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Denver, Colorado, United States | SELF

Denver, Colorado, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Rock




"WMS Denver with Built to Spill"

It took a while for Overcasters frontman Kurt Ottaway to get his guitar rig dialed in. His wasn't getting any sound out of his blue Gretsch, so he took a wrench out of his toolbox and tried tightening the input jack. The room was nearly completely full by time Ottaway gave up trying to fix the Gretsch and went with a different guitar instead and started the set about ten minutes late. But it was the worth the wait. Drummer Erin Tidwell pounded out the tom-heavy beats on a stunning new white drum set while Ottaway and guitarist John Nichols laid down thick and fuzzy reverb-drenched riffs. The Fluid's John Robinson and Garrett Shavlik stopped by to check out the psych-rock set.

Verdict: It might have been a short set, but Overcasters packed a hell of a punch to just a few songs.
- Westword

"The Black Angels at The Bluebird Theater"

If you are looking for the perfect soundtrack to plug into the 8-track of your Huey helicopter as you fly over the jungle, the Black Angels have you covered. If this description sounds overly dramatic, consider that the group has a single called “The First Vietnamese War” and a side project called Viet Minh, specifically referencing the resistance group that pushed the French out of Vietnam.

The Black Angels emerged from thick fog on Tuesday to lay down their aggressive psychedelic rock before a sold out crowd of mostly male hipsters at the Bluebird Theater. Featuring fuzzy guitars, dramatic arrangements, retro keyboards and spacey vocals, the band is a rolling sonic assault on stage.

Showcasing tracks from their latest release, “Phosphene Dream,” the band exploded with familiar songs like “Bad Vibrations,” the antithesis of the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations.” It was dark and dramatic and filled with heavy distortion.

On “Phosphene Dream” the band took a wandering, distorted journey with choppy vocals and heavy effects. The better known “Black Grease” from the band’s “Passover” album worked the crowd into utter frenzy.

The Black Angels is one of those bands that make better live music than recorded, which is saying quite a lot. Their most recent release marks the band’s first time working with a producer and features considerably shorter and more concise tracks than their previous works. These same songs were given new energy and breadth in a live setting.

“Run for the hills, pick up your feet and let’s go,” the band sang on the closing “Young Dead Men,” but it was clear that the crowd really had no interest in going anywhere.

The Denver-based band Overcasters opened the show projecting trippy visuals alongside their echoing, expansive, fuzzy rock sound and set the mood just right before the Black Angels took flight. - Denver Post

"Overcasters slated to record with Rick Parker. BRMC, Vonbondies producer"

http://blogs.westword.com/backbeat/2010/01/the_overcasters_slated_to_reco.php#more - Westword

"The Fluid, Overcasters in Brooklyn"

http://www.brooklynvegan.com/archives/2009/01/the_fluid_music.html - Brooklyn Vegan

"Peter Hook and The Light at The Bluebird Theater"

It was to be expected that Peter Hook & the Light would be playing Unknown Pleasures in its entirety, and that it wouldn't be a half-hearted and insincere attempt at re-creating that music live. What was not expected was the intensity with which the band played. Also surprising were the moments of departure from the original, such as the rendition of "I Remember Nothing," the track that closed the original album on a note of unremitting personal darkness. Hook's vocals evoked the haunting desolation of the original while the band created an alternate sense of brooding atmospheres that used echoing guitar noises, sharp punctuations of sound and short leaks of white noise from the synth to stand in for the clatter of objects in the background. It's the kind of song that shouldn't work live on a collection of songs filled with seething internalized anger. But this lineup managed to make that most uncharacteristic of Unknown Pleasures tracks work.

Overcasters were clearly from the same lineage as Joy Division, especially through the post-punk bands with more creative guitar ideas in the early to late '80s, but with more psychedelic edges. While not short on brooding atmospheres, such as in "The Kiss of Sister Ray," Overcasters once again exorcised melancholy feelings by making its songs burn through the dead weight of a heavy heart rather than dwell on getting stuck in low points. Guitarist John Nichols often had a look of concerned bewilderment, as though he'd just realized his power as a musician for the first time. The set ended with a newer number where the dynamics are centered around the release of tension after a dense and insistent percussion build.

Peter Hook & the Light came on stage after an introduction in the form of "Trans-Europe Express," by Kraftwerk. With little in the way of further introduction, the band went straight into the driving "No Love Lost," and from the beginning, those guys erased any ideas that this show might not be up to snuff. "Leaders of Men," "Glass" and "Digital" followed in quick succession, and Hook, while not possessing a voice with the same character as Ian Curtis, pulled off the nuances of the vocals that did justice to the spirit of the original songs.

