The Olivia Tremor Control, Presents: Singles and Beyond

Andy Battaglia

By Andy Battaglia

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Though their legacy is tied up in their albums — two expansive masterpieces of psychedelic sprawl that helped define the Elephant 6 recording collective — the Olivia Tremor Control were also a great singles band. When not exploring strange sonic vistas, band leaders Will Hart and Bill Doss gave indie rock a tasty infusion of '60s pop, writing Beatles- and Zombies-worthy hooks that sound no less sharp in the midst of lo-fi murk. Songs like "Love Athena" and "Shaving Spiders" soar through slurry melodies and forthright rock fuzz, while cut-ups like "Christmas with William S." (that'd be Burroughs) show the band's experimental side. Most of this rich collection of vinyl EP and compilation tracks predates Olivia's 1996 debut, Dusk at Cubist Castle, so the sound is mostly raw and markedly homemade, but it shows the assured first strides of a band that upped the ante for indie rock by peering both backward and forward in time.