This week, our podcast features San Francisco's Or, the Whale, the seven-piece country-rock band that ranks as one of our longtime Bay Bridged favorites. Inviting the band backtwo years after we first interviewed them around the release of their first album was something of a no-brainer. Or, the Whale's heartfelt songs and superb musicianship have made them one of the Bay's most reliably excellent live bands, and they've backed up sold-out local shows with regular cross-country tours. 2009's been the busiest year yet for the group: their debut, Light Poles and Pines, was re-released on Seany Records to success on Americana and country radio, and in September they released their long-awaited self-titled sophomore album.
Longtime followers of the band will already be familiar with many of the songs on Or, the Whale, which have benefited from years of shaping in the band's live sets. Beyond the refined songwriting, the self-titled release also manages to more effectively capture the rock side of the group's country-rock balance. Working with the always reliable Jay Pellicci, the rhythm section has more heft, and great mixes allow all of the players to shine. To be clear, Light Poles and Pines was an excellent work in its own right, a set of rambunctious foot-stompers and swelling ballads that captured the enthusiasm of a band finding its way through the studio experience. But Or, the Whale ups the ante, and portends more good things for this band's future.
We sat down with Or, the Whale's Alex and Lindsay prior to their national tour to discuss recording the new album, the group's many songwriters, and the band's frequent trips around the country. We've also included four songs from Or, the Whale in the episode.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Hopmonk Tavern (Sebastopol, CA)
with Winters Fall
9:30pm, $15, 21+