Ottawa
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Ottawa

Cleveland, Ohio, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Cleveland, Ohio, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Alternative Garage Rock

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Feb
20
Ottawa @ Brite Winter Festival

Cleveland, Ohio, United States

Cleveland, Ohio, United States

Jan
15
Ottawa @ Beachland Ballroom & Tavern

Cleveland, Ohio, United States

Cleveland, Ohio, United States

Dec
05
Ottawa @ Grounds for Change

Meadville, Pennsylvania, United States

Meadville, Pennsylvania, United States

Music

Press


Every now and then a touring band will come through Happy Mondays and just rock your socks off. Don’t get me wrong, all the touring acts that have come through have been fantastic but the one this week really stuck with me. Doing my normal prep for this occasion I must have listened to this week’s act latest album a good six times before the night arrived. That good.

Ottawa, from Cleveland Ohio, made their way in on a week long, eastern tour promoting the release of their most recent single ‘Roman Candle’. This track follows up their debut EP “Random Lights” which was released in December 2014. They are one of the purest, straight ahead, alternative sounding bands that I have heard lately. Nothing flashy, just really good music that you can put on and listen too over and over again. And I did. And again the day after, and the day after that. It served me as great driving music as I made my way back and forth between home and Atlantic City.

My favorite track off the EP ‘Lie To Me’ was not on their shortened set list for the night, but they were kind enough to play it for me after I met them before the festivities began. They are a happy bunch and it shows in their music. Check them out. - Speak Into My Good Eye


I am writing this on a morning when Imagine Dragons appeared in concert on the Today Show. Ottawa is far, far better than them--stronger musically, lyrically, and stylistically. They’re a new band, having formed on Cleveland’s west side in 2014, although the musicians themselves aren’t brand new. Random Lights is their first release, and it’s a fine one, reflecting influences as various as Fleetwood Mac and Oasis, as well as the inevitable Black Keys. The result is a sound that is pop-oriented rock with an edge, part blues and part punk, taking them to a level above many other groups.

They have a several things going for them. First is some excellent material to work with. The songs are really good, all original, with excellent lyrics, sophisticated structures, and nice hooks. A great example is the title track that starts off the album, with its upbeat, insistent rhythm, slightly punkish attitude, and tempo changes and bridges that are consistently interesting. Other songs follow suit, without seeming imitative. Second is Dale DeLong’s vocals, which are not exactly pretty, but highly appealing, and help to sell the songs. He strains at the lyrics, wails a bit, and has a ragged edge (a higher-sounding Billy Idol?). He certainly holds the listener’s attention. The harmonies are good too, especially noticeable in “Tarantino” and “Tempo,” two songs that I find highly appealing. Enormous energy is the third quality, as exemplified by the second track, “The Good Kind,” and its overpowering sound. Finally, the musicians are very capable, with Tim Czajka’s guitar the most noticeable ingredient here. His guitar breaks and punctuation are memorable, stabbing and slashing, and adding to the high energy delivery. The band itself is tight, and the rhythm section is strong. They know what they want to do and do it in a way that is both efficient and organic. They sound like they’ve been playing together for years.

A couple of tracks fall flat for me. “Blondie” is the closest thing to a ballad, and doesn’t move me the way most of the other songs do. “Separator” sounds like Black Keys lite, and the lyrics seem less interesting than the rest of the songs here. Those quibbles aside, the band has done a remarkable job for a debut album. This is music that can stick in your head, which is the key to rock music that lasts. Ottawa will be playing at the House of Blues in August. Catch them when you can.

Personnel: Dale DeLong (vocals), William Hooper (guitar, piano), Tim Czajka (guitar), Chris Williams (bass), Steve Crobar (drums), with additional instrumentation by Suzy Scullin and Jim Stewart.
Tracks: Random Lights, The Good Kind, Lie to Me, Separator, Tarantino, Tempo, Dodge City, Blondie. - Buzzard Tracks


"Every now and then a band is born with the creative potential to thrive and succeed in the music industry. In just 31 minutes, Ottawa’s Random Lights proves that this band is just getting started on their path to success. Ottawa is certainly a random light that shines ever so brightly among all the others."

