“Another Land isn’t a political album. It’s a depression album, written as society moved backwards last year. One of the worst things about getting older is discovering the world is a truly beautiful place run by killers.” OxenFree’s own Jeff Doyle, on Another Land.
OxenFree wrote Another Land largely on the road last summer, debuting early iterations at Savannah Stopover and SXSW. Home for the Fall, the band rounded out the instrumentation and arrangements between their Brooklyn studio and time spent in Virginia. The result on Another Land rears whirling organs, vocals playing in delay, fuzzy guitar leads, and a punchy rhythm section.
There are five tracks on Another Land: “Caterpillar,” depicting an obsession with escapism; “Machine” reckoning with personal and popular inventions of salvation (money, God, beauty); “CourtesyProfessionalismRespect,” questioning over and over the internal motivations of those killing their neighbors in the name of peace; “Garbage Collector,” embracing time spent driving in the opposite direction of the world; and “Hawkweed,” cycling on a readiness to move on — from the outward, packing the home, telling the parents, shifting the skinny body; to the internal feeling “ready to crawl into my soul and let the hawkweed grow.”
The band recorded the album with producer Andrija Tokic in his Nashville studio, whose other credits include Alabama Shakes, Hurray For The Riff Raff, and Benjamin Booker. The band credits Andrija with harnessing the vitality of the record. “Andrija’s ear is amazing and we experimented a lot, pulling the right gear from his stacks of organs and amps to get the live sound right in the room. I think Andrija helped draw out a bit of beauty in our songs, helped them sing together — the record wouldn’t be the same without him,” says Jeff.
OxenFree hails from Alabama, Virginia, New York, and Sydney. Jeff Doyle, the frontman and primary songwriter, was born in DC and reared in Virginia. Living in Charlottesville, he recorded his first EP with Mike Bishop of GWAR, the original Beefcake the Mighty and current Blothar. He resurrected two of those songs when he moved to New York, working on them and pocketed demos and unintentionally starting to pull together the pieces of what would become OxenFree.
OxenFree has released an EP and full-length to date, Fire, If We’re Anything and Beacons, both born from what the band considers the same lengthy sessions, all recorded and mixed by Jeff. “We were figuring ourselves out and along the way decided to release the recordings we made just in our Brooklyn studio. All to a laptop, mixing in headphones with tips from the internet. Another Land is the culmination of the experiments together, written in a van last summer and then recorded live over five days without a computer in sight.”
With Jeff, OxenFree is Christopher Burns (drums, Sydney), Sam Ghitelman (guitars, New York) Sean Padden (basses, New York), and Emilie Soffe (vocals and keys, Alabama). Three grew up playing punk music at house shows, one in the theater (Emilie recently co-created and played in Ski End, see: New York Times).
Another Land is out October 13th on Sneaky Bear Records. You can catch OxenFree on the road this summer in the Northeast and in the Fall on the West coast.
Fire, If We're Anything (2014) EP
Beacons (2016) LP
“OxenFree’s music, which juxtaposes poppy melodies and precise, hefty guitar work, seemed to mirror the subject matters at hand.”
— Consequences of Sound
“...To whet your whistle, here’s a track from it which we are happy to premiere. “Fine Dining” is an echoing guitar jam, circling around jangling riffs that sound like a somewhat more aggressive War on Drugs.
Appropriately this driving song is about…driving! In the band’s own words: “This is a song about taking a road trip with an old friend. It’s about crashing parties and feeling transitory and wasting money.” No money wasted here, but OxenFree are bound to be the kind of band you’d want to spend money on.”
“The new video from Brooklyn’s OxenFree is 4 parts amusing, 1 part unsettling and 2 parts confusing (in a good way). As the main character drifts off to sleep after feeding his goldfish, we enter into the fish’s lovelorn fantasies wherein the two are very happily dating. Adorable coupling ensues, and we’re left feeling enchanted (albeit still a little creeped out) for the happy duo. The backing track for the video, “Captain”, is equally whimsical and fun, as buoyant harmonies and upbeat piano and guitar float below the slightly gritty vocals of Jeff Doyle.”
— The Wild Honey Pie
“It is getting hot and humid and New York and I am getting careless. Strange how OxenFree was able to to capture that exact mood in their forthcoming EP Fire, If We’re Anything despite recording in the New York wintertime. Maybe it is the brass on “Signal Fire,” or the imagery of “Make Out,” but this release says everything you need to think, feel and know about connection in this moment. Streaming this preview will pull you deeper into the present than you knew was possible, or your money back.”
— No Fear Of Pop
“Brooklyn indie group, Oxen Free, have just released their debut EP, ‘Fire, If We’re Anything.’ It’s a collection of three tracks of unabashed guitar drenched indie rock. Their sound shares similarities to early Modest Mouse and Broken Social Scene it’s sense carefully controlled chaos as each of the tracks houses a warm indie pop track wrapped in fuzz, pounding drums and swirls of vocal harmonies. “Virginia Pine” is an exercise in dynamics, softly coying one minute before exploding into triumphant bursts the next. “Make Out” is a peppy love letter to whiskey, hook ups and all the finer parts of slowly getting older. “Signal Fire” closes the record as a three minute rallying call. Each of these tracks and the Oxen Free sound is very hugely epic in a humble way, and this EP is a great intro to the band.” — Kick Kick Snare