I haven’t heard anything this unselfconsciously makeshift since Jake LaBotz got the notion to tour his own acoustic madness via a series of tattoo-parlor mini-concerts across the country.
Some label the alt-country band O’Death a goth-country band. This had to happen eventually, for the future of rock and pop lies in such unlikely recombinations. The genre combo platter doesn’t always fly (country icon Kenny Rogers with Wyclef Jean comes to mind) but in O’Death’s case, the styles work. The net result? A wormy slap in the moralistic face of all of Americana.
The band’s singer — Greg Jamie — is an adenoidal apologist and, as such, is the perfect instrument to sell the brand. He also writes the lyrics, which are somewhat based in the short-story tradition and are so murky as to be inaccessible, but interesting. “We had longed for lying in the old work house where they owned most everything,” Jamie sings in “Black Dress,” “And the drugs for years had been wearing off, which reminds us why we sing.” The artist that did the cover for Broken Limbs, Hymns, and Skin once described O’Death in this way: “A world between waking and dreaming.”
- Sunday, November 2, 2014, 8 p.m.
3615 El Cajon Boulevard,
The band was still in the development phase during the years between 2000 and 2003. By 2005, they were ready for a nightclub residency in New York (where else?) and then getting out and touring. In five albums, O’Death has demonstrated the usefulness of such instruments as harmonium, ukulele, banjo, piano, violin, guitar, and bass. Fans of the band will recall a longish break in the action while drummer David Rogers-Berg was being treated for bone cancer and a subsequent shoulder replacement. O’Death came back in 2011, and they were even more disquieting than before. Yes, good enough for year-round listening, but O’Death is most definitely the kind of band that is kept busy during the month of October.