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Those who went to the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland, Ohio on December 5th were lucky enough to get their first taste of Ottawa’s debut CD, Random Lights, as the 5-piece band headlined with other local acts opening including Cities & Coasts, Midnight Passenger, Johnny La Rock and Furface. If you missed the show, there will be plenty of opportunities in the near future to see Ottawa live, so stay tuned to their webpage.

Random Lights opens up with the title track. Its toe-tapping upbeat tempo immediately throws you into a frenzy of good vibes as lead singer Dale DeLong’s mellifluous voice follows the rhythm up and down effortlessly. The refrain takes a swift pause to reflect with the lyrics “Random lights will always shine” before leading back into the flurry of guitar riffs from Will Hooper and Tim Czajka and drum beats that match DeLong’s pulsating vocals.

The introspective “Lie to Me”, is a song about growing up as the airy chords leads into the lyrics “I’m giving up on getting old.” Also notable is “Separator,” which takes on a garage rock sound with guttural vibrato that can be likened to The Black Keys or Arctic Monkeys.

Anthem-worthy “Tempo,’ a tune that lives up to its name, gives way to a solid, fast cadence from drummer Steve Crobar. “Dodge City” allows for a strong bass line from Chris Williams, while the song falls into a crescendo of sounds that leads you to think it has ended until DeLong’s sultry voice asks, “Why we gotta fight at all? / Take it as it comes,” to which the rest of the band picks back up to bring the song to a strong conclusion.

Every now and then a band is born with the creative potential to thrive and succeed in the music industry. In just 31 minutes, Ottawa’s Random Lights proves that this band is just getting started on their path to success. Ottawa is certainly a random light that shines ever so brightly among all the others.

Random Lights is out today! You can stream it on Spotify or purchase it from the band’s website or directly from iTunes. - Judie Vegh, Midwest Action


"With Random Lights, Ottawa shows that they are far from beginners and can hold their own next to big-time bands with their passion and talent."

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Five-piece Cleveland indie garage-rock band Ottawa is giving big-name bands like Walk The Moon, Black Keys, and Young The Giant a run for their money. With the same roaring, sparkling rhythms and slamming riffs that made other indie bands famous, Ottawa presents their debut EP, Random Lights, 8 tracks of rocking creativity.

An equal mix of pounding anthems and sweet ballads, Random Lights runs the gamut of musical talent. Tracks like “Dodge City” and “The Good Kind” sound like they could have come off an unreleased Black Keys record with their booming instrumentation and strong lyrics. The EP’s title track “Random Lights” is a playful, dance-y track with nods to the fast tempos of Young the Giant and vocal experimentation of Walk The Moon. The true beauty of the EP, though, is “Lie To Me”, a gorgeous, intimate ballad with soft, repetitive instrumentation and impressive, albeit heartbreaking, lyrics.

Lead singer Dale DeLong shines as the band’s frontman, his unique vocals soaring and very similar to Young The Giant’s Sameer Gadhia. With Hooper and Czajka both on guitar, they find an extraordinary chemistry along with Williams’ pure bass lines. On drums, Crobar excels at filling the spaces with groundbreaking percussion. Together, the band is an entity, vibing off each other with a humble but passionate confidence, banging out music that gets people dancing and feeling things to an extreme. With Random Lights, Ottawa shows that they are far from beginners and can hold their own next to big-time bands with their passion and talent.

Buzz Artist got to talk to the guys about their production process, their individual skills, and a few songs they love the most. Check it out right here!

Buzz Artist: First, can you tell us a little about yourselves and your music?
Dale: Will, Steve, Tim and I were in a band together called The Royaltons back in 2009, but it just didn’t work out. Tim, Steve and Will went on to form a new band in the meantime, but that was short-lived, too. In early 2014, we came back together to form Ottawa, and added bass player Chris Williams. This time, it just feels right. It took us a few years, but now our heads are in the right place, we have the same goals and its just been straight momentum since we started.

