Toby Oler releases ‘Thank You, Bird Snider’

After releasing a bluegrass cassette, an oddball hip-hop influenced storytelling album, and a more straightforward, yet still wonderfully odd collaboration with Michael James Tapscott, Oakland's Toby Oler takes another left turn with the instrumental banjo-driven Thank You Bird Snider. If there's one theme tying Oler's projects together, it's his banjo. "Bird Snider" is actually a real person that built Oler's banjo himself. Oler explains: I first met Bird Snider when I was playing a gig with a bluegrass band at the Porthole Inn out by Lake Lemon in southern Indiana off of highway 45. 20 minutes before our set, I [...]

By |July 31, 2015|Tags: |

Best of 2014: What the other lists missed from Russell Jelinek

It's officially 2015, and all the 2014 lists are in. I honestly enjoy them, but how many times do you need to read about Run the Jewels and War on Drugs? We get it, they're good. Locally, everyone loved Cocktails, Sun Kil Moon, and tUnE-YaRdS, but what did just about every list miss? THE ANSWER IS BELOW: Odawas - Reflection of a Pink Laser: A triumphant comeback for the Indiana natives. The expansive instrumentals on the 19-minute "What If Our World is Their Heaven" leading into "Flow My Tears" makes for the best moment on any album I've heard for [...]

Interview: Toby Oler & Michael Tapscott on ‘Tapscott Sings Toby’

It's been a couple years since we've heard something new from Oakland's Toby Oler, who released the wonderfully weird OVTOV in 2012. On OVTOV, Oler wrote the songs and had a bunch of his musician friends record them for him. For his most recent release, he took a similar approach, but worked with a primary vocalist, Michael James Tapscott (of Odawas), thus creating the aptly named Tapscott Sings Toby. While OVTOV was all over the place stylistically, Tapscott Sings Toby successfully zeroes in on the elusive lounge-synth-folk-jazz genre - a cohesive theme that won't bore you. It's not quite like [...]

Toby Oler, formerly of TV Mike and the Scarecrowes, releases "OVTOV"

Oakland's Toby Oler may have played banjo for Bay Area country band TV Mike and the Scarecrowes and written traditional bluegrass for The Nashville Knives, but his brilliant new solo release, OVTOV, is far from traditional. Oler wrote all eight songs on OVTOV, but brought in musicians from a variety of Bay Area bands to help record them, including Elliott Peck and Connor O'Sullivan of Dem Suite, Michael James Tapscott of Odawas, and Matt Nelson of tUnE-yArDs. He described the process as a musical version of "Stone Soup," where Oler brought the songs (the pot) and let his fellow musicians [...]

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