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Manmade Objects - Monuments

No one wants to be forgotten; everyone wants some sort of legacy, a mark they leave behind as they exit this life for whatever lies beyond.

And for as long as there has been death, there have been monuments — whether austere or understated, abstract or concrete, prominent or tucked away in private — erected by the ones they loved to assure that remembrance, at least for a time.
07/15/2014 | Comments 0

Admirals - Amidst the Blue

Sometimes it helps to not be very good.

Some of the best albums and artists were born out of happy accidents owed to varying degrees of early suckage — the perfect note or chord for a song found by missing the one you are aiming for, failed mimicry of an idol bearing something entirely new and great instead.

07/09/2014 | Comments 0

Kierston White - Don't Write Love Songs

The Tequila Songbirds have become just as beloved as about any group around these parts. And how could they not?

Featuring a revolving cast of the Sooner State’s most badass female performers, it’s a power hour of some of the best songwriting coming out of central Oklahoma. Sure, they might not technically be family, but they are clearly a band of sisters all the same, bonded by the same brand of whiskey running through their veins.

07/01/2014 | Comments 0

Depth & Current - Dysrhythmia

"Overproduced" is a term thrown around all too indiscreetly nowadays, usually applied when the thing that sticks out about a song or album is how it sounds rather than how it is constructed. Yet some of the most compelling albums ever crafted embodied a certain aesthetic that was just as skillfully and meticulously put together as any Bob Dylan or Miles Davis record — which is to say production is as crucial to our enjoyment of music as much as anything else; it's also the most overlooked.
06/24/2014 | Comments 0

Weak Knees - “IceBevo”

Indie rock has been in a good place as of late. Not caring about being cool is the new cool, and a couple of dudes on guitar, bass and drums can make catchy, earworm songs without being armed to the gills with computer software and vintage synthesizers.
06/17/2014 | Comments 0
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Bear necessities


Mayola bassist Antonio Laster felt the need to rock electronically. Letting ideas hibernate eventually birthed Brother Bear.

Joshua Boydston March 2nd, 2011

Brother Bear with Binary Sunrise
9 P.m. Saturday
Opolis, 113 N. Crawford, Norman
Opolis.org, 820-0951
$7

It’s not uncommon for beloved bandleaders to spawn successful side projects. Jack White had The White Stripes and The Raconteurs. Maynard James Keenan had Tool and A Perfect Circle. Scott Weiland had Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver.

Antonio Laster may not have been the front man before, but the bassist for Stillwater favorite Mayola shaped his love of electronic rock — namely Radiohead and Animal Collective — into a new side gig, dubbed Brother Bear. With Mayola now inactive, it’s become a stand-alone act, but hardly a stylistic replacement.

He initially took his cosmic, synthetic inklings to Mayola, and when they didn’t jive with the band’s signature sound of Western indie punk, he holed up and wrote the songs on his own.

“There was a time period in Mayola where we tried to work that spacey feel in, but it didn’t work for everybody,” Laster said. “For me, Brother Bear was in my head, and as an artist, you have to get that out. Here was an opportunity for me to use electronica. I just had to.”

If the adjective can be used to describe space, technology, acid trips or the Antarctic, it can probably be used to depict the digitized, chilly soundscape Brother Bear favors. The project was met initially with equal parts excitement and hesitance, the latter of which surprised Laster.

“I wasn’t prepared for how people were ... kind of questioning motives,” Laster said. “We just want this to be a new experience. Brother Bear is a new product; people should give it a try.”

His loyalty is clear, bringing along Bryan Thompson from Mayola, as well as Eric Kiner of Sherree Chamberlain Band. Brother Bear is a completely new experience for Laster, however, and he relishes the opportunity to step into the spotlight as the lead.

bandleaders to spawn successful side “I have a lot more work to do, but I like it. It’s fun,” he said. “I didn’t take the front man role so seriously at first, but I realize now that I kind of have to be the character. Wayne Coyne is a great example: The band is awesome, but he’s a character; it’s his image that people recognize.”

Here was an opportunity for me to use electronica. I just had to.

—Antonio Laster

Not that Laster has ever had much of a problem being a character. He was the most manic and unpredictable presence in Mayola, writhing around the stage and generally making the act’s frenetic live sets all the crazier. Brother Bear shows are a lot chillier.

“They both have their moments; they both have their epic buildups. You might just have to wait for it longer,” he said, laughing. “It’s different.

Mayola was frantic moments; Brother Bear is a slower, calculated moment.”

Laster’s style of “Kid A” meets “Merriweather Post Pavillion” translates a great deal different, and while he still intends to entertain, he’s hoping there’s a greater depth to it, because that’s the feeling he’s getting.

“It makes you think, I hope. I want people to dance and have a great time, but I want them to leave and think a little bit. That’s a positive thing to me,” he said. “I have this romanticism in my head, and when I get to play Brother Bear, that’s the feeling I have. I hope people can hear and feel that.”

 
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