BA: How does your location of Cleveland, Ohio influence your music?
Dale: When you come from a blue collar city like Cleveland, you are born with a Rust Belt work ethic. We work hard, our sound is big, and we are always trying to grab ahold of something just a little bit bigger than what we had before.

BA: Coming from previous music projects, what do you think of you contribute to the band in terms of skill or personality?
Dale: All of us are influenced by different types of music – Tim is really into Wilco, and you can totally hear that in his riffs. Steve is into punk, Will loves 90s rock and jazz, and Chris is kind of all over the place. I’m the most pop person for sure, but I love classic rock too.
Chris: Tim’s the mom of the band.
Will: We each have our strengths and weaknesses. Chris does killer impressions. Dale brings the over-the-top ambition.
Dale: Steve only speaks when he has something awesome to say, and Will is the virtuoso of the group.

BA: Can you talk about the production process behind your debut EP, Random Lights?
Tim: We recorded Random Lights at Lava Room Studio and Whiteout Studios over the course of a few weeks, then we worked with Jim Stewart, Cleveland’s rock guru/producer. The tracking and mixing came together to make a record that we are all really proud of.

BA: What is the songwriting process like for you guys?
Will: For us, every song starts with one idea. Sometime’s it’s a riff or a chord progression, other times it’s a lyric or a melody… then we build off that idea – just the five of us in a room.”
Dale: The birth of a song is always different. Like Will said, sometimes it starts with a title or just one line.
Will: …and we all finish it together.

BA: What’s your favorite part about doing gigs?
Will: The thirty minutes we are on stage.
Dale: The moment when someone is clapping or singing along with your song.
Tim: The energy I get from the crowd.
Dale: As much as I like playing a show, I love the before and after too. We have a ritual of sorts we do before every show and it gets me so excited to play.

BA: Which track off the EP are you most proud of and why?
Will: I’m proud of the way “Lie to Me” turned out in the studio. That’s the song I play for people the most.”
Dale: “The Good Kind.” It’s the first song that has all five of us written all over it. And overtime I hear it, I can’t believe that I’m in that band that made that song. I’ve never heard a song that sounds like it before.
Steve: I second “The Good Kind.” It’s really catchy and rocking, kind of darker than the other more pop songs. It’s ambitious.

Buzz Artist: Finally, what’s next for you guys?
Chris: We’re looking forward to playing lots of shows in new places, doing some festivals this summer and working toward our first full-length album.
Steve: World domination. - Savannah Davanzo, Buzz Artist


5. “Random Lights”—Ottawa

With talent and confidence to spare, Ottawa’s first EP ranks among the best debut records of 2014. This album’s huge, arena-ready songs are a statement of purpose from a Cleveland band with every intention of conquering the mainstream.

(Recommended Tracks: “Random Lights,” “The Good Kind” and “Lie To Me”) - Case Observer


From Cleveland, Ohio comes a five-piece band called Ottawa. Ottawa is comprised of vocalist Dale DeLong, guitarists Will Hooper and Tim Czajka, bassist Chris Williams, and Steve Crobar on drums. Ottawa presents us with a music video entitled “Fever.” “Fever” was filmed at the Bad Racket Recording Studio located in the band’s hometown. The song begins with clean rhythm guitar and bass, followed by drums. Immediately, the song becomes a head-nodder, and soon enough, you’ll find yourself tapping your foot.

Ottawa creates a blend of garage rock and pop elements. Their influences include Tom Waits, Lou Reed, Smashing Pumpkins, and Portugal. The Man. Relax and enjoy as DeLong soulfully croons. The band cohesively plays with soaring guitar lines, hard-hitting bass and precise drumming. “Fever” will surely get the adrenaline pumping through your veins, leaving you wanting more. Ottawa certainly has the potential to make it big. They are a rare gem slowly creeping out of the dirt and ready to give everyone’s ears a taste of refreshing garage pop music.

