Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Jan 31st
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Out Of This World

music OtherLivesSExperimental folk band, Other Lives, takes listeners to Mars and back

Imagine yourself immersed in the soothing tenor of some indie-folk crooner wistfully cooing over acoustic guitar and player piano punctuation marks. What do you see? An endless sea of golden grass, waving in the wind? Or do you see rugged, snow-capped peaks, speckled with evergreen stubble?

What about the barren surface of Mars?

If you are picturing an interstellar fighter pilot swooping low over dusty red craters and weaving through crimson canyons, you may be a fan of Other Lives, who are set to bring their other worldly, indie-folk sound to Don Quixote's on Nov. 1. The music video for this Stillwater, Okla., band's song "For 12"—off of their 2011 LP, Tamer Animals—finds frontman Jesse Tabish cruising over a Martian-like landscape, stopping to behold the beauty of the rust-colored desert.

In a way, the sense of wonder Tabish's character reveals with his thousand-yard stare isn't all that different from the awe the singer/songwriter says he and his bandmates have come to find in their own backyard.

"It wasn't really until this record that it hit us how beautiful it all is—the desert feeling of the plains here," Tabish says of the geography and geology surrounding the town where he grew up. Other Lives plays a very "cinematic" brand of folk rock, reminiscent of Balmorhea, an Americana version of Mogwai. "For us, with Tamer Animals, it was really about exploring the landscape of our home, Oklahoma." And they did so, successfully.

Tamer Animals would serve as an ideal soundtrack for taking in any great, natural expanse. Listening to the record, I was reminded of the two family road trips I took to the Grand Canyon, Zion, Glacier and Yellowstone national parks. As horns and strings rise and fall, as the piano's heavy chords resound and reverberate, and as Tabish lets out a mournful howl—reminiscent of Fleet Foxes frontman Robin Pecknold—I can remember all those magnificent vistas, and all the peace they brought me from the back seat of the family SUV.

Tabish is heavily influenced by the post rock bands Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Sigur Ros, as well as by the experimental soundscape pioneer Phillip Glass. For Tabish, music is "more about the emotion than trying to write a tune," he says. "What we've always strived to do is to approach songs like movie scores."

music otherlivesJust as you might imagine a composer like Glass would write, Other Lives is very meticulous. They never "jam" on songs, Tabish says—rather, they slowly build their compositions, brick by musical brick, trying out versions of the same chords on various instruments to get the feeling just right.

And this time around, the band was able to pursue their deliberate method of song-building unhindered by the temporal plain.

The two records they made before Tamer Animals—an EP and a full length, each self titled—were done in the studio, under intense time constraints and the stare of engineers on the other side of the glass, none of which was conducive to the creation of art, Tabish says.

After those experiences, the singer says, the band made a "very conscious decision" to avoid that situation. "We're going to work on it until we think it's done," he said. And so they did. Other Lives worked on their songs for close to 14 months before even entering a studio.

It was worth the wait. After connecting with producer Joey Waronkner, a former drummer for Beck, Elliott Smith and R.E.M., the band emerged with a dreamy spectacle of a record and ultimately caught the ear of Radiohead frontman, Thom Yorke, who made his own spooky remix of the album's title track.

"It was really humbling," Tabish says of the acknowledgment from Radiohead, who are labelmates with Other Lives on TBD Records. "It was one of the highlights of my year and career." 


Other Lives plays at 9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1 at Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy 9, Felton. Tickets are $12/adv, $15/door. For more information, call 603-2294.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Throwing It All Away

Everybody’s for recycling, right? So why are we all doing it wrong? Our reporter gets down and dirty to uncover 10 secrets that will finally make the recycling process make sense

 

Aquarius Calling, Humanity Rising

Aquarius (11th sign after Aries) is the sign of service—serving one another, building community. Aquarius is fixed air, stabilizing new ideas in the world. When new ideas reach the masses the ideas become ideals within the hearts and minds of humanity. Air signs (Gemini, Libra and Aquarius) are mental. They think, ponder, study, research, gather and distribute information. For air signs, education and learning, communicating, writing, being social, tending to money, participating in groups and creating sustainable communities are most important. One of the present messages Aquarius is putting forth to the New Group of World Servers is the creation of the New Education (thus thinking) for humanity—one based not on commodities (banking/corporate values) but on virtues. Humanity and Aquarius Aquarius is the sign of humanity itself. We are now at the beginnings of the Age of Aquarius, the Age of Humanity (rising). The “rising” is the Aquarian vision of equality, unity, the distribution and sharing of all resources and of individual (Leo) creative gifts for the purpose of humanity’s (Aquarius) uplifting. This is the message in the Solar Festival of Aquarius (at the full moon) on Tuesday, Feb. 3. We join in these visions by reciting the World Prayer of Direction, the Great Invocation.Tuesday’s solar festival follows Monday’s Groundhog Day, or Imbolc (ancient Celtic fire festival) the halfway mark between winter solstice and spring Equinox). The New Group of World Servers (NGWS) during these two days are preparing for the upcoming Three Spring Solar Festivals: 1. Aries Resurrection/Easter Festival (April); 2. Taurus Buddha/Wesak Festival (May); and 3. Gemini’s Festival of Humanity (June). Aquarius and the new and full moons together are the primary astrological influences behind all of humanity’s endeavors. The NGWS are to teach these things, calling and uplifting humanity. Join us everyone. (301)

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Job Insecurity

Woman fights for her job in thoughtful, life-sized ‘Two Days One Night’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Jeffrey’s Restaurant

Why quick and friendly service matters at a local diner.

 

If you didn't live in Santa Cruz, where would you be living?

I would live in Kauai because the water is warmer, and I just love it there. Maureen Niehaus, Santa Cruz, Dental Assistant

 

Clos LaChance Wines

Pinot Noir 2012

 

Striking Gold

A taste of Soquel Vineyards’ five gold medal-winning Pinots