Hook and the band played Unknown Pleasures straight through -- starting, of course, with "Disorder," and for a second it seemed so odd, like actually getting to see a latter-day incarnation of Joy Division. This was partly because guitarist Nat Wason really did have his parts down, and he played with a precision and intensity that was at times unnerving -- because even when he did depart from the original songs in any way, he seemed to do so with a perfect understanding of the essence of the song and interpreted what needed to be done, like he was somehow channeling a young Bernard Sumner. The absolute master of his instrument was consistently awe-inspiring, because he absolutely, truly seemed to be infused with the spirit of what Joy Division was all about.... - Westword

"Erin Tidwell of Overcasters"

Yes, it is perfectly normal to be left standing in complete shock after watching an Overcasters’ show. There is no denying how incredible the band is. However, you are struggling to process the tornado that just demolished the white Redline Pearl Reference Series drum kit on stage with them. The person you caught a glimpse of behind the drums appears to be 5’6”, blonde, and puts off more energy than a gamma ray. Do not panic, for it is no rabid animal or crazed robot. Rather, you are just witnessing Erin Tidwell do what she does best; obliterate her drums without missing a beat. It is safe to say that from the moment Erin first picked up her sticks at twelve years old, she has hardly set them down in the sixteen years since. In her current band, Overcasters, Erin leaves all those that witness her madness in awe of her talent and passion. I was lucky enough to sit down with the drummer to ask her some questions and to try and figure out why she is so – for lack of better words – crazy (behind the drums, that is).

-By Maggie Gulasey
Photo by Sean hartgrove

Full name: Erin Tidwell
Age: 28
Hometown: Denver
Where do you live now: Denver
Bands you are drumming in currently: Overcasters
Bands you were drumming for in the past: Flashbangs, Cowboy Curse, Hot House
What do you do for a living: Drum.

Tom Tom Magazine: So Erin, I have seen you play many times. I am pretty sure after every show you have finger that is either broken, just about broken, gushing blood, swollen, or just straight up gnarly looking. What’s up with that?
Erin Tidwell: I think I just get caught up in the moment. I get really aggressive and into the music. I have a lot of adrenaline going and I don’t realize that I hurt myself. When I play, I give it everything I have and sometimes that means sacrificing a finger or two.

Tom Tom Magazine: Why do you play so aggressively?
Erin Tidwell: I call it “anger management.” Truly, though, playing the drums is my therapy. It is a release. After I play, I feel like all the stresses and bulls**t of the day and the week are all alleviated after I play a show and take it out on the drums. I also play so aggressively because I am passionate about playing the drums and passionate about the music our band makes and want to give it everything I have.

TTM: I think your passion is pretty evident when watching you play. How old were you when you started playing and who taught you?
ET: I was 12 when I first started playing. My parents let me take over my brother’s room when he moved out and I turned it into my very own music space. I remember sitting in that room for hours upon hours with my CD player and headphones and I would listen and play along to songs on the drums all day and all night (or until the neighbors complained). So, I was self-taught. After a while I got up the nerve to try and start my own band and was then able to develop my skills even more.

TTM: Though you may have been self-taught, you are now giving drum lessons to little kids. Why do you do it and what’s your teaching philosophy? And do your kids leave their lesson with broken fingers? Just kidding.
ET: Why do I do it? Because I think that it is very essential for kids to get involved with music at an early age. Especially girls. Kids are awesome and absorb information like a sponge. I think it is good for them to learn an instrument, like the drums, because it is important for creativity and self-expression. I also like encouraging girls in particular because I know how hard it was for myself playing drums in a male-dominated activity. There were so many times I felt discouraged being a female and trying to compete with all these boys that would tease me. I want to be that person that is there for these girls telling them to not give up and they can do anything they set their mind to. Oh, and no broken fingers. Just smiles.

TTM: Who or what pushes you to be a better drummer?
ET: Myself. Definitely. I am always challenging myself to be more creative and innovative with my beats and music. You could say I am motivated by the fact that there is always room for growth and improvement.

TTM: Who are your favorite drummers?
ET: Old: Keith Moon and John Bonham. New: Janet Weiss and Dave Grohl.

TTM: Where do you shop for your drum gear?
ET: Drum City/Guitarland in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. I have been shopping there since I was a kid. I bought my last three drum sets there! I like it because they are a small, independent shop and very knowledgeable.

TTM: What would your last meal on Earth be?
ET: Chicken Tikka Masala. It makes me feel really good.

TTM: Delicious. What do you do for fun besides drumming?
ET: Cook, geek out on motorcycles, watch Dexter and True Blood, and listen to music.