Made in January, 2015
Written and Performed by Ottawa (Dale DeLong, Will Hooper, Tim Czajka, Steve Crobar and Chris Williams)
Filmed and Directed by Paul Eaton and Chris Jasinski
Edited by Paul Eaton
Recorded by James Kananen at Bad Racket Recording Studio
Mixed by Jim Stewart - PPcorn


"Ottawa showcases an ability to crank out bouncy pop-rock tunes with the infectious title track as well as “Tempo,” displaying shades of Portugal. The Man in their sound."

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Despite the band’s name, you don’t have to travel north of the border to find Ottawa’s stomping grounds. The garage-pop quintet hails just a couple of hours west in Cleveland, where the members spent time in bands like The Royaltons and Tracy Morgan Freeman before forming Ottawa. Now the Northeast Ohio crew is looking to expand their reach with the release of their debut EP Random Lights, an eight-track dose of fun. Ottawa showcases an ability to crank out bouncy pop-rock tunes with the infectious title track as well as “Tempo,” displaying shades of Portugal. The Man in their sound. It’s not all sonic sweetness, however, as the quintet display some grit on “The Good Kind,” a track that shows off nifty guitar work. Ottawa certainly shows that it can create catchy tunes, and it all makes for a pretty solid debut on Random Lights. - Alex Bieler, Erie Reader


"The smooth guitar intro, noticeable guitar riffs, honest lyrics, and unique vocals are all strung together in a way that creates a song like no other...Besides the fact that the band sounded amazing live the entire time, the crowd was dancing with such contagious energy that it was impossible not to catch their enthusiasm over the band’s music."

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When Victoria and I first walked into the concert last night, we were greeted by the retro lights of a disco ball. Now you have to understand that we’ve never been to a concert when the disco ball was in use, so I was quite enamored with the swimming patterns of light, but after about 30 seconds it became quite nauseating. Even though it could be dizzying at times, the disco ball added a fun flavor to the night that would not have existed had the disco ball been shut away.
The first portion of the night began with two DJs, Johnny La Rock & Furface, who kept with the upbeat vibe the disco ball provided. Following the DJs lively start to the night, Cities & Coasts took the stage. Cities & Coasts is unique in that it is actually a studio collaboration between several members of other local bands — mainly Nathan Hedges of Silverlights, Michael Gould of Welshly Arms, and Jimmy Weaver of Welshly Arms in addition to guest appearances from other Cleveland musicians. Even though the band identifies as indie, their music has a lot of soul which is probably due to the three backing vocalists that took the band’s music to a whole new level last night. Each song had its own catchy melody that made you just want to dance and sway to the music all night long like an 80s high school prom. What I liked most about the band was the fact that they just had positive vibes on stage which really shown through in their music.

Logically, the DJs resumed their positions in between sets before Ottawa took the stage to wrap up the night. Ottawa is a five-piece garage-pop band from Cleveland who just released their debut EP, Random Lights, at the show tonight. Although the band is influenced by a variety of artists such as Steely Dan, Jeff Buckley, and The Strokes, they manage to pull the best from each style to make their music their own. Last night they played music off of their new EP, but there were two songs in particular that really stuck out to me. One would be their original song, “The Good Kind”. The smooth guitar intro, noticeable guitar riffs, honest lyrics, and unique vocals are all strung together in a way that creates a song like no other. The second song that stood out to me last night was their cover of “Another Brick In the Wall” by Pink Floyd. I often times think covers of phonemail songs can be risky because it’s very easy for a band to botch it up, but Ottawa took Pink Floyd’s masterpiece and turned it into a masterpiece of their own. They didn’t try to mimic every single part of the original song, but instead molded it to their band’s style. Besides the fact that the band sounded amazing live the entire time, the crowd was dancing with such contagious energy that it was impossible not to catch their enthusiasm over the band’s music.

All in all, I thought last night’s show was fantastic. Each band was stylistically different, yet similar enough to put on a cohesive show. - Danielle Immerman, Kryptonite Music Magazine


"The Good Kind" has a bit of Black Keys-inspired garage blues and a real swagger to it as its beefy bass riff propels the track."

