Diggin’ In The Crates: Otouto- Pip
Posted in Digging In the Crates
The weekend LFTF threw its first show in New York City at The Studio at Webster Hall, I found myself with a few friends at a falafel restaurant many blocks away from the venue. Hours of standing and dancing to RL Grime, Salva, and Shlohmo made us very very hungry. We sat down at a table and were eating when an adorable Australian took a seat at the table behind us. She looked like our kind of chick, so we naturally struck up a conversation. Her name is Hazel Brown... now we all know you can't trust someone with two names that are colors, right? But something about her was infinitely charming. She had just come from the show. So I explained my involvement, and she jumped in with the most modest descriptions of what she does. "I run a label in Australia and sing," she said to us.
We swapped contact info, and after a few email exchanges, I realized she wasn't just running any dinky label in Australia or singing in the shower. No, she was much more important than that. Hazel co-runs the Australian label Two Bright Lakes and is the lead singer for Otouto. Needless to say, I felt cheated.
The next thing I knew, I was searching the bowels of my music library for any signs of the label's talent. Two artists popped up. The first was Oscar + Martin, who she actually manages. The second was an album called Pip by her band, Otouto. No way! And I had played this thing out; play counts don't lie.
For the next few weeks, I relived the 2010 release. Pip is an exciting record; it sounds like it would be the soundtrack to an adventurous outing. Hazel's vocals, are to say the least, angelic. They have a soft and delicate quality about them, devoid of vibrato, that sometimes clash with the brash and brazen qualities of the trio's composition. "Astronauts" starts off the record. It's high energy with the drums pounding along and rapid down-strum guitar mirroring its intenseness. The next tune, "Cartoon Shoes", is a whimsical number; one that you can spin around to in a dreamlike haze and fall flat on a bed of pillows. It leaves you feeling hopeful and warm and fuzzy inside. A few tunes later comes "W. Hillier". This is one of the more unique tunes on the album. It features a cool synth patch and super groovy syncopated and choppy drums. Next up is "Tennis Players", which is a tune that was written after some sort of terrible goodbye. It pierces your heart with lyrics like: "I bet you think I'm dreaming of you in the dark, in the sheets, I am not," and "the only reason I want to see you is to give you back... all of the shit you weighed me down with." Ouch, that's cold. These sentiments are only exasperated by the relatively mysterious aura of the music, focusing on a lonely drum and simple, yet haunting, guitar. Second to last on the non-bonus album comes "Sushi". This is the album's single that focuses on the group's quirkiness: "I mistook a man eating sushi... for a man putting on a fake mustache." WTF? Who does that?
Check out the aforementioned tunes below and grab Otouto's Pip right here