TTM: When is the next chance people can catch you and your energetic self live?
ET: My band, Overcasters, will be opening up for Peter Hook and The Light performing Joy Divisions Unknown Pleasures at the Bluebird Theater and Denver, Colorado on September 19th, 2011. - Tom Tom Magazine

"Cloud Cover"

As monikers go, Overcasters is a magnificent name for a rock-and-roll band, especially one as noisy, tempestuous and imposing as the outfit that Kurt Ottaway leads. It also happens to be an apt metaphor for the ominous pall that's hung over the musician's endeavors from the very beginning.

Every significant event in his career — from the genesis of Ottaway's previous groups to the founding of his current band and the recording of its latest release, the fittingly titled The Whole Sea Is Raging — has been marked by some sort of turmoil, starting with an automobile accident right around his 21st birthday. "I almost died in a car crash," says Ottaway, a stalwart of the scene who's influenced countless musicians over the years. He was heading home from deejaying on a rain-slicked evening when his car stalled in the middle of an intersection and was broadsided. The impact was so violent that Ottaway's vehicle was sent barreling through the intersection and into a retaining wall, then flipped over into a field, knocking him unconscious.

"I woke up in the hospital, and they were picking shards of vinyl out of my face with a big syringe," he recalls. "I literally had my records embedded in my face because they shattered so much. That's how Twice Wilted came about."

"That's how Kurt starts all of his bands," says Erin Tidwell, Overcasters' time-keeper and Ottaway's significant other. "There's these little signs."

Indeed. Tarmints, the band that came after Twice Wilted, followed another momentous, life-altering event.

"This is a very dark thing. I'm just going to go ahead and divulge it," Ottaway confides. "I went out to the West Coast. I was very depressed about losing Twice Wilted, and I moved. I got out there, and I tried to get something going, and I just couldn't — I don't think I had quite the wherewithal, and people really didn't understand where I was coming from, and it was so cliquey and so transient in San Francisco.

"I tried and tried," he continues. "Set up practices. Put ads in the Guardian — 'Fearless frontman,' whatever. I got a bit depressed. I wrote a ton of songs, and I got to be a better guitar player. I spent a lot of time thinking by myself. I just got to the point where I was, like, ready to, like.... One day I woke up and I said, 'I've had it.' You know, I don't even really know where I fit here in the world at all. I said, 'I'm just going to cruise down to I-80, and I'm going to throw myself off a fucking bridge, man, because I've had it.'"

Ottaway's frustration with the music was compounded by the disintegration of a long-term relationship back in Denver. As everything began to pile up, he felt pushed to the brink. "Whether anybody wants to admit it, I think everybody grapples with that," he says. "That was my lowest point. I was heartbroken. I had lost a woman that I had been involved with for eight or nine years.

"I got down there to the bridge, and I watched the traffic going and realized how fast I could end it," he recalls, "and I don't know what it was, but I actually had the guts to call my mom. I said, 'Mom, you'd better just book a U-Haul, because I'm coming home — or else I'm going to die out here.' By the time I hit Denver, I had bass, drums and guitar, and we started working. And that's pretty much how the Tarmints started."

The origin of Overcasters was no less traumatic. Ottaway was swept away by Tidwell's powerful drumming in the band Cowboy Curse, and she admired his work, too, which led to the two striking up a friendship — and then a freak accident inspired them to take that relationship to the next level. One day, Ottaway got caught in the middle of a fight between his Chesapeake Bay retrievers. Before he could separate the two, one of his treasured dogs tore mercilessly into his picking hand, causing a severe wound that essentially left his thumb hanging. "Erin was there," Ottaway recalls. "I had a Tarmints gig coming up, and I didn't know if I could play guitar."

"But you still rocked it," Tidwell remembers.

"They put one stitch through this big flap," says Ottaway, "and I wrapped up most of my hand, held my pick, took a whole bunch of ibuprofen and just went. After that, I just said, 'You know what, Erin? You've got my full attention. Let's go.'" She'd been adamant about wanting to play with him in a band, and the time was finally right.

"It's kind of like every time there's been something traumatic in my life, it always kicks me up a notch," Ottaway explains. "Supposedly my whole astrological sign is based on that whole rebirth. I almost lost my hand, and that's when I started Overcasters. I figured, well, I may not be able to do this forever. I'd better get on the stick."
And get on the stick he has. Since forming Overcasters with Tidwell and guitarist John Nichols in 2007, Ottaway has taken the scene by storm, with a distinctive, thick, punishing sound that recalls an array of acts — everything from Swervedriver and Spacemen 3 to the 77's and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club — and an arresting, projection-heavy live show. Overcasters' debut album, Revolectrocution, like Ottaway's previous releases, was a self-recorded, self-released affair. "I love DIY recordings," Ottaway admits. "I listen to our first record, and I'm like, 'Man, that's really cool. I like what I did there. I like the chronological progression.' But I think now you can put this record on anywhere, and it has the impact of how we sound live. It's a little bit more live and a little bit more alive."

