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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
John Fullbright’s one of Oklahoma’s finest songwriters and one of our most disciplined students of Woody Guthrie’s school of often-critical, politically and socially conscious lyrics. And he’s not half-bad at tickling the ivories, either.
Fullbright recently performed “Fat Man,” about a selfish prig who “plucks life like a rose,” at the annual Cherokee Creek Music Festival in Cherokee, Texas, where it was filmed by Americana enthusiasts Music Fog:
Neon Indian — “Hex Girlfriend”
Here’s the earlier-promised video of Neon Indian performing at the second night of The Flaming Lips’ New Year’s Eve Freakout, shot by Nathan Poppe and myself. Alan Palomo shows off some serious confidence with those dance moves:
Colin Stetson — “Those Who Didn’t Run” 2011 was Colin Stetson’s year, releasing a lauded album of dystopian saxophone innovations that landed just outside of OKSee’s Top 10. If you can watch the 10 surrealistic minutes of nature shots that comprise “Those Who Didn’t Run” without losing focus, then you are a champion:
POLIÇA — “Lay Your Cards Out” Once a folk singer up north, Channy Leaneagh (formerly Casselle) met up with Bon Iver collaborator Mike Noyce when she joined up with Wisconsin stoner soft-rockers Gayngs. The result is the avant, Auto-Tuned POLIÇA, and it kinda makes me wish she’d have stuck with more natural-sounding ways of making music. But, to each his own:
“Shut Up and Play the Hits”
If such a thing as a “perfect band” existed, or at least a band that acted exactly as it should, LCD Soundsystem was that band. Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace shot a film following front man James Murphy during his last couple days of LCD’s band-ship, which included a Last Show Ever for the record books. If the trailer’s any indicator, it looks fantastic: