Oklahoma quintet Other Lives may have just celebrated its tenth anniversary, but it only recently graduated to the big stage while supporting Radiohead’s latest tour. It’s easy to see why Thom Yorke & Co. thought these orchestral folk-poppers might make a good match: The group’s 2008 demo tracks
reveal a plaintive falsetto and dramatic thought-rock, including
“It Was the Night,” a brooding stunner that wouldn’t sound out of place on Amnesiac.
Let’s not give the seminal English band all the credit, though. The sophomore release from Other Lives, 2011’s Tamer Animals, found the bearded combo mining noirish Americana to cinematic effect, and a fittingly Midwestern sound. Complex instrumentation, galloping rhythms and lush strings that draw frequent comparisons to Fleet Foxes’ pastoral harmonies provide a delicate spaghetti-Western soundtrack. On new EP Mind the Gap—which features a prominent Atoms for Peace remix—Other Lives adds a dalliance with skittery electronics to its Morricone-esque tunes. Don’t expect those textures to be any less intricate in a live setting; any given song during an Other Lives gig might include clarinet, trumpet, violin, harmonica, cello, mellotron and more, with the members switching and playing several instruments at once.
Opener Indians, the moniker for Copenhagen singer-songwriter Søren Løkke Juul, offers a more stripped-down take on brooding indie folk as he previews songs from his debut, Somewhere Else (out January 29 on 4AD). Hushed and haunting, his stark autumnal ambles are an ideal complement to Other Lives’ epic landscapes.—Marley Lynch
Follow Marley Lynch on Twitter: @marleyasinbob