Sure enough, as impressive as that debut was, The Whole Sea Is Raging displays a stirring sense of vitality. Produced by Rick Parker, a well-regarded producer who's worked with acts ranging from BRMC to the Von Bondies, the record boasts an immediacy of fidelity. The drums absolutely explode in tandem with Matt Regan's hulking bass lines, providing a brawny low end that sharply contrasts with Ottaway's careening guitar work without diluting the clarity of his vocals, which glide assuredly on top.

Kurt Ottaway (from left), Samantha Donen, Erin Tidwell and John Nichols are Overcasters.
Overcasters CD-release party and Gathering of the Clouds festival, with the Swayback, the Buckingham Squares, Gangcharger and more, 9:30 p.m. Thursday, October 21, through Saturday, October 23, Weather Center, 1401 Zuni Street, $8-$15 (weekend), 720-280-2157.
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Kurt OttawayErin TidwellRick ParkerBlack Rebel Motorcycle ClubArts, Entertainment, and Media"A lot of indie bands are afraid to put the drums up front," Ottaway notes. "But Parker, all of his recordings, man, the vocals and drums are up front without sacrificing the atmosphere of the instruments. I think he really nails that."

That's high praise from Ottaway, a seasoned vet who's spent years in the studio perfecting his craft. The Whole Sea Is Raging marks the first time he's handed the reins over to somebody else — a daunting prospect initially, but one that ultimately paid off. "It was tough at first," he admits. "You know, maybe for the first twenty minutes...he pretty much said to me, 'Hey, man, you're here to enjoy this. You're allowed to be the musician for once. That's it. Just be the musician. Be the songwriter. Be the guy singing this tune.'

"He was very exact, very precise," Ottaway adds. "He didn't give me a lot of room to tell him what to do. I've tracked so much and I've been in his position so much, he didn't have to say anything; I knew where he was going. The vocal sessions — next thing I knew, they were done. He was like, 'All right, we're done.' I'm like, 'Wait, ten songs, in the can, done, vocals and everything?' He's like, 'Yeah, really good use of time, guys.'"

In fact, they didn't have any time to waste. Ottaway and company had only four days in the studio with Parker, so they needed to get things right from the start.

"We went in there with a healthy dose of fear," Ottaway confesses. "I mean, you're supposed to be fearless, but you go in with a healthy dose of fear and a little bit of 'This guy's a real cat,' I think. It makes you a little sharper. What happens is the little VU meter kind of comes up, and it's right on that fear, and then all of a sudden, once you loosen up and everything kind of hits, it trips over into the good meter."

And Ottaway and Overcasters (whose lineup now includes bassist Samantha Donen) keep tripping the good meter. Despite the gloom suggested by the act's name and the seemingly doomed trajectory of its frontman, the sun seems to have finally broken free of the clouds. Raging not only represents Ottaway's best work to date, but it's a positively exhilarating and uplifting listening experience.

"It's like anything, man," Ottaway reflects. "Nothing really great is going to come simply or easily. It's not going to drift across."


"Whole Sea is Raging Review"

There is a distinct magic that many people have forgotten over the last two or three decades, and one that many of today's music listening public has never even experienced - the magic of putting the needle down on a newly-gotten chunk of vinyl and hearing the pops and hiss and then the magical opening notes of a finely made record album. That magic was recently lived by me as I got a chance to hear the latest record from Overcasters before it was released. I grabbed my borrowed copy and called a friend who I knew had a killer turntable and stereo set-up and headed over for some great listening. From the moment the needle dropped onto the record, I was entranced and smiling. The magic of the experience was as beautiful and as meaningful as the music, but as soon as the music started, it overpowered everything else.

Led by Kurt Ottoway - a longtime member of the Colorado music scene with his fantastic former bands Twice Wilted and The Tarmints - Overcasters conjure a noisome, trancey shoegaze filled with roaring drums, throbbing basslines, and wildly howling guitars that nearly mask the beautiful and oftentimes delicate melodies that form the heart of the music. Ottoway's guitars play beautifully off of guitarist John Nichols' guitars, each one finding its own space within the mix, layered in feedback and melody to create maximum effect. Erin Tidwell plays the drums like a devil on a mission… there are no easy passages on The Whole Sea Is Raging, even when Tidwell lays back there is an urgency and a power to the drumming that leaves no space for calm. Ottoway's newest songs are his strongest to date; each is filled with a power and a reflection similar to that which his songs have always possessed, but the directness and strength of the delivery, the clarity, are more pronounced than ever before. It seems Ottoway has found some sort of uneasy truce with his demons as he seeks to exorcise them in these newer songs.

