The Ovulators
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The Ovulators


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"CD Review: The Ovulators"

Nik Dirga

Okay, so the story goes, the Ovulators come from the doomed planet Zygote, you see, and they've "condensed their bodies of sound and light into the shape of human females." At least, that's what the press release for their self-titled debut CD says.

In another version of history, they're an all-girl act from Eugene, Oregon, with a knack for a glam-rock hook and plenty of passion in their striking debut. The influences drip from their debut CD — Hole, the New York Dolls, the Pixies, Blondie — but these women are carving their own path. They were voted Eugene's best rock band by the alternative Eugene Weekly newspaper. They were also the house band for a local production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which is fitting, as their album feels like that movie soundtrack spliced with a dash of Courtney Love.

The anchors of the band's sound is the powerful, riff-heavy guitar attack of Tina Sarno and Kelani Larsen, who also share vocals. Their singing can sometimes be a little thin, but it's got a nice punch to it in several songs. The CD kicks off with a bang with the lusty anthem "Circled In Flames," full of excess and yelping good fun. The song sways from barbed and venomous to harmony-filled and lush.

It's a good setup for what comes next over the CD's nine tracks. You've got the languid, Velvet Underground-esque sway of "Drag Queen" ("She used to be famous / but now it's a shame / she makes minimum wage"), or the poppy, Breeders-homage "Release." A highlight is the six-minute epic "Vampire," which has a Goth-soaked Cure-meets-Siouxie and the Banshees feel as it unspools a tale of forlorn beauty. The Ovulators aren't afraid to add girl-group ooos and aahs to a wall of spiky guitar sound, and it's an exciting combination.

The Ovulators are still a young band, but they've got a lot of potential. One downer – the hugely unattractive CD cover of a person of indeterminate gender's haunches, wrapped in leather and apparently fondling him/herself. It's like a parody of Velvet Underground decadence, and makes you think this album is a lot cruder than it really is. Admittedly, "don't judge a CD by its cover," but some will.

That misstep aside, The Ovulators is a pretty solid debut. It's sexy and raw, yet polished enough to indicate this band has a future waiting upstream. -

"Ovulators invite you to get on board"

Ovulators invite you to get onboard
By Serena Markstrom
The Register-Guard
Published: Friday, July 14, 2006

In the official story - and they're sticking to it - the Ovulators arrived on Earth after the evil forces of repression destroyed their home planet, Zygote. These Zygotians "emit audio frequencies that are strikingly similar to Earth-based rock 'n' roll music."

The band may have had a little fun with its media biography, but fans will tell you an Ovulators show is a journey. Being an Ovulators fan is a wild ride, complete with its own themes and mythology.

"You're a nonbeliever," Kelani Larsen tells her interviewer. "Join the forces. You need more glitter showered upon you."

The group's glitter-spread- ing potential expands this week with the release of a self-titled debut album, set to launch tonight at Sam Bond's Garage.

Sam Bond's is the Ovulators' neighborhood bar, and it's one of the two local venues with the energy and the atmosphere to support the Ovulators' brand of glam-magic. (The other one is Luckey's Club Cigar Store.)

"The Ovulators is a spaceship that I am lucky to ride on," guitarist Larsen said at Sam Bond's on a recent hot summer evening, sitting down for an interview with bass player Dori Prange.

Jams led to talk of a band

The ride started in 2002 when Prange, Tina Sarno and the band's original drummer, Katie Kirincic, worked together at a restaurant. They'd jam on guitars and often talked about forming a band.

When they called Sarno's longtime friend Larsen and asked if she wanted to practice, they became a real band.

"I feel like they came to me because I had all the means to make it happen," Larsen said. "I had the space, I had a (public address) system.

"I was dead serious, too. I was already like, 'I'm in a band whenever the people can come to me. I'm just waiting for them.' "

The four played and practiced for months before settling on a name (agreeing on a sound came later). They tried out the Super Dupers, Rhinestone Tricycle, the New FBI, Golden Ticket and the Endless Name- less.

The three original members share singing and songwriting duties, and drummer is the only slot that has changed. Kasey Marcusky is the drummer on the album, but Kayla Tubb has replaced her and will play tonight's shows.

Although they recorded an EP for a West Coast tour, the album that Happy Mistakes Records is putting out today is the band's first professional studio project and the culmination of those four years of spreading their sound - and glitter - over an increasing fan base.

"I'm really proud of the album," said Larsen, who shares guitar duties with Sarno. "We worked on it for a year. I'm totally impressed with the al- bum."

When asked why it took so long to put out their debut, the drummer factor came up in several contexts as a reason for the delay. But Prange said working with multiple drummers, including a year's worth of male drummers, helped the band grow.

"We spent a lot of time perfecting, or getting better at, our live performance, and playing with multiple drummers helped us with our communication."

Theater gig influenced CD

When the Ovulators played the band in the successful Actors Cabaret of Eugene run of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," the focus was on the theater, not recording. But the play had its influence on the CD none- theless.

The album art is image of Adam Goldthwaite, who played Hedwig in the Eugene version, posed prone on one knee on furry pink fabric. It's just his bare torso, upper legs and derriere dressed in tiny pleather shorts and a computer-generated Ovulators tattoo on his hip, where Hedwig's tattoo is in the play.

