Week in Pop: Donovan Blanc, False Priest, Old Smile, Pie Face Girls

Sjimon Gompers

Raleigh, NC's Pie Face Girls are one of the most phenomenal, counter-culture groups right now; press photo courtesy of the band.

Gregory Uhlmann

A candid moment with the one & only Gregory Uhlmann; press photo courtesy of the artist.

A candid moment with the one & only Gregory Uhlmann; press photo courtesy of the artist.

The Maren Celest video for “Odd Job” follows the day in the life of a career clown where everything from unfurls by virtue of random chance:

Seen moonlighting in acts like Fell Runner, Typical Sisters, Similar Fashion & as a part of the collective SHUTTER w/ Andy Clausen of The Westerlies; we had the chance to talk to the artist about his debut album Odd Job and more.

From working with Fell Runner, Typical Sisters, Similar Fashion, Shutter with The Westerlies’ Andy Clausen—describe the road, inspirations and more to making your solo debut, Odd Job with Tim Carr.

This record happened without much planning. Tim (Carr) offered to record a song at his home studio and I immediately knew that Tim would be the perfect person to work with on this music. We play together in Fell Runner and this record has been the genesis for the production company we’ve started since. All the musicians on the record play in the live band, so the arrangements all came together fast. The material on “Odd Job” grew out of a body of songs I’d be working on that didn’t seem to fit into any of the bands I’m in. Even though I take influence from a lot of different sources it’s an outgrowth of my love of great songwriters. I take as much influence from my heroes as I do from my peers, so playing in all the aforementioned bands shaped the music profoundly in different ways.

What other sorts of ‘odd jobs’ & more informed Odd Job, along with the title track video that follows about a clowning meta-narrative?

I can’t say a specific odd job really informed the video. It’s more metaphorical in my mind. With the narrative of the video I was thinking about how your appearance and how you view yourself effect how you move through the world and how people treat you. It was interesting to shoot the video because you really get a different view of the world when you’re dressed as a clown. I’m used to blending in, so when you stick out like a sore thumb you’re forced to adapt to that attention.

Other great artists in Los Angeles that you would like to give a shout out to?

There are too many great artists and bands in LA to list, but some of my favorites are Tim Carr, Alex Izenberg, Jeff Parker, Vardan Ovsepian, Alex Noice, Logan Hone, Lauren Baba, Kidi Band, Miwa Matreyek, Matt Blitzer, and Dylan Rodrigue.

How have you found that city of LA personally inspires you on various levels?

LA is infinitely inspiring. I never thought I would have lived here. It’s a bizarre place. I’m from Chicago, so California was a bit of a culture shock. Mountains are pretty magical to me. Not something you get in Illinois. This winter has been especially great with all the rain and lushness that comes with it. I went to school at CalArts, so living in LA was a very natural move after studying there. There’s a real community of people that live in LA that went to CalArts.

What have you currently been listening to a lot of lately?

I’ve been listening to a lot of Kate Bush recently, specifically “Hounds of Love”. It took me a while to get into her music, but I just kept listening and now I love it. I just got Martha Wainwright’s “Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole” and the title track on that EP is just incredible. Been listening to a few different things that Jeff Parker is doing and has done including his new records, “The New Breed” and “Slight Freedom”. Also, “Chicago Underground Quartet” which is one of my all time favorite albums.

Spring & summer hopes?

This summer is still a little bit of a mystery, but this spring is looking exciting and busy. I’m recording a lot and touring a bit as well. Doing release shows in Oakland, Portland, Seattle, NY, and Chicago. Tim (Carr) and I are recording/producing a few different records and I’m playing guitar on a couple different records including one thing that one of my all time favorite drummers, Brian Blade, is playing on.

Most important causes that you feel everyone should be attentive to right now?

We’re living in a really crazy time right now and it’s hard to know where to put attention, but obviously ACLU and Planned Parenthood are doing really important work. I think a practical thing to do is donate to any programs that rely on donation and NEA funding because those are going to be struggling for the next 4 years. Also, just go support the arts. Go to a show, go to an opening, go to a play, go to an independent movie theater. It’s important to show your support with your actions.

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