The sound of The Whole Sea Is Raging draws heavily from some pretty classic sources, and is enhanced heavily by the participation of Rick Parker, who produced the record as well as mixed it. Parker has been responsible for some pretty amazing records over the past decade, not the least of which are two Black Rebel Motorcycle Club records, including probably their deepest and densest record, Howl. Parker also understands the British influence in noisy pop, he produced the initial offerings by the mid-90's Manchester-influenced The Shore. Drawing heavily on and enhancing their own musical backgrounds, Parker was a perfect choice to bring out the magic in Overcasters' sound on their debut long player. More than once on The Whole Sea Is Raging are we reminded of the aforementioned BRMC and their clear sonic ties to The Jesus And Mary Chain. Even more prevalent is a melodic and compositional feeling that ties directly to Brit stalwarts Echo And The Bunnymen, and their short side project Electrafiction. Nichols' contributions to the sound dig heavily into the magic bag of bands like Ride and My Bloody Valentine as he coaxes sounds from his guitars that take melodies and strangle them and run them through the wringer, only to emerge somehow more beautiful than when they went in.

Take a listen to "A Jagular", a track that begins with a mystical, almost rockabilly, guitar line (Remember the early days of The Cult? Yeah. Like that.) before launching into a full blown sonic maelstrom of guitar wonder, all backed by a tremendously solid rhythm section. At no point are the guitars over-done, or stepping on each other. There is a precious space within the vortex of sound that allows everything to breathe nicely and interact magically with the other instruments, and especially with Ottoway's vocals. The turnarounds on "In The Clouds" are saturated in late 1980's melodic leanings, pulling the song in a direction fairly unexpected. In between guitar bursts that are as beautiful as anything The Catherine Wheel ever played, there is a melancholic sweetness as Ottoway reaches into his higher register to find a clearer singing path, reminding this set of ears of a very late '80's voice that I can't quite place. Side A (more LP lingo) finishes up with another rocker, "Vertigo". This song has the drive and push and spirit and grit of BRMC, and really shows Parker's hand in things. The band digs into a slower, bluesier groove, working in more subtle dynamic touches as the music ebbs and flows, waves of sound fading out and then exploding back in as if for the kill.

Side B has a little different spirit as it begins with a slower, dirge-heavy track ("Psychopomps") that leads into the almost-poppy "Take The Sun", a track with a brilliant melody line that lilts beautifully among the battling guitars. The guitars in "Who Do You Think You Aren't" have a much more mid-90's flavor, recalling Twice Wilted's unique voice, as the drums rely more on toms and move in and out of crashing waves of sound. This is where the band's sound becomes much more cinemagraphic, realizing a sound that is as visual as it is auditory, filled with brilliant colors and swirling patterns. "Conjure" is the slowest track on the LP, taking the tempo down a notch and trading a bit of overt power for atmosphere. The guitars are gritty and spend their time moving back and forth as the crescendo builds to when the song finally breaks free. Closing side B is the powerful "The Tide", a song that is as deliberate and as spooky as it is beautiful. The song rides a wave of bass guitar and solid drumming, the guitars working in and out, twisting melodies into buzzsaw grinds and feedback-heavy drones as Ottoway's voice breaks through the morass to punctuate the changes.

However, all of this great music might not have even been reached without the opening album track "Kiss Of Sister Ray". The first thing you hear when the needle lands on The Whole Sea Is Raging is the steadfast and puissant drumming of Erin Tidwell. Then launch the dueling guitars and throbbing bass before Ottoway lays in with his vocals, completing the brilliant torrent of sound. An excellent start to what turns out to be a really, really fine record. The Whole Sea Is Raging is probably one of the finest records to ever come out of the Denver area… if not the finest.

One of the greatest things about record albums, other than their sound and vibe, is their length. A vinyl album never overstays its welcome and oftentimes, such as this, it leaves far too soon. Nine songs and roughly 34 minutes makes for a great album length, but when the needle came off of side two of The Whole Sea Is Raging, it definitely left me wanting for more. Perhaps a double album next time would be just about right…

All you kids go out and find a turntable and the new Overcasters record and see just how great your musical life can be.