Prerelease, the cover already has caused a stir, although Larsen and Prange said they didn't intend it to be inflam- matory.

"We found that this is a challenging cover because a lot of guys assume it's a woman just because of the pose and then they'll be like, 'oh that's hot,' " Prange said. "Then they realize it's a man and it's a little challenging."

The Ovulators don't spend a lot of energy explaining themselves, but do encounter "girl band" stereotypes. People think it's angry punk rock or that they don't know how to play their instruments, they said.

"People love to label girl bands and put us in little boxes," Prange said. "I don't feel like we need to dress down our girliness. We don't need to be butch to speak out for women. We don't have to dress like boys to defy gender roles."

Larsen said comparisons to the Donnas are absurd, and that the closest female band to the Ovulators' sound is the Breeders. Influences range from the Pixies to Sonic Youth and Richard Hell.

From the first time they invoked a costume theme for their concerts, the band ranked the stage show up there with the music. Sometimes, the themes match the event, such as when they were wood nymphs for a forest benefit show or dead Catholic schoolgirls on Halloween.

They've thrown cookies, candy or mangos into the audience and brought props, such an inflatable whale, when the theme involved things that are underwater.

"It creates a full environment, you know?" Larsen said. "It kind of makes that separation between stage and audience vaguer when we are able to involve the audience like that. ...

"We do all those things that those boy glam bands wish they could do."

One person thrilled to have a copy of the CD is local KRVM disc jockey Ken Fletcher, alias Mr. Random.

Fletcher is one of the band's biggest fans; he's even credited with "yeahs and party vibe" on the album.

"Early on, they just hypnotized me," he said. "I don't know what happened. I just fell under their spell. ... To me, the Ovulators are about magic and about wooing the audience into a state of ecstacy.

"I listen to lots of music, and this record definitely stands up against other music out there on a national level. I don't think it's just because I'm in love with them." - The Register-Guard


The Ovulators self-titled album "The Ovulators" was released by Happy Mistake Records on July 14th, 2006.



A silver streak illuminates the sky, as a glowing
egg-shaped rocketship crashes to Earth. Four
entities from planet Zygote emerge in a cloud of glitter. In order to elude Evil Forces of Repression who destroyed their home planet, they condense their bodies of sound and light into the shape of human females, becoming The Ovulators.

By nature, Zygotians are evolutionary accelerators who emit audio frequencies that are strikingly similar to Earth rock music. They express through the electric medium of guitars, bass and drums, weaving three distinctive vocal and songwriting textures into their sonic tapestry. Driving drums, and melodic power bass give the band a party-all-night edge, while the interwining guitars weave a cascade of contradictions. Their powers are amplified by their flashy matching attire, which constantly morphs to tell themed stories of transformation.

Following their vibratory impulses, the four women find their way to Eugene, OR, in Earth year 2002, where their indigenous language wins them instant kinship and praise amongst the local music scene. As an embryonic band, The Ovulators attract audiences with their incomparable music, laced with pop hooks and mesmerizing rhythms. They are likened to Earth bands such as The Pixies, Sonic Youth and The Breeders, but their sound is unique; each member brings their own conceptions of the journey.

Although they must hide from the Evil Forces who search for them, The Ovulators and their growing sonic alliance fear not. They shine like a beacon through the damp fogs of the Northwest, risking destruction with every rock anthem. Their fame rises when they are cast twice as the house band for local productions of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch", one of which wins "Best Dramatic Play of 2004" from the Eugene Weekly. That same year, the Register-Guard praises them for their "unconventional musical sound" at the Willamette Valley Folk Festival. The love and adoration of their fans elevates them to "Best Rock Band of Eugene" in 2005. Along their journey, The Ovulators movement has been catalyzed by playing with bands like Mike Watt & the Secondmen, 50 Foot Wave, The Gossip, Hell's Belles and The Trucks, and traveling to nearby cities to spread their vivacious style.

In 2006, The Ovulators released their first full-length studio album, which elicits a far-ranging spectrum of emotion: from the tingle of a new experience, to the longing for days gone by. The
recording mirrors the spirit of their live
performances, as it cycles through jagged and smooth, love and loss, tension and release. It oozes with both organic jams and tight licks, and pairs moody back-ups with crunchy guitars. The album opens with the raunchy fire anthem, "Circled In Flames". Full of vocal harmonies and guitar interplay, this is modern garage psychedelia at it's finest. The spontaneity and liveliness will make you believe that like the Phoenix, you, too can rise from the flames. From this raw rock beginning, the album swoons into dreamy introspection with "Drag Queen", a timeless tale of pain and death among San Francisco transvestites, with soulful backups and bubbly guitar. In true female form, The Ovulators heighten the energy with the eerie, wailing intro to "Vampire". This dark, otherworldy ballad drives with visceral rhythms, brooding guitars, and haunting lyrics that will possess you. Awash in images such as passion flowers, crop circles, and nightclubs, this self-titled CD is a ride through the modern age with glimpses of possible futures...