Marcus, Jo and Rob are listening to Aftershade by Okin Osan
Rob: I love this one. This track was a bit of a landmark for me.
Marcus: How so?
Rob: I just remember when we started trawling the web in search of suitable artists for Echo Room, and we kept finding stuff in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, whatever, but Sydney was a bit of a mystery for a while.
Jo: Yeah, lot of the stuff we heard from here really wasn’t what we were looking for. The criticism I remember you and I making the most was “not weird enough.”
Rob: When I heard Okin Osan, I had a great feeling of relief. At last we meet. Then we found so much good stuff immediately afterwards that Vol. 1 was already full before I received this track, so here we are on Vol. 2.
Marcus: I think we’ve discovered that Sydney has a lot of weirdos tucked away all over the place, but they are harder to see.
Rob: You can’t see the weirdos for the yachts.
Jo: Does that actually work as an idiom?
Rob: I just have this image of arriving in Sydney and catching a ferry through the harbour in summer and passing up close to those huge yachts full of half-naked dummies listening to top 40 EDM and tipping champagne on their heads.
Jo: That’s the trickle down effect they’re always telling us about.
Marcus: I’m sure they’re lovely people once you get to know them.
Rob: So the idle rich yacht overlords are the first details you notice when you move here, and they conceal the wider reality of many weirdos.
Marcus: Definitely not a good idiom.
Jo: Does anyone know what an aftershade is?
Rob: I tried looking it up but my online dictionary autocorrects to ‘aftershave’.
Jo: I don’t think the song is about Brut 33.
Marcus: Google images comes up with several options.
This Arabian stallion is also named Aftershade.
Jo: In the context of the song I feel like it’s a made up word for the long shadows of a sunset fading into nothingness as the sun dips under the horizon.
Rob: I’ll take it. But I want someone to tell me what’s going on with the horse now. So why we love this song. The intro for Aftershade got me right away, with the vintage rock and roll oooh oooh vocals and the drunk keyboards. If I was listening blind I might picture Blondie guest starring with the Muppets.
Jo: I love the way Rose sings. It’s like Blondie mixed up with kooky art punk bands like The 18.104.22.168’s, Shonen Knife or Deerhoof.
Rob: She has a unique vocal presence, which you can’t say about a lot of singers. The sound of the whole band has a groovy Motown influence too. But wrapped in this messy, fuzz pop aesthetic. The thing I love the most is how the presentation is simple, but the arrangement is so sophisticated. The minimal sound profile does a great job of concealing the work that went into it.
Marcus: I was thinking that too. Intro, verse, false chorus, chorus, breakdowns, climactic end bridge, dynamics, multiple switches in the drum patterns, abstract vocals, crooned vocals, shouting vocals, layers of hooks everywhere. It’s a complex operation, with every songwriting tool in the box, but everything comes together in this casual punk way.
Jo: The Aussieness of the ending is also very cool, I think. “Are you game?” is not where you think the vocals would ever go, and it just kicks everything through.
Rob: A lot of love for Okin Osan. I’m going to be wearing my happy helmet at the show.