"Overcasters Bring Stormy Sound"

In this tech-savvy music age, it is refreshing to see a band make a conscious effort to revive the power of the guitar. Denver-based band, Overcasters, resurrect an army of guitars to the stage, layering them in a torrent of sonic mayhem. Their debut, The Whole Sea Is Raging, is composed of moody power rock songs which sort of sounds like the vicious churn of an untamed ocean of sound. The album was recorded back in May by Los Angeles producer Rick Parker, and is about to release on October 22nd – just in time for Halloween! In fact, Overcasters is a little spooky and fall is a perfect time of year to rock out to their dreary, hard-hitting sound. Their music is like rain shimmering on a hard, black pavement lit up by a street light in the dead of night – where something ominous could occur at any moment. The Whole Sea Is Raging hazily recalls the layered psychedelic guitar anthems of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and Kurt Ottaway’s forceful baritone is drenched in darkness with a hint of Nick Cave influence. Erin Tidwell’s tom heavy drum syncopation keeps the band grounded with the help of bassist, Sam Doom, while Ottaway and John Nichols play out a sinister drone on their screaming guitars. Overall, Overcasters are probably best enjoyed in stormy weather, or to console a stormy heart. This fall they will be taking their sound to the stage across the stage in support of the new record. - Outsider Music Blog

"Denver Post Ricardo Baca"

Overcasters. This is one of those bands that needs to be seen to be understood and felt. They started playing out last year, and I was constantly running into people who were surprised by “what they sounded like.” Now I can see why. The Overcasters play the kind of music that could score your dreams in those deep hours of rapid eye movement sleep. Peek through the gauzy guitars and all those instrumental effects and you’ll hear a familiar voice — singer-guitarist Kurt Ottaway — although you’ve never quite heard this side of him before.Ottaway is best known as the man behind Twice Wilted and Tarmints, the latter of which broke up recently. His new project — with Erin Tidwell, Jeremy Ziehe and John Nichols — is decidedly a more psychedelic and emotive, layered, pop-oriented rock outfit that’s as pretty as it is spooky. It helps, too, that the band played against a video wall of projected psychedelia at their Bar Standard set on Saturday — something that may seem like an indulgence, but it’s actually more of necessity, given the symbiotic relationship of the music and the visuals. - Denver Post

"Overcasters Hoboken"

http://blogs.westword.com/backbeat/2009/01/the_fluid_at_maxwells_in_hobok.php - VVM


Space blues mind fuckery. - The Onion

"The Fluid to play two East Coast dates with Overcasters"

What was it Michael Corleone said in The Godfather? "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in"? That quote could certainly apply to the Fluid. The act, which had initially just intended to get back together for a few shows leading up to Sub Pop's 20th Anniversary celebration, recently announced two more shows in New York and New Jersey. The first gig is slated to take place at Maxwell's on Friday, January 16, followed by a show the next night at Williamsburg Music Hall in Brooklyn. Props to the Overcasters, who have been tapped to open both shows. Hell, yeah, we say! Can't imagine a cooler band to get the nod. And God help those East Coast cats. If those shows end up being half as good as the ones we witnessed this past summer at the Larimer and the Bluebird, they won't know what the fuck hit 'em. -- Dave Herrera - Dave Hererra

"Truth Blog"

Your clothes vibrated, the rest of the world melted away and you were immersed in pure sound, a make-you-smile-for-hours great sound.
- Linda Ruth Carter

"Westword Q&A"

It's been a while since we've come across a flier that struck us as cool enough to post in Pole Position. That said, we think this one touting the Overcaster's CD release party this Saturday night at the Falcon more than qualifies. And while we're on the subject of the band, here's the transcript from Tom Murphy's recent conversation with the band, excerpts of which are running in the November 6 issue of the paper. -- Dave Herrera

Westword (Tom Murphy): How did you come up with the name Overcasters?

Erin Tidwell: Kurt came up with the name before the band even started.

Kurt Ottaway: I just liked the name. But originally I had this crappy Fender guitar. It was supposed to be a Telecaster, and my roommate at the time came in and asked, “What the hell is that guitar you’re playing?” And I said, “It’s actually an Overcaster.” He said, “No, seriously.” It’s basically a Tele made from parts that somebody loaned to me.

John Nichols: I think the name doesn’t paint us into any particular corner.

KO: We’re definitely a rain band. Some days you get up and the sun is shining and the day changes. It’s right at that time the day changes and moves into something different, that’s sort of the message of the band. It could be clouds covering the sun.

WW: When you started the band, you said that the music was going to be driven by love instead of some of the other emotions that seemed to inform the music of some of your other bands, Kurt. Why is that?

KO: I just don’t believe in inflicting the damage of my damaged psyche on the world anymore. I would rather convey a message of hope than one of despair. There’s enough negativity around me and I’ve embraced that for long enough. Not that I don’t have negative moments in my life, but I don’t like to dwell on them. I don’t like to embrace them for the sake of trying to purge. I don’t need it anymore.

