I heard them on the Sirius XM Spectrum. The vocalist was Leon Bridges. The song was entitled “Across The Room” and it was hooky and anthemic and I needed to hear it again. So I pulled it up on Spotify and did some research and learned that ODESZA had played Staples Center. HOW DID I NOT KNOW?
Last week I was talking to Chris Zarou, manager of Logic, he told me to promote the album they’d wrapped a bus in the album artwork and dropped in on fans across the country. I WAS UNAWARE! Even though I knew that George Thorogood criss-crossed the country to promote an album decades back.
Peter Paterno remarked that Metallica sold out stadiums across the world last summer and no one knew. Furthermore, their double album did good business. BUT NO ONE KNEW!
Welcome to the new world, where you’re in your own vertical and you may never break out. And this is so confounding for those of us who were brought up in the old world, where you climbed the ladder to world domination. But now it’s impossible to reach everybody, but you can do excellent business reaching just your core audience. After all, Logic is going on an arena tour. Then again, that’s the power of the single, “1-800-273-8255” was everywhere, and Rick Mueller says a single is now enough to sell tickets, you can listen to his story on tomorrow’s podcast.
But that Leon Bridges cut is from an ODESZA album, and stunningly, it’s playable throughout, with peaks, it reminds me of the mood of Air’s “Moon Safari” from twenty years back, an electronic-based LP that you can put on in the background and drift away, dobie gray.
“Across The Room” has got this languorous groove, with a simple melody, and then it explodes into “State Of Independence” majesty, whether it be the Donna Summer original or the Moodswings remake, I guess Quincy Jones was right about the influences, I only wish he’d refused to apologize, what kind of world do we live in where someone can’t speak their truth with impunity.
Then I was intrigued and wanted to hear the Regina Spektor cut, a woman whose name was on everybody’s lips a few years back and seems to have fallen off. But “Just A Memory” could bring her back.
But it was the cut after that which was my favorite, “Divide,” featuring Kelsey Bulkin… WHO?
I fired up the Google Machine and it turned out I had not missed the memo, she was not already famous, she had a career, but was just stepping to the mic with ODESZA, to create this song that sounded like it was being pulled by a Zamboni that was alternately waxing and stuttering.
How is this happening? How is this palatable, exquisite music sitting right alongside the hip-hop nation and getting so little attention even though so many know about it, after all ODESZA is second to closing at this year’s Coachella.
That’s the world we now live in, one in which greatness can be hiding in plain sight.
Thank god Howard Stern was on vacation, thank god I stumbled upon this.
But even more it rekindled my belief in music. This was not retreads, this was something new, not something just made in the mold of the old, and it was GOOD!
You take the building blocks and you try to push the envelope. And today you can be college students in Washington with laptops and start a career and make it to the zenith without the usual suspects.
And it’s not only rappers who are collaborating.
ODESZA will either float your boat or it won’t. If you’re a fan of Little Steven’s Underground Garage you might pooh-pooh it, wonder where the guitars are.
If you’re a fan of Lithium or Octane you’ll wonder where the edge is.
Then again, if you’re old enough you’ll remember when we could love different kinds of music, when we could love AC/DC and Joni Mitchell.
But ODESZA is neither. It’s certainly reminiscent of what came before, but it’s definitely brand new.
After you get hooked, put “A Moment Apart” on when hosting a party, it won’t be long before people ask WHAT’S THAT?
P.S. ODESZA’s “Corners Of The Earth” was featured in NBC’s promo for the Olympics: https://vimeo.com/250332775
P.P.S. ODESZA’s “Sun Models” (feat. Madelyn Grant) has 99,666,143 streams on Spotify. The tracks from “A Moment Apart” are all in seven digits.