday one from the 500-person Hiro Ballroom to the 1,400-person Webster. However, Podrida’s sound might have played better in the smaller Hiro (especially without the disgruntled indie-kids that were bumped from Monday to Tuesday, and Hiro’s excellent sound system). But, instead the band got to reach out and touch a much larger group of folks, and touch them Ola Podrida did. - QRO Magazine

"Pitchfork - Belly Of The Lion review"

RATING - 7.8
David Wingo is better known as a soundtrack composer than as a songwriter, and you may have heard his music already in most of David Gordon Green's films or in the new Jared Hess mess, Gentlemen Broncos. Yet, as Ola Podrida, he emphasizes lyrics and music equally, using each to evoke what the other cannot express. Ola Podrida may bear some similarities to groups like Band of Horses and My Morning Jacket-- in the expansiveness and Americana textures of his songs-- but his second album, Belly of the Lion, is unlikely to get fists pumping or crowds surging: Wingo is a strong live performer, but his music remains private rather than public, introverted rather than outgoing. He projects these songs inward, creating a record that is quietly cinematic.

Belly of the Lion is more compact than Ola Podrida's 2007 self-titled debut, which means it is sharper, shapelier, and only slightly less substantial. Lyrically, the themes are identical: Every silver lining has a dark cloud, and relationships of any kind-- whether romantic, familial, or social-- are fraught with the potential for loss. What makes them especially affecting is their specificity: Wingo fills these songs with concrete nouns, proper names, and crystalline details, effectively rooting them in a real and recognizable world. "Your Father's Basement" imbues its coming-of-age story with a certain vérité, as two teenage boys blast Eric B. & Rakim and look for dirty mags behind the water heater, while the music crests into an uncertain conclusion that lends magnitude to their adolescent conspiracy. Elsewhere, Wingo's guitar shimmers as "Lakes of Wine" pans across a tableau of mysteriously related images: a notebook found on the side of the road, a phone number scrawled on a bathroom stall. There's nothing out of the ordinary here, yet Wingo invests each carefully selected object with symbolic weight.

And yet, these lyrics would have much less power without the music. Wingo recorded Belly of the Lion in his apartment, playing all the instruments himself (although he did hire a drummer for four songs), so the range of sounds is limited. Their range of use, however, is not. He knows just how to score these miniature movies to enhance their drama-- when to bring in the droning guitars to bolster the tension of "Donkey", how to overlay the delicate melody of "Monday Morning" against a backdrop of guitar distortion, how to wring maximum effect out of an incremental tempo change on "Roomful of Sparrows", and when to counter a stormy crescendo with a stark acoustic guitar on closer "This Old World". Such techniques, no doubt picked up during his soundtrack work, draw out deeper shades of meaning in his songs, balancing optimism with despair. Or, as he sings on the countrified opener "The Closest We Will Ever Be": "There's always some shadows within the prettiest of scenes/ I'll cast one on you, and you'll cast one on me." That realization gives this short, modest album an inordinate emotional heft and makes it linger long after those last notes have stopped reverberating.
- Pitchfork

"Austinist - Belly Of The Lion review"

If David Wingo’s softly rousing sophomore effort as Ola Podrida, Belly of the Lion, isn’t a triumph, it’s still a mastery. And this is fitting, given that most of this incredibly focused album is given over to coming to terms with having learned that love only conquers “all” if that “all” refers to memory.

Wingo having scored many films—most recently Gentlemen Broncos—it’s no surprise that this album is as cinematic as they come. He uses his lyrics like a camera, zooming in on gorgeously telling details to create a visual experience as well for the listener. Swimming in the fluid guitar of “Lakes of Wine” are these picturesque lines: “I hope someday I’m deaf and dumb and blind/ skinny dip with girls in lakes of wine/
and find my way by clutching to their thighs.”

If only most romantic films were as honest as an Ola Podrida track. More contained, if not as muscular, as 2007’s self-titled album, Belly of the Lion plays nimbly with the tension between his expansive sound and his inward lyrics. Its opening track, “The Closest We Will Ever Be,” initiates a theme inverting the typical freedom-of-the-open-road ballad. Against tableaus of sprawling Americana play out not visions of freedom, but tender appreciation for interpersonal tethers. Mournfully, but without resignation, Wingo sings, "There's always some shadows within the prettiest of scenes/ I'll cast one on you, and you'll cast one on me…That’s alright if this is the closest we will ever be.”

With each listen, it becomes more impressive how the vocals seem to waft in and out of the music on this album. Nothing juts out of these intimately composed scenes except for the details captured by the lyrics. Belly of the Lion is as a whole so understated, its tracks so composed and consistent with one another, that at times this seamlessness almost obscures its impact.

Only “Donkey,” the standout track, fully parts ways with restraint. Wingo builds tension over a loping beat and adds testimonial guitars and horns. Once assured of a fully rapt ear, he then delivers a chorus we’d gladly run away with. In fact, Belly of the Lion may one of the year’s best bedroom listens yet. Wingo’s voice is both familiar and fantastic. And lucky for us, he’s once again calling Austin home.