JN: When you get away from the lyrics, in the arrangements of the music, there’s always an element of being triumphant. If it explodes, it’s something over on the beautiful side of things rather than on making it worse. The stuff I’ve always done is to paint things as they should be rather than be observant of things as they are. There’s enough of that out there, and I’d rather have a little bit of an imaginative, hopeful content to the music rather than purely document the ugliness — which is what a lot of music does. I don’t have a lot of interest in doing that at all. I never have.

KO: No one else’s agenda, no one else’s time frame. Is it modern? Is it ancient? Is it “psychedelic New Wave”? Who gives a damn? It’s just an expression of all the things we love from the past and present. And the fact that we’re just genuinely appreciative that we get to play together. I couldn’t have made this record if I didn’t have a great love for the people in this band because it pushed me to do things that I normally would have never been able to express because they gave me an environment to just thrive.

WW: Is there a rhyme and reason to your use of projections during the live show?

JN: You gotta put on a show.

ET Anyone can get up on stage in their jeans and a t-shirt and play their rock music. But I think there’s a reason for the visuals. There’s thought put into every single one of them. They don’t go directly with the lyrics all the time, but they do go with the song.

JN: They can support or put forward what’s going on with the song. Shane Williams did a lot of hard work to get things that jibe with what we feel the songs are about. There’s no reason not to put on a performance. You need to remove people from their immediate surroundings. Our particular thing is a really loud, psychedelic rock trip thing.

KO: For me, there are so many bands in the world, and they get up on stage and play their instruments – most of them look like guitars. Most of them sit behind drum kits. Most of them stand behind microphones. You could be a metal band. You could be an Americana band. You could be something in between. You could be Britney Spears, whatever. Why do what someone else is doing? Why not, instead of just appealing to those few senses, try to appeal to as many senses as you can. Because, then, people won’t just be coming to see your band performing on stage; they’ll be coming to see an experience.

JN: It puts us into that experience. Sometimes even during rehearsal, we have that stuff going on. Sure, it may look like we’re in some bad Julien Temple video, but at the time, it feels great; it pulls you up; it leaves a stronger impression. I’m into that situationist flash of something that pulls you somewhere else.

KO: When Shane throws that stuff against the wall, it feels like you’re inside of it. And when you’re playing music inside of it, it’s like being seven- or eight-years-old and your parents say, “Hey, we’re going to Elitch’s,” and you say, “Alright!” I want this band to be like you have cotton candy in one hand and popcorn in the other and we’re on Mr. Twister. We’re just going ballistic with all the senses because it’s fun.

JN: I had been playing and stopped, particularly because I was so tired of what playing out in a local band feels like. Sitting at the bar, talking with the other bands until it’s your turn to go up for an abbreviated sound check, poorly attended set with a terrible mix, and then go right back to the bar with your drink tickets.

That has nothing to do with what we do now. I was very trepidatious about coming back into playing but so far it’s been fun, like when you’re a kid imagining what it’s like to be in a band, like that movie Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains. Can we do that and not worry about what other people are doing with their bands?

It always has this playhouse mentality. We come to practice and occasionally do it in public. I have as much fun as rehearsals as I do playing live. Maybe I play a little harder live. Rehearsals are not fluorescent affairs either; it’s vibe intensive, which is nice. It’s a break from other things.

WW: Kurt, in the past your lyrics have had a literary quality to them as though they’re mini-short stories rather than strictly poetry. Is this something you’ve continued with Overcasters?

KO: Yeah, there are stories. I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say anything I’ve ever done is poetry. As for a literary quality, I guess, at this point, I’ll go ahead and crucify myself and say that I’m just trying to convey the honesty of how I live life and how I feel about the things that touch me. Affairs of the heart, to be sure, but there’s still some of that old crackle and burn there.

Unfortunately, for the listener, a lot of times, the musician feels that he needs to challenge himself, and that always means change. And when you love a band the way that it already is and it changes, it might be an improvement for you the listener or it might be something boring. I don’t want to sit here and write a bunch of self-absorbed, melancholy extensions of my personality without a story behind it.

I sing what I feel, and I think that’s all anyone should do if they’re in a band based on emotion. John’s said this so many times and it’s true: There’s so many bands that are emotionally unspecific in any way. They don’t convey any feeling except, “We’re up here and we’re rocking out!” And that’s great. There’s plenty of room for that.

WW: Are there any themes on your new record?

KO: There’s songs about hope and electrocution, betrayal, disapproval, love -- any emotion you can stir up.

ET: How about hate?

KO: Not that one. I think I’ve mentioned hate on every album I’ve ever done, but I don’t think I mention it once on this one.

