You can’t really talk about The Olms without setting the scene a little bit.
The band is best known as the latest project from singer-songwriter Pete Yorn, but the minute you meet his collaborator J.D. King, it’s very clear where the retro influences on the album came from.
Dressed in a burgundy suede suit, and noticeably tall with a George Harrison circa 1972 haircut, J.D. seems like he was dropped in 2013 from another era. He set up a portable record player in their dressing room, spinning Sly and the Family Stone as the pre-show music (with albums from Roxy Music, ELO, Zombies and the Beach Boys in the cue).
These guys are ALL about vibe, which is one of the things I love about their new album, which they performed for a room full of KCRW supporters at Apogee Studio last night. It was their first show in LA, even though they are based here.
They met through J.D.’s girlfriend about 8 years ago, with Pete saying he “loves him like a brother”, but it wasn’t until a year ago that they tried to write a song together, starting with the bouncy pop of “Twice as Nice”, which kicks off the new record.
They’re music isn’t easily categorized as there are bits of jangly folk, rock, brit-pop and some quirky unexpected moments (the somewhat spoken word of “On the Line”). Of course, there is at least one love song that is pure Pete, the wistful “Someone Else’s Girl” (sample lyric: “everyone is having fun while I just sit here and cry”).
In fact, host Anne Litt asked them about the fact that there is some darkness hidden in their lighthearted sounding songs, to which J.D. replied “You have fun at Disneyland but you have to wait in line”.
Pete talked about how much he enjoys having a collaborator to “pick up the slack” when he’s hitting a wall and is out of ideas. J.D. made sure to add that they are astrologically opposites, which makes them a perfect pair.
Their friendship clearly fuels the music and a track like, “Wanna Feel It”, which has been a favorite at KCRW for many months now, is a perfect example of their musical union.
It’s worth noting that their post-show vinyl pick was T. Rex and that the one cover they worked into their set was “Love is All Around” by the Troggs.
The band is just getting started and have a few tour dates over the summer, including June 3 at the Troubadour. Tune in on June 5 to hear the session on Morning Becomes Eclectic.
The Olms Live on KCRW Set List
On The Line
What Can I Do?
Another Day Dream
She Said No!
Someone Else’s Girl
Rise & Shine
Love is All Around (The Troggs cover)
Bottle of Wine, Etc.
Wanna Feel It
Twice as Nice