It has been a relatively rocky road for Weatherford alt-country outfit Green Corn Revival, which has seen its share of highs (acting as backing band for rockabilly icon Wanda Jackson) and lows before an (amicable) split in the road led half of the original lineup to forming Honeylark.
Oklahoma is quickly becoming the indie Christmas music capital of the world, it seems, with yearly compilation albums featuring everyone from Stardeath and White Dwarfs to Graham Colton. So it makes sense that Colourmusic — freak-poppers hailing from Stillwater — would craft a full album of original, offbeat holiday tunes themselves.
The Oklahoma City metro has a thriving garage rock scene. With seasoned acts like Broncho and Copperheads carrying the modern-day torch, the way has been paved for a flock of gritty, young, guitar-centric acts. But nascent Norman trio Poolboy has a knack for riotous hooks that few of its contemporaries can boast.
The Flaming Lips’ longevity has allowed them to cover a lot of sonic terrain over the years. Yet they’ve arguably become more adventurous with age, jeopardizing a good portion of their fan base in favor of fascinatingly bleak experiments in sound, beginning with Embryonic in 2009 and, more recently, The Terror.
“The band formed not really wanting to be big, and we’ve actually succeeded at that. We never exploded onto the scene, as it were,” singer John McCrea said. “When things become really big, they become suspect.”
Since breaking through in 1996 with the hit “The Distance,” Cake has seen the demise of many a major alt-rock act. The band continued with a string of catchy singles — “Never There,” “Short Skirt/Long Jacket” — that assured steady airplay.
“Radio has used our songs as palate cleansers between the real songs — the serious, veins-bulging-from-neck guitar rock that’s such a constant thing in America,” McCrea said. “It’s like, ‘Here’s the court jester to dance for you.’” After its fifth album, Pressure Chief, Cake left the major labels to strike out on its own — a natural move following 15 years of its members producing and recording on their own.
“Our culture has always been pretty DIY. It’s been a crafts project that’s gone way too far,” McCrea said. “We’ve gone back and started our own label, just because we don’t want to be aboard a sinking ship. We may be anyways, but at least there’s more hope steering ourselves.”
The result, last year’s Showroom of Compassion, was recorded in Cake’s solar-powered studio in the band’s hometown of Sacramento, Calif.
“We felt pretty guilty,” McCrea said.
“It seemed ridiculous to not have that, being based out of Northern California. As the value of our recorded music descends into the abyss, we’ll still be receiving a $25 check from the public utility every month to buy sandwiches.”
The seven-year span between Pressure Chief and Showroom is the longest in the group’s existence, but McCrea doesn’t view the lull as a waste. After all, the disc topped the Billboard charts its debut — a Cake first.
“Time is a real ally,” he said. “There’s something to be said for a sharp editorial knife. You need time to see how stupid some of your ideas are.”