WW: You recorded this album entirely at your home studio. How long of a process has that been, and what are the good sides of recording that way instead of a more traditional studio? Are there any limitations you experienced?

JN: Some of it was probably budget-related, but it had to be scalable and controllable because we’re a band full of control freaks. Because we very much know what we want to do, and we figured we could pull it off ourselves, and it probably came from the idea that we could record some practices. We drew some comparisons to live sounding records, for me that would be [Echo and the Bunnymen’s 1984 album] Ocean Rain. It sounds like an amphitheater with a couple of mikes to capture the band. It’s not stacked, hi-fi modern, compress-the-bejeezus-out-of-it-huge bass, everything quadruple tracked. We figured we would get a live feel for the record. I would do the record that way again, and I wouldn’t want to work with outside people either.

KO: Greg Sage. I love all those Wipers records because it’s like you hear this groove that they laid down on the drum kit that sounds incredibly live. And you know that Greg Sage is sitting there engineering the thing and doing the vocals. All those Wipers records are a huge deal to me and the approach to their recordings … I’d listen to it and think about what it is about those recordings -- they’re kind of washy. The cymbal kind of stands out, but it sounds like I’m in the room with them and it’s a fairly large room, and Greg Sage is just on the mike and his vocals are a little wet. That really made me want to get a studio that I could work with.

JN: Letting things bleed over on top of things. We have a summed sound rather than a discrete, aggregate, sum total of all guitar parts. That’s better addressed in the room where we’re used to rehearsing.

KO: Here’s the bad thing about having your own studio: You ultimately have to decide “yes” or “no” on everything, and you become so insulated that it’s hard to have the objectivity of the outside world engaged. With this, it’s just based on experience; it’s based on what you like to hear. By the time you get to that point, if you don’t have some friends you can lay that stuff on, it’ll drive you crazy. But I think it’s a lot more fun and it’s a cool learning curve.

WW: Your band is fairly particular about the equipment you use. What informed the choices in guitars, bass, drums and amps?

JN: The early stages of the band was about finding a sound that worked together. We played around a lot. Erin ended up changing drum sets; Jeremy ended up playing louder. I ended up playing five different amps. It’s an ongoing process. We try not to step on each other’s territory, sonically speaking. Kurt and I have very different sounding guitar rigs and we play in different registers. We tend not to cover the drums up so much with low end. Jeremy does not play a five-string bass. Everyone has a distinct space.

KO: We have a drummer that has the sensitivity to a drum kit that Erin has and the sound was designed around that. Erin is the engine and everything that comes around that.

JN: When we first started, we brought in amps that had kind of a small sound and we realized that Erin was a big platform for the band. So it went from being kind of medium to being very loud because we have a big rhythm section that can afford the dynamics that we have. Kurt and I have consciously chosen not to play similar-sounding guitars. I’ve gotten away from playing hollow bodies.

KO: I’ll play in a different tuning from John.

JN: We get a lot of textural fun from doing that, where Kurt is playing a different tuning and I’m playing a standard E, and there’s a nice warmth that comes from that. I have a stereo rig with an amp that, by itself, would sound god awful, but it just sounds right in that configuration. I’ve never played in a band that listens as closely as this band.

WW: What do you hope someone coming to one of your shows or listens to your record gets out of it, if anything?

KO: The biggest compliment that I ever got from a fan was a smile that lasts for hours. If it’s silent in the room and people are smiling, I’ve done my job.

- Village Voice Media


Revolectrocution 2008
The Whole Sea Is Raging recorded by Rick Parker (BRMC,Von Bondies, Gliss) Oct. 2010



Overcasters had to have written a lot of its music on rainy days and in the gloom of winter. But that's what you do when you're in a band in a land with over three hundred days of sunshine a year. You grasp around you at whatever is outside the mundane of everyday existence and if that means working under the cloak of clouds and cold weather, so be it. However, this group isn't a bunch of mope-rockers who came late to the Manchester scene plunder party only to shy away from the precipice of Ian Curtis' tortured psyche on the way to the dance club. The melancholy you'll hear in the music isn't born of anguish and despair. Rather, it is the expression of a preference for deep emotional experiences even if they leave you shaken to the core. Beyond the indigo atmospherics, Overcasters are a rock and roll band. Its defiant spirit and sonic exuberance can be heard across the entirety of its latest album, The Whole Sea is Raging. At turns electrifying, hypnotic and transporting, that record is a great argument for why guitar-based rock isn't dead. Not when it possesses the power to inspire by inviting you into a world more exciting than your everyday life. Not when it is so seething with vitality it brings a quaver to singer Kurt Ottaway's voice. Overcasters make triumphant music for an era when many people feel like the downtrodden underdog and we're all the better for it. - Tom Murphy