Rounding out the list of my 100 favourite songs, it’s the psych pop confection of “Jumping Fences” by The Olivia Tremor Control from 1996, also the shortest of all 100 tunes at just under two minutes.
Mixing delightful Beach Boys and Zombies indebted melodic nuggets with more experimental compositions, The Olivia Tremor Control were one of the prime movers of the Elephant 6 Recording Company collective that emerged from Denver in the mid 90s. After several low key singles and collaborations, debut double LP “Dusk At Cubist Castle” was released in 1996 to glowing reviews, placing high on many year end polls and has more recently been ranked as the 39th best album of the 1990s by Pitchfork. Chock full of breezily beautiful ditties amongst the more esoteric likes of the record’s “Green Typewriters Suite”, standout track “Jumping Fences” was chosen as the sole single from the album; one minute 52 seconds of pure summery joy.
The Olivia Tremor Control released just one more standard LP in 1999 before initially disbanding in 2000, although they have intermittently reformed for a few shows since 2005. Second album “Black Foliage” is a more inconsistent affair than “Dusk At Cubist Castle” but still boasts some real highlights especially lead-off single “Hideaway”. I saw the OTC live around this time at the Garage in London on 18th August 1998, a highly entertaining show as they utilised a huge array of instruments ranging from accordions to giant tubas to help replicate their sonic adventures, no small feat in a fairly tight space. The gig was also notable for the fact that the OTC were supported by fellow Elephant 6 band Neutral Milk Hotel who had recently released their second album “In The Aeroplane Over The Sea” which would go on to huge indie cult acclaim. It’s always surprised me that this pleasant enough but slightly cloying Neutral Milk Hotel record proved much more popular than “Dusk At Cubist Castle”, albeit I know “Dusk…” remains a favourite album for a select few nearly 25 years since its initial release and rightly so.
VIDEOS AND OTHER STUFF
- Other great Olivia Tremor Control songs include: Marking Time, No Growing (Exegesis), Define A Transparent Dream, Hideaway, A Peculiar Noise Called “Train Director”, Can You Come Down With Us?
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