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O'Death at Independence Day Throwdown

July 4 • Southgate House

By Reyan Ali · June 29th, 2009 · Sound Advice
“When we started the band, I was listening to a lot of old music,” starts vocalist/guitarist Greg Jamie when speaking of O’Death’s origins. This line has been heard in a dozen variations before, yet when Jamie says old, he means old. Inspiration came from American Primitive, Vol. 1, a compilation covering Blues and Gospel recorded between 1926 and 1936.

“I like the hiss and the raw energy that went away when a lot of folk music got watered down,” Jamie says. “We wanted to modernize the idea.”

O’Death’s rugged stomp grafts the power of Punk and Metal onto the faculties of Jazz, Bluegrass and Folk and spits the combination out with the unencumbered spirit of pre-WWII music. 2008’s Broken Hymns, Limbs and Skin provides a suitable portrait of a hydra-headed sound that’s garnered some varied reactions.

“I feel very comfortable with using Folk as a word to describe us but I know that our bass player feels that we are a Punk band,” Jamie says. “We’ve definitely backed ourselves into many corners by trying to explain ourselves through a genre.”

Similarly, the press has had some fun: Jamie recalls that two descriptions have called his voice a “baby manatee being ravaged by a pack of feral cougars” and “like a thousand screen doors being shut at the same time.” Thankfully, he’s open to hearing multi-flavored feedback about his work.

“It’s definitely interesting,” he says. “I like it.”

While the New York sextet’s live show is notable for its vigor, the O’Death frontman imagines the group tapering its pace soon.

“I foresee something drastic happening,” he says. “Once we start working on a new album, we’re going to integrate different kinds of instruments; maybe be less aggressive. There’s only so long that you can play the over-the-top drunk thing. It has to come to a stop at some point.”

(Buy tickets to the Southgate House's Independence Day Throwdown, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here.)



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