Who? Originally formed in 2004 under the name “Kunek,” this five-piece band blends folk, rock, pop, and classical music to create music that has been likened to a “genre smoothie.” Their unique sound is attributed to dramatic soundwriting mixed with orchestral arrangements using a number instruments (“Nearly every member pulls double and triple duty on cellos, violins, clarinets, keys, trumpets, and drums, and in a live setting, the band constantly shifts and repositions to hit every mark.” - Pitchfork). Though in small print on the Coachella lineup, Other Lives is DEFINITELY a group to look out for. So far they’ve toured with Bon Iver and other artists, and will be opening for Radiohead on their first leg of their 2012 North Will an tour. Could they be the next thing to blow up?
Other Lives (2008)
Tamer Animals (2011)
What people are saying about their latest album, Tamer Animals
“Tamer Animals, the sophomore release from the Stillwater, Okla., five- piece Other Lives, is meticulously written and arranged and, at times, vividly cinematic. In the wrong hands, this music could feel labored or overstuffed, but thanks to the makeshift orchestra’s shaggy ringleader, Jesse Tabish, these wistful Americana-styled tracks (influenced by Tabish favorites Sigur Rós and Godspeed You! Black Emperor) rarely feel forced. Instead of the big studio sound of their self-titled debut, Tamer Animals feels organic and lovingly crafted, a record whose lushness often invites you to simply collapse into it.” - Pitchfork
“Other Lives share Fleet Foxes’ ethereal harmonies and the National’s sense of erupting, turbulent majesty, yet their second album has a widescreen, filmic quality different from both. Tamer Animals feels like a dreamlike American journey, the heat rising over distant sands and the flies gathering on the windscreen. Featuring clarinet, bassoon, trumpet and French horn reminiscent of Arthur Lee’s Love, the songs are meticulously, beautifully crafted. Some are so instant and familiar you’d swear you’d heard them before: the troubled, haunting Dust Bowl III, or the enormous twang of Old Statues, which could be Pink Floyd relocated to a dusty landscape. Other bands may be more original, but few are this wonderfully evocative: when Jesse Tabish asks, “Is there any way to get this weight off my skin?” you end up creating your own stories around his words. This is sublime, transportive music to spend hours with.” - The Guardian
Worth seeing? (IMHO)
Often times I find myself listening to an opening act and wishing they’d just get the darned thing over with already (bad, I know). But when I saw Other Lives open up for Bon Iver a few months ago, I dreaded the time when they would have to leave the stage. For me, they almost stole the show! The mix of Jesse Tabish’s lead vocals harmonized with Jenny Hsu’s background vocals and all the friggin instruments they were playing created a sound that was so gorgeous and haunting…. If you haven’t already, SEE THEM, especially since they’ll probably be playing an earlier time slot and won’t conflict with big names.
A taste of what it’s like to see them live from The Guardian (said much more eloquently than myself)
“On record, Other Lives have a spectacularly luscious and vivid sound: almost every rave review of their second album, Tamer Animals, reached for the adjective “cinematic” to describe the richness of its arrangements… the kind of album that makes you wonder how on earth the Oklahoma quintet propose to reproduce it live. As they wander unassumingly on stage – they clearly share not only something of Fleet Foxes’ vocal harmonies but also their rigorous approach to personal grooming – the answer becomes immediately apparent: by a fairly remarkable display of multi-tasking. The drummer carries a clarinet. The opening number alone requires Josh Onstott to switch between guitar, trumpet and violin. Over at the other side of the stage, Jenny Hsu variously plays keyboards, glockenspiel, cello, what looks like a dulcimer and what appears to be a selection of antlers with bells attached. On the one hand, it occasionally looks like some kind of world-record attempt. On the other, the overall effect is astonishing. It’s not so much that they recreate the album’s sound live, but that they actually increase its power. Frontman Jesse Tabish’s voice sounds stronger than on record, as resonant and careworn as their melodies…”
My god. how can you read that and not want to see them?
Originally released as a single before Tamer Animals, this song is seriously crazy beautiful. When I heard it live, it was seriously… just… wow. Martin Aston from BBC can describe it better: “There’s no track this writer’s thrashed more this year than Other Lives’ single For 12. It’s suspenseful, dreamy and awestruck in equal measures, combining undulating strings (possibly Mellotron), lightly galloping Morricone rhythms, subtle shades of piano and acoustic guitar and vocals that run the gauntlet from sighing to falsetto. Imagine an eagle’s eye view over an unbroken stretch of Brokeback Mountain prairie. Or imagine Fleet Foxes influenced by Radiohead’s Pyramid Song.”
Every day this blog features one artist playing at the upcoming Coachella festival. I've aggregated basic artist information, third party reviews, songs, and music videos conveniently in one place. In addition, the nifty music player allows you to listen to playlists grouped by genre, rating, and artist. Happy listening!
How Do I Listen to Music?
See that arrow on the bottom left corner of the site? Click it. Out will pop up a playlist of all the songs and music videos from the page you're currently viewing. Clicking on any link with a play button next to it will also pop up in the player. Browse by artist through the Archive and by genre/my "worth seeing" rating through the top-right menu.