Of A Revolution

O.A.R.'s latest albumMy current Can’t-Get-Enough favorite band is O.A.R.(short for “Of A Revolution”). I only just heard them a few weeks ago when they appeared on Conan O’Brien’s show. I jumped straight to the ‘net to find more stuff, to see if they had more music that I’d like before buying a CD.

It turns out they did. I’ve since picked up 5 of them, as a matter of fact. OAR is surviving and thriving in the modern age of music, using all of its potential. They are the model for other up-and-coming bands to emulate. They must be scaring the bejeezus out of the music industry.

O.A.R. started out as a garage band, basically. The core of the band formed in high school but the band really started going somewhere during their college days in Ohio. They built a rabid fanbase by staying on the road and playing as many gigs as they could. They recorded CDs on their own as demos. Those CDs weren’t synthesized-sounding crap. The band would go into the studio, play their song, and record it then and there. No tracks and computerized effects. The raw energy of the band was maintained through the recordings. Those four CDs sold better than 250,000 copies, by all accounts.

In addition, they have an open taping policy. They invite their fans to record their shows and trade them on the ‘net, so long as no money traded hands. Dozens of concerts are now available on-line to be downloaded. (A broadband connection is required, unless you’re very patient. These recordings are not in the lossy compression format of MP3. They are full-scale .WAV files, slightly compressed with a program called SHN, coming complete with a MD5 checksum to verify the proper downloading of the files.)

Earlier this year, they released their first record from a ‘major’ label (Lava Records, home of Uncle Kracker and Kid Rock). Called “In Between Now And Then,” it comes with a bonus DVD that has video of three live performances (including their signature hit, “Crazy Game of Poker”), plus all sorts of behind-the-scenes stuff.

OAR group picTheir web site includes all the songs from their demo recordings, available for free. If you want to hear their stuff, they’re going to let you do so. No charge. What a brilliant idea, eh?

The best account of the history of the band that I’ve read so far is on their web site, from the Phoenix New Times.

The music, itself, is a mix of rock, reggae, and ska. It’s three guys on guitar, one guy with a sax, and a drummer. They’re often compared to Dave Matthews Band, but I think OAR is a bit more up-tempo than that. To my ear, they’re also more memorable and more interesting. They have a tendency to play around with their songs a lot live. “Poker” is a 7 or 8 minute recording on its first album, but I have concert recordings that range from 13 to 23 minutes for the song. OAR is not afraid to experiment. You’ll even get the occasional cover song.

If you want to give them a shot, their web site is at ofarevolution.com. Click on the “OfARevolution Player” button and choose and album and a song. I’d suggest starting with the album, “The Wanderer.” It’s a good sampling. If you like that, jump right to the live albums, “Any Time Now” 1 and 2.

To download the concerts, hop on over to Archive.org, where you can find all the concerts available for download.

Finally, here’s a list of all sorts of OAR links to keep any fan busy.

10 thoughts on “Of A Revolution

  1. They sound interesting… how do they feel about full-frame if the film was shot open matte?

  2. Okay, if they DON’T sound like Dave Matthews, what would you compare them to? All-American Rejects??

  3. Matthew –>

    I can’t speak for OAR, but I’m all for keeping the open matte shorted. The director obviously wanted the composition of the frame to feature just the middle band. On the other hand, showing the full-frame without the bars is preferable on the networks, just because there’d be less work involved and less nausea on the part of viewers. Check out CRUEL INTENTIONS for an example of how different widescreen versus open matte can look.

    Bronte –>

    I don’t know All-American Rejects. They’re very much a rock and roll band with reggae and ska influences. You might think of them as the ultimate frat party band, if you’d like. It’s a bit negative, though, so I’d probably skip that. You could compare it slightly to early NO DOUBT, maybe? I’m not sure.

    It’s poppy and catchy, though.

    This is why I stick mostly to DVD and comics reviewing. =)


  4. No, the “early No Doubt” reference kind of helped. I guess I’m going to have to go to Best Buy this week…

    You know, I need to stop reading this. First comics, then DVDs, now CDs. You’re set and determined that I just shouldn’t save money, aren’t you? ;)

  5. But that’s the great thing – you don’t need to spend money to figure out if you like them. You can listen on their web site to a few songs.

    Or, since I like you and Eric both, you can slip me your address in a private e-mail and I’ll ship a couple of concert CDs out to you. My treat. If you like it after that, I won’t feel guilty about you spending your own money on the commercial CDs. =)

    But if you absolutely must buy a CD, go with the new one pictured in the blog entry. It has 15-18 songs, plus the DVD with concert footage. Great value for less than $20.


  6. Ah, okay – I somehow glossed over the whole entire paragraph regarding listening to the songs on the website. ;) I blame a bad case post-trip-itis.

    And don’t think you can assuage your guilt by offering loot. We still hold you responsible for many expenditures. Many.

    It’s okay, though….I’ll download the songs and then decide whether or not to purchase. Tomorrow is payday, so I obviously have to spend money on SOMETHING, don’t I? ;)

  7. It’s like early No Doubt, but the lead singer sounds like he smokes 6 packs a day. Makes for a slightly different sound. =)

    I believe the web site uses Flash. You basically click on the song and it plays. You can’t quite download the MP3, I don’t think. It’ll do the trick, though. “Hey Girl” is their first single from earlier this year.

    And I’m not trying to assuage ALL of my guilt — just any guilt that might come up related to this little recommendation. My musical tastes are odd and eclectic. I don’t recommend music lightly. =)


  8. i have been listening to O.A.R. for about a year and they are my favorite band. yeah i like dmb, but they are truly so different from them. I have seen them perform live several times and they isn’t a better band to see play live. I feel bad for people who haven’t heard of them. yeah O.A.R. i am proud to say that i am obsessed.

  9. I originally posted this story three months ago now, exactly. And I’m still listening to OAR nearly daily. I download a new show every now and then to freshen things up, but I’m still addicted.

    I hope they have their “big break” soon. I don’t need another They Might Be Giants style cult hit that nobody knows exists…


  10. Pingback: Various and Sundry: DVDs, Tech, HDTV, and More » Blog Archive » O.A.R. on Conan

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