- Austinist

"Austin Chronicle - Belly Of The Lion review"

David Wingo's music streams in nostalgia, spilling out somewhere between night's tussled memories and day's soft break against gray skies. His voice lulls with a hypnotic power, like David Bazan left alone to quietly muse back into himself. Wingo's sophomore album as Ola Podrida surges with more confidence and strength behind bursts of psych-folk ("We All Radiant") and raw banjo ("Donkey," "This Old World"). Yet the easily rolled opening guitar lick on "The Closest We Will Ever Be" strikes immediate contrast to the locally transplanted Dallas native's imagistic fragments and collages of suburban malaise, an aesthetic perfected by fellow North Texans the New Year. The past flirts with a drifting ubiquity, through the adolescent nights of "Your Father's Basement," the wistful heartbreak of "Lakes of Wine," and the tremored simplicity of " - Austin Chronicle


LP's : Ola Podrida (2007)
Belly Of The Lion (2009)



Selected press for BELLY OF THE LION:

"...lingers long after those last notes have stopped reverberating."
– Pitchfork (7.8)

"one of the year's best bedroom listens..."
– Austinist

"Belly of the Lion, on which Wingo plays every instrument except a few drum tracks, should push Ola Podrida into the thick of indie rock's folk awakening. It puts a rural twist on modern dream pop."
– Austin Chronicle

"Wingo succeeds at creating these affecting, gauzy rooms of sound. These are songs that are shimmering but never precious, beautiful but not immaculate."
- Pop Matters

"an accomplished collection of spacey folk songs sure to win your indie heart..."
– Magnet

"one of my favourite songwriters...Ola Podrida are wonderful."
– SaidTheGramophone

"his most acomplished work to date..."
– AquariumDrunkard

"You’ll want to have this album on hand as we prepare for the winter, and as you prepare to make your record collection complete with masterful pieces of art."
– Austin Town Hall

"a rich, textured work, edging Wingo's Americana-focused concerns into a territory that sounds - dare I say it - pretty close to cinematic."
– Flavorwire

"...mercurial acoustics couched in mood-setting chamber sonics."
– American Songwriter

"enchants with subtle artistry."
– Clash

"David Wingo has squared the circle of how to do alt-country/folk today and still be special..."

"Recorded at home, the record exemplifies an organic yet balanced sound often so difficult to come by..."
– The Line of Best Fit

"It's without question one of the year's best."
– Indiewire.com

"This is Love with a capital L..."
– Luxury Wafers

"Absolutely stunning...astonishingly subtle and beautiful work that should end up on numerous best–of–2009 lists."
– California Chronicle

'Your Father's Basement', a fragile acoustic story with drops of electric guitar frozen by Wingo's broken voice.""
– Pitchfork (Track Review)


“Ola Podrida is a cohesive, confident album full of folky, quiet guitars and thoughtful lyrics that coalesce into complete songs. But what sets the group apart from similar acts like Iron & Wine and Paul Duncan is its cinematic flair: Wingo treats his words like images, so that the music acts like a soundtrack that gently reinforces their meaning and impact.”
– Pitchfork (8.0)

“very good album…fantastic live show. Definitely worth checking out”
– BrooklynVegan

"Ola Podrida isn't just a strikingly accomplished debut—it's near–essential listening for anyone who's been taken with the recent turn in some parts of the indie cosmology towards folkier and more countrified sounds.”
– Stylus Magazine

"Instruments layer together subtly and deftly, creating an atmohere that brings to mind the wide Western plains or old, not–quite–forgotten lovers."
– Spin

“..a pretty, Southern–inflected indie rock album, soft acoustic guitar arpeggios, various keyboard instruments, and brushed drums leading the way”
– All Music Guide

“Ola Podrida have beaten Sufjan Stevens to the punch and recorded an aural–love letter to singer David Wingo’s Lone Star state.”
– Pop Matters

“chock full of beautiful songs” – My Old Kentucky Blog “This is "Texas Music", in the best sense of the phrase.”
– Gorilla vs. Bear

“If this were a 2006 album, it would be one of my albums of the year.”
– Said the Gramophone

“Wingo's mastery of the sound is hard to deny"
– Coke Machine Glow

“Ola Podrida excels at creating a beautifully atmoheric mood, as well as gentle beauty that's both acious and deceptively complex...”

“it's easy to fall prey to Ola Podrida's rustic charms” – Textura

“…the upcoming album is a thing of quiet beauty reminiscent of the very best under–the–radar homegrown ’70s folk experiments…I have a feeling this is only the beginning.”
– Aquarium Drunkard

David Wingo has been making the soundtrack to Southern lives for years…literally. As one half of the composing team behind the films for director David Gordon Green (ALL THE REAL GIRLS, GEORGE WASHINGTON), Wingo framed the onscreen images with lush, complimentary arrangements. This background in scoring shines through in OLA PODRIDA, which began as a solo home-recording project but soon blossomed into a five-piece band.

The self-titled debut album was released by Plug Research in April of 2007 to wide praise, and in the next year the band (who was at that time based in Brooklyn) quickly went from playing smaller venues around the city to playing bigger clubs such as Maxwell's and the Mercury Lounge playing with the likes of Rogue Wave, Beach House, David Bazan, and Mark Eitzel, to finally performing at some of the larger venues in the city in 2008, playing with some of the most popular indie bands in the country including Fleet Foxes, She & Him, and Explosions In the Sky at venues such as Bowery Ballroom, Webster Hall, and Terminal 5. They also played several well-received sets a