Follow TV Tropes


Music / The Olivia Tremor Control

Go To
L-R: Will Cullen Hart, Peter Erhick, John Fernandes, Eric Harris, Bill Doss

The Olivia Tremor Control is an indie rock band associated with the Elephant 6 Collective, a group of bands which also includes of Montreal, Neutral Milk Hotel, and The Apples In Stereo. The band was founded in 1992 by singer/songwriter/guitarists Bill Doss and Will Cullen Hart, as well as future NMH frontman Jeff Mangum. After releasing 2 albums plus a handful of EPs and singles, the Control disbanded in early 2000. They reunited in 2009, and re-entered the studio in preparation for a third album, but Bill Doss died unexpectedly in 2012, leaving the future of that album in doubt..

Members (founding members in bold, current members in italics)

  • Will Cullen Hart - Guitar, vocals (1994-2000, 2009-present)
  • Bill Doss - Guitar, cornet, percussion, vocals (1994-2000, 2009-2012, died 2012)
  • Jeff Mangum - Drums, guitar, vocals (1994-1995)
  • Eric Harris - Drums, theremin, guitar (1995-2000, 2009-present)
  • John Fernandes - Bass, violin, saxophone, clarinet (1995-2000, 2009-present)
  • Peter Erhick - Keyboards, bass, vocals (1996-2000, 2009-present)
  • Derek Almstead - Drums, guitar, bass (2010-present)

Studio Albums

  • Music From the Unrealized Film Script: Dusk At Cubist Castle (1996)
    • Explanation II: Instrumental Themes and Dream Sequences (1997, bonus disc)
  • The Olivia Tremor Control vs. The Black Swan Network (1997, collaboration w/The Black Swan Network)
  • Black Foliage: Animation Music Vol. 1 (1999)
  • Singles and Beyond (2000, compilation of otherwise-unavailable singles)
  • The Same Place (TBA, planned finale)

The Olivia Troping Control:

  • Aborted Arc: Black Foliage is presented as the first volume of "animation music." There never was a second volume released.
  • The Band Minus the Face: Hart has confirmed that after The Same Place releases, the band will break up out of respect for Bill.
  • Baroque Pop: Much like the rest of the E6 Collective, they take heavy influence from The Beach Boys.
  • Concept Album: Or concept discography. The band's primary inspiration is the nonsensical, entrancing universe of dreams, to the point where they asked some of their listeners to send in tapes of their own dreams.
    • A more straightforward example is their first proper album, Music From the Unrealized Film Project: Dusk at Cubist Castle, which was intended to be the soundtrack to a never-released film.
  • Crossover: A lot of their companions in the E6 collective frequently guest on their albums. Their most frequent collaborators are Apples in Stereo frontman Robert Schneider, and Neutral Milk Hotel centerpieces Jeff Mangum (a former member of the band) and Julian Koster.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Their demo tapes and early singles, compiled on Singles and Beyond, were mostly straightforward lo-fi garage rock, compared to the psychedelic pop/sound collage sound of their two albums.
  • Epic Rocking: Green Typewriters, at 23:08.
  • Hikikomori: Possibly the narrator of "Sylvan Screen".
  • Mind Screw: Comes with the territory when most of your songs are about dreams.
  • Psychedelic Rock: They are a Genre Throwback to this style.
  • Real Dreams are Weirder: The basic inspiration for most of their songs. One of their songs is even called "Define a Transparent Dream."
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The basic dynamic of the group's sound was based on Bill Doss' (Blue) pop sensibilities combining with Will Cullen Hart's (Red) madcap experimenting.
  • Serial Escalation: Often. For example, most of the shorter tracks on Black Foliage Animation Music are variations on the basic tracks for the song "Black Foliage"; in turn, the super-brief "Combinations" tracks are remixes of those remixes; and the B-side to the album single "Hideaway", also entitled "Combinations", is seemingly a three-minute remix of those remixed remixes... Savvy?
  • Solo Side Project: Hart and Doss both had ones, which the Control members frequently cycled through.
    • Hart's is Circulatory System, which showcases his tendency for heady, experimental jams.
    • Doss' was The Sunshine Fix, which showcased his love of bright, singalong pop songs.
  • Titled After the Song:
    • The working title of the Elephant 6 documentary, A Place We Have Been To was titled after this band's song of the same name. When the documentary released, however, they changed the name to A Future History of Elephant 6, which is based on a Sunshine Fix album, A Future History and Irrelevance of Time.
    • Also an inversion: On their Singles and Beyond compilation, they have a song called "Sunshine Fix," which is the name Bill Doss used for his Solo Side Project.
  • The Walrus Was Paul: It's often difficult to tell where the actual "concept" of much of their work ends and the joke begins.