I hear it... then I can see it:
A bubble-gum-crusted boot stomps down into a puddle of reverb, splashing radiant droplets of sweet melody and murky feedback all across the paved flooring of the garage, riled-up rock splayed out sonorously into the rafters; four musicians, the essential elements, (guitar-bass-drum-guitar-...and a yowling/crooning-voice), forming a song-summit cycling through sensibilities as varied as: pure/seminal pop hooks, tropicalia-tweaks, freaked-out-psychedelia, sunburst-surf, shambolic lo-fi rock and dance-minded post-punk.
At least that's the image in my head this morning, listening back to the ol' albums by The Oscillating Fan Club. I say "ol' albums," but really, it only feels that way: their debut, Feverish Dreams, came out in 2008 and its follow up, George Washington's Teeth was just as recent as Nov. 2010.
It only feels that way because I've been following this band for almost as long as they've existed (which goes back to late 2004/early 2005).
That I could unfurl such a flowery and inspired evocation of their tunes' dynamic dash and boogie-coaxing flash is symptomatic of their musical sensibilities (the records they dig and the iconic bands they behold) aligning so close to my own.
That's because I grew up with half of this band:
I've known guitarist/singer Ray Thompson and guitarist Pierce Reynolds for 15 years now, the three of us having shuffled our way together, shyly/awkwardly and, on occasion with obtuse/off-putting theatrics, through the linoleum hallways of Ferndale High School, bumping our way through embarrassing musicals (ugh, Brigadoon), sneaking irreverent eccentricities into the school newspaper...
I could go on.
Suffice it to say, I trust this band. For six solid years, these two roustabouts strummed and shredded with Jon C. Fairweather and Robin Veresh as their capable rhythm section (bass/drum respectively), shining out, with their distinctive blend of Brit-pop/space-rock and tumbled/waltzing wails, during what genuinely felt like a modest re-invigoration of local rock music.
From the Magic Stick to the Loving Touch, exhilarating offbeat festivals at the Contemporary Arts Institute of Detroit to harried romps through house-parties, the OFC were part of the vanguard of new pop-leaning musicians, open to experimentation, who took the torch forward from the garage-heavy explosions of Detroit rock back from 2000-2001 "era."
Their between song banter was awkward, their jokes sailed toward left-field and they could, for those of us who dug that sorta thing, really get the fuzzed-out feedback fires roiling. But their victory was keeping all their various muses: afrobeat, ambient drone, krautrock, and more, balanced into a palatable pop-frame. They'd always hit you, keep you, with a beat you could hold onto, a groove you could shake to, a spindly, major-key guitar undulation you could swoon to...
Ah, it was what it was and I could go on.
Thompson, who's likely served you some spirits at the Loving Touch bar these past summer nights, has experimented with an edgier rock-oriented project called Pigeon. His drummer in that band, Justin Walsh, was recently welcomed to the OFC as founding drummer Veresh moves on. Reynolds, meanwhile, is hoping his own outside-of-OFC-band, DevilFish, picks up again soon, but is nonetheless enthused for this project's re-acceleration after a year or so of on-and-off inertia.
Next Friday, at the Old Miami, they're joined by Duende and Bars of Gold, affecting an almost family-reunion-ish vibe, as musicians in both of those bands have shared many a bill and many a long, ear-blasting night with the OFC over these last six years. That certain energy, the OFC's ostensible re-boot, the chance for old friends to plug in and, if you'll permit me: rock-out, will resonate through the air and likely result in a memorable night of music.
Update: Duende have a 7" single coming out soon (coupled with a music video featuring members of Passalacqua), while Bars of Gold have wrapped up some recordings in High Bias studios for an album that is indeterminately "...forthcoming."
Old Miami - 3930 Cass Avenue Detroit, MI 48201