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Meet the Band: Dale DeLong (vocals), Will Hopper (guitar), Tim Czajka (guitar), Chris Williams (bass), Steve Crobar (drums)

Previous Projects: Most of the band members used to play in the local indie-pop band the Royaltons. That group split up and the guys eventually gravitated back together to form Ottawa. "We kind of broke up, or just ended in cliché band fashion," says DeLong when asked about the Royaltons. "I got a call about 18 months ago from Tim who wanted to start a new project. Since that phone call, it's been straight momentum. It just seems like we're all on the same page and have the same goals. We were a lot younger then and we didn't know what hard work was. We thought we'd just get discovered walking around the mall or something. We realize now that we do have what it takes to be a touring band."

Influences: The band cites acts such as Portugal the Man and the Talking Heads as influences. As DeLong explains it, band members each have different influences. "Tim in particular is really into Wilco and My Morning Jacket and you can hear that in his riffs," he says. "Will is very '90s rock. He likes Oasis and some Motown stuff. I have no idea what Steve listens to. Chris is all over the place, from indie to classic rock. He likes Rush and King Crimson. I'm the most pop person. I'm a sucker for big songs. I love classic rock like Tom Petty and Fleetwood Mac. The first time I saw New Kids on the Block, I knew that's what I wanted to do."

Why You Should Hear Them: The band's new EP offers a nice distillation of its influence. "The Good Kind" has a bit of Black Keys-inspired garage blues and a real swagger to it as its beefy bass riff propels the track. "Lie to Me" starts slow and builds in intensity as DeLong sings, "I'm giving up on getting old." "There's a theme," says DeLong. "When we were in the Royaltons, I went through a partying phase. My dad used to tell me I wasn't going to live that long living like that. 'Lie to Me' is an evolution of the person I was at 23 to the person I am at 29."

Where You Can Hear Them: listentoottawa.com.

Where You Can See Them: Ottawa performs with Midnight Passenger, Cities & Coasts, Johnny LaRock and Furface at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 5, at the Beachland Ballroom. - Jeff Niesel, Cleveland SCENE Magazine


"DeLong and his bandmates have developed a brand of garage pop that merges elements of indie-rock, blues and new wave that's quite melodic and hypnotizing"

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CLEVELAND, Ohio – The members of local rock band Ottawa have been here before.

Longtime friends Dale DeLong, Will Hooper, Steve Crobar and Tim Czajka began their musical journey back in 2009 as The Royaltons. Yet, each of them will tell you that Ottawa, which will perform at Mahall's on April 25, feels different.

"There's something about this band that just feels right," says DeLong, the band's lead singer. "It's what I've been looking for, for the past eight years."

In just six months as Ottawa, DeLong and his bandmates have developed a brand of garage pop that merges elements of indie-rock, blues and new wave that's quite melodic and hypnotizing. The guys were on a similar track with The Royaltons before things derailed.

Five years ago, The Royaltons recorded an album in Chicago and spent the better part of two years building an audience back home in the Cleveland area. However, as the band's buzz grew, so did its lead-singer's bad habits.

"You could just tell the timing wasn't right," recalls DeLong. "We had the material to make it work, but in our heads we were forcing it a bit."

DeLong admits he developed an abrasive personality fueled by substance abuse, which led him in and out of rehab. Eventually his bandmates chose to move on without him.

Hooper, Crobar and Czajka formed a new band called Tracy Morgan Freeman with Hooper as lead-singer. The band released a solid EP ("Casual Encounters"), but never quite clicked.

"It was kind of like having a rebound girlfriend," Czajka admits. "It was working, but we weren't as into it. That's why it was short-lived."

The bandmembers took some time off to regroup before reaching out to DeLong, who had been rehabilitated and hoping for another shot.

"I was sitting around, jealous of what they had going," DeLong says. "I kept wondering when I was going to get that call."

DeLong got the call and things have been moving fast ever since. Ottawa quickly added Chris Williams on bass and has written more than a half-dozen songs. The standout thus far is "The Good Kind," an indie rock jam that finds DeLong stretching his vocals to new heights.

