Best of 2009: Odawas on darwinsbitch and Birds & Batteries
December 22, 2009
Written by The Bay Bridged
Earlier this year, with no more than a handful of months in the Bay Area, a group called darwinsbitch asked us to play a show with them at the Totally Intense Fractal Mindgaze Hut in Oakland. The legend and mystery of time, place and person have severely affected the direction I see the music in my head turning. darwinsbitch turned out to be a person, a one Marielle Jakobson, playing a heady violin accompanied by some sort of digital drone device.
The impact of her performance that night was devastating, making my own accomplishments seem minimal and trite to this scale of high art. It felt like Backstreet Boys versus Messiaen. What was I doing here? We have since made amends and friends and even tried to incorporate darwinsbitch herself into the sound of Odawas. The resulting sound revolution has yet to happen, but the depth of her own material will surely grow in scope and brilliance.
This will be the first article in a series of two concerning the fever dreams of me, your humbly esteemed narrator, and the particular way they inform the music I busy myself with in leisure time. Let’s get down to brass tacks. First and foremost, let’s get this straight: I am no supporter of non-consensual domestic abuse. However, if Birds & Batteries continue to kick ass with their devil-may-care, post-mod, roots-rock synth pummeling, there could be some black-eyed beauties bumbling about the Bay Area soon. And I for one am in fool-support of these two being tossed in a ring together. But I digress. Now. Have you ever wondered what would have happened to the 80′s American cinema-slasher scene if John Carpenter had come around just a little bit later? Maybe got his hands on a certain machete-wielding hockey mask hacker abstinence propaganda film? Chose a different date, both more and less ambiguous, for his title? And, he decided Tom Petty and Dennis Wilson would do the opening/ending credits songs, collaborating with him on the OST?
Because I knew I was choosing Birds & Batteries’ Up to No Good EP as best East Bay release 2009 when this ridiculous shit would not leave my damn head. Michael Sempert’s doubled up corn-husk rasp flashed in sea salt, drifting between the stutter-stop square wave tidal bass, the echoing gulls of electric guitars washing over simpering strings in the digital background, Michelson’s motorik hi-hats having hissy fits in the proggy anti-ballad distance. And don’t be surprised when, in the middle of slow-sliding your fine ass to a funky methadone fizz, you find yourself whispering about how you hate ‘em worse than lepers, kill ‘em in their cars. Cause it’s there. It gets creepy quick. Think Helter Skelter dance party DJ’d by Claudio Simonetti. James Brown doing David Bazan karaoke. Fever dreams, folks. Check. This shit. Out. Plus, Bonus: They’ve got the live show to back it up. Over and out.