The Odawas are a duo that fuses ambient synth tones and singer-songwriter rock. Michael Tapscott (keyboards, guitars, vocals, harmonicas, dry skin, songs and sounds) and Isaac Edwards (keyboards, patience, ears and beards, sounds and songs) met as students in Bloomington, Indiana in 2004, and moved around the Midwest before ultimately settling in Berkeley last winter. Their arrival in the Bay was soon followed by the release of their excellent latest album, The Blue Depths (Jagjaguwar), a critically-acclaimed work that they've supported with performances up and down the West Coast. It's been a busy 2009 for Odawas, with little sign of letting up.
The band's unique sound results from shared interests and divided roles. Both Tapscott and Edwards have a love of film soundtracks and electronic compositions, and they harness the grandeur of these styles to maximize the emotional impact of what remain, at their core, rock songs. Rock songs that are principally composed on keyboards, that is, and written initially by Michael alone, who then delivers his rough sketches to Isaac for refinement and reworking. That separation works for the band, but it seems a little surprising, given how cohesive the mix of organic and electronic layers is on The Blue Depths. "Cohesive" understates it considerably; this is a lush album full of riches to enjoy.
We sat down with Michael and Isaac to discuss the band's migration west, their latest album, and their songwriting dynamic. We've also got four Odawas songs along with the conversation.
Saturday, June 6th
Shoreline Amphitheatre (BFD Festival -- Soundcheck Local Band Stage)
with 35 other bands on 4 stages (full lineup at Live105.com)
Noon, $25, All Ages