Ottawa played its first show in February, opening up for The Soil & the Sun at the Grog Shop. The band followed up with a performance at last month's Cellar Door Rendezvous festival and is now looking forward to releasing its debut EP.

"I was very, very nervous starting out again," says DeLong. "But I'm a dreamer. As soon as this band started playing, I was like, 'We're going to be amazing.'" - Troy L. Smith, Northeast Ohio Media Group


"The best performance of the night came courtesy of garage pop act Ottawa. The combination of lead-singer Dale DeLong's enticing voice and guitarist Will Hooper's blistering guitar work made for quite a show as fans piled in the tavern to see the five-piece."

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CLEVELAND, Ohio – You have to hand it to the people behind the Cellar Door Rendezvous music fest, which kicked off its two-day run at Beachland Ballroom and Tavern Friday night. They sure know how to pick music.

That was clear right from the start with festival opener Midnight Passenger. Frontman Tony Zaro led the band through an energetic set that served as an effective advertisement for the band's forthcoming new album. Note to local music fans: You should definitely buy it.

Cellar Door showcased nine Cleveland-area bands Friday night, alternating them on stages in Beachland's larger ballroom and the tavern next door. While it was all great music, the smaller tavern stage surprisingly featured the standout acts.

Bluesman James Douglas and his band wowed with a straightforward set that highlighted Douglas' incredible voice. "Come on up here," Douglas' bassist told the crowd. "It's a Friday night." The audience happily obliged.

Perhaps the best performance of the night came courtesy of garage pop act Ottawa. The combination of lead-singer Dale DeLong's enticing voice and guitarist Will Hooper's blistering guitar work made for quite a show as fans piled in the tavern to see the five-piece.

Cleveland favorite The Lighthouse and the Whaler closed out the night, which appeared to draw at least a few hundred people. Cellar Door Rendezvous will be back at it again on Saturday night with nine more acts, including Seafair, Ohio Sky and So Long, Albatross. - Troy L. Smith, Northeast Ohio Media Group


Discography

RANDOM LIGHTS EP 

Released December 5th, 2014

Track Listing:

1. Random Lights
2. The Good Kind
3. Lie to Me
4. Separator
5. Tarantino
6. Tempo
7. Dodge City
8. Blondie

Key Tracks: Random Lights, The Good Kind, Lie to Me and Dodge City

Photos

Bio

Through high school friendships, two Craig's List ads (Musicians Wanted, not Missed Connections), and a few years of trial and error, OTTAWA was born on Cleveland's west side in the winter of 2014.

Since then, lead singer Dale DeLong, guitarists Will Hooper and Tim Czajka, drummer Steve Crobar and bassist Chris Williams have developed a sound described by Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter Troy Smith as "a brand of garage pop that merges elements of indie-rock, blues and new wave that's quite melodic and hypnotizing." That unique sound is a result of the band's diverse influences, including The Killers, Oasis, Fleetwood Mac, The Velvet Underground, and even 90s pop groups.

According to DeLong, good music "stops you in your tracks and paralyzes you for a moment," and the band's debut EP, "Random Lights," released in December 2014, is a collection of songs that do just that. Throughout the EP,  Ottawa's dynamic sound
shifts from the adrenaline-pumping "The Good Kind," to the contemplative "Lie to Me," and has been hailed as "one of the best debut albums of 2014."

In 2015, "Tempo" was featured on the premiere of the Food Network's "Top 5 Restaurants," and numerous tracks from Random Lights have appeared on the Bravo show "Flipping Out" throughout its seventh season.

Judie Vegh of Midwest Action also praised the EP and Ottawa, exclaiming that, "Every now and then a  band is born with the creative potential to thrive and succeed in the music industry...Random Lights proves that this band is just getting started on their path to success. Ottawa is certainly a random light that shines ever so brightly among all the others."

Ottawa's Roman Candle Tour took the band throughout the northeastern US in the summer of 2015, and they are currently working on recording their first full-length album.

Band Members