Currently based in Portland, OR, the indie rock trio Other Lives have received national attention and praise for a lush, orchestrated sound that channels Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The National and Ocean Rain-era Echo and the Bunnymen but with the sort of moodiness that suggests that the trio that draws from Joy Division, Interpol and The Doors. Interestingly, the trio comprised of Jesse Tabish (piano, guitar, lead vocals) Jonathon Mooney (piano,violin, guitar, percussion, trumpet) Josh Onstott (bass, keys, percussion, guitar, backing vocals) can trace the origins of Other Lives to when Tabish, Mooney and Onstott met in Stillwater, OK — and while in Oklahoma, the trio wrote and recorded an album under the name of Kunek before going through a change of sonic direction that necessitated a rebranding. This process seemed especially prescient and fitting as the members of Other Lives had relocated to Portland during the recording sessions of Rituals, which was later released to critical praise.
Now, if you’ve been frequenting JOVM for a bit, you may remember that I’ve written about the trio over the past year or so. In particular, “Reconfiguration” off Rituals was an ominously atmospheric track, comprised of swirling electronics, gently plinking keys, angular bursts of guitar, skittering percussion and subtle bursts of strings paired with crooned vocals that express an aching vulnerability and regret with an emotional immediacy. And with subtly jazz phrasing, the song managed to also channel The Darcys’ fantastic Warring as it effortlessly meshed several different genres with an art school sheen, while possessing a pop-based accessibility.
The Portland-based trio’s latest single “Beat Primal,” consists of unusually syncopated yet propulsive percussion, swirling electronics and gorgeous piano chords paired with Tabish’s incredible vocal range, which on this song is lilting, aching falsetto that expresses aching vulnerability and need. Sonically, this particular single reminds me of Caveman’s “Great Life” and “Easy Water” off the Brooklyn band’s gorgeous debut, Coco Beware and High Violet-era The National as it balances a larger-than-life cinematic quality with an intimate, emotional immediacy.
The trio had a video competition for the single on Genero TV, and the band, along with the channel announced the winning video, which reminds me quite a bit of the video for Caveman’s “Easy Water” as the video has a naked woman floating about in space — in a way that initially begins with a seemingly easy concept that gradually reveals an intricate and complicated viewpoint with an unforced, dream-like fluidity.
Other Lives appeared at Glastonbury Festival earlier this year, and will be making a stop at Brooklyn Academy of Music as part of the Next Wave Festival on October 9 and 10 before returning to Europe for a couple of shows, before touring with indie darlings Belle and Sebastian. Check out tour dates below.
03 – Assembly Hall, London, UK
05 – Tivolivredenburg, Utrecht, NL
06 – Doornroosje,Nijimegan, NL
07 – De Oosterpoort, Gronigen, NL
08 – Paradiso, Amsterdam, NL
10 – Rocher de Palmer, Cenon, FR *
11 – Razzmatazz, Barcelona, ES *
12 – Coliseum, Lisbon, PT *
14 – Riviera, Madrid, SP *
18 – La Paloma, Nimes, FR *
19 – Casino de Paris, Paris, FR*
21 – Fri-Son, Fribourg, CH *
23 – X-TRA Limmathaus, Zurich, CH *
24 – Live Music Hall, Cologne, DE*
25 – Cirque Royale, Brussels, BE*
27 – Docks, Hamburg, DE*
29 – 013, Tilburg, NL *
* supporting Belle & Sebastian