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The Olivia Tremor Control

As much a concept as a band, the Olivia Tremor Control was one of the most visible and innovative members of the Elephant 6 collective, a coterie of like-minded, lo-fi indie groups -- including the Apples in Stereo, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Secret Square -- who shared musicians, ideas, and sensibilities. The Olivia Tremor Control was led by singers/songwriters/multi-instrumentalists Will Cullen Hart and Bill Doss, natives of the small, isolated town of Ruston, Louisiana, where they struck up friendships with fellow outsiders Robert Schneider (who went on to front the Apples) and Jeff Mangum (the auteur behind Neutral Milk Hotel).

Throughout high school, the aspiring musicians -- all influenced by the likes of the Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Zombies, Pink Floyd, and Sonic Youth -- exchanged home recordings and played in each other's bands. Hart and Doss later attended Louisiana Tech University together, where they tenured as college radio DJs and furthered their musical educations and ambitions. In 1990, Hart, Doss, and Mangum moved to Athens, Georgia, to form the group Cranberry Life Cycle; when Mangum exited, they enlisted John Fernandes and became Synthetic Flying Machine. After Doss' temporary defection to Chocolate USA, Synthetic Flying Machine mutated into the Olivia Tremor Control at much the same time both Schneider and Mangum relocated to Denver, Colorado, to start their own respective projects.

In 1995, the OTC (later fleshed out by "technical advisor" Eric Harris) debuted with the EP California Demise, the first chapter in an ongoing series of high-concept recordings built around the surreal plot of an imaginary film conceived by Hart and Doss. The follow-up 7", "The Giant Day," led directly into the group's 1996 debut double-LP, Music from the Unrealized Film Script "Dusk at Cubist Castle," a sprawling collection of Beatlesque psychedelia, popcraft, and tape loops culled from some 200 unrecorded songs. (The first few thousand copies of the album also included a bonus disc of ambient "dream sequences.") Keyboardist Pete Erchick officially joined prior to 1999's Black Foliage: Animation Music by the Olivia Tremor Control, another epic work that consolidated the group's underground popularity and widened the Elephant 6 cult.

However, breakup rumors swirled around the group during 2000, and it was confirmed that the OTC had gone on at least a temporary hiatus toward the end of the year. In the meantime, the group's earliest recordings -- including California Demise and "The Giant Day" -- were reissued on CD as Singles and Beyond. Bill Doss remained active, releasing an EP titled Future History of a Sunrise Fix with his new project, the Sunshine Fix. His fans were shocked and saddened by the news of his death on July 31, 2012; Bill Doss was 44 years old. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Black Foliage: Animation Music Volume One

x

Track List: Black Foliage: Animation Music Vol. 1

1. Opening

2. A Peculiar Noise Called "Train Director"

3. Combinations

5. Black Foliage (Animation 1)

6. Combinations

7. The Sky Is a Harpsichord Canvas

8. A Sleepy Company

10. A New Day

11. Combinations

12. Black Foliage (Animation 2)

13. I Have Been Floated

14. Paranormal Echoes

15. Black Foliage (Animation 3)

16. A Place We Have Been To

17. Black Foliage (Itself)

18. The Sylvan Screen

19. The Bark and Below It

20. Black Foliage (Animation 4)

22. Looking For Quiet Seeds

23. Combinations

24. Mystery

25. Another Set Of Bees in the Museum

26. Black Foliage (Animation 5)

x

Track List: Music From An Unrealized Film Script, Dusk At Cubist Castle

1. The Opera House

2. Frosted Ambassador

3. Jumping Fences

4. Define A Transparent Dream

5. No Growing (Exegesis)

6. Holiday Surprise 1,2,3

7. Courtyard

8. Memories Of Jacqueline

9. Tropical Bells

10. Can You Come Down With Us?

11. Marking Time

12. Green Typewriters

13. Green Typewriters

14. Green Typewriters

15. Green Typewriters

16. Green Typewriters

17. Green Typewriters

18. Green Typewriters

19. Green Typewriters

20. Green Typewriters

21. Green Typewriters

22. Spring Succeeds

23. Theme For A Very Delicious Grand Piano

24. I Can Smell The Leaves

25. Dusk At Cubist Castle

26. The Gravity Car

27. NYC - 25

Comments

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Seeing Circulatory System open for Neutral Milk Hotel tonight in Philly! STOOOOKEDDD
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They're artistry in the studio still dazzles. Took The Beatles, Beach Boys and Pink Floyd's influences to a new level
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Their two albums were so magical to me when I found out about them thru Pandora
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Holy S**T!! I didn't even know he died! That's horrible :(
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RIP Bill Doss
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OTC is awesome. I really hope they put some new stuff out! I don't think they're a 'Beatles rip-off' because thats a very closed-minde d way of thinking. I love how Will does tape manips and how they're albums were all recorded on analog tape and many of the cool effects were from spicing/stre t c h i n g / s h r i n k i n g / c u t t i n g of the master tapes, (in true beatles fashion) a true art. They had a whole mentality that few have or have had
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very excited to see OTC tonight in Columbus, Oh at the Wexner Arts Center!
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CHECK OUT THE OLIVIA TREMOR CONTROL AT THE MOHAWK IN AUSTIN ON AUGUST 31, 2010 AND STAY FOR THE AFTER SHOW WITH THE NEW UP AND COMING BAND "TIGER WAVES"!
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here's another comment praising them.
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these guys are SO GOOD
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preluding
I remember when I found this CD in the new release bin at Tower Records and bought it because I thought the name was cool and the cover art was original - I had no idea at that moment what a great find it would turn out to be.
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robin2048
Now buying
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this rules
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This is a great band. Why aren't there more comments praising them?
Report as inappropriate
csmoore81
I haven't heard this album since highschool and it is the s**t

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