Posts Tagged ‘Steve Hartlett’

The electric guitar never sounds quite as warm and welcoming as it does when it’s run through a distortion pedal and comes out feelin’ real fuzzy. Ovlov know this. Listening to the Connecticut indie-rock band’s first two albums—2013’s “Am” and 2018’s “Tru”—is like drinking from the fuzz-guitar firehose; the swirl of distortion is so thick at times, it feels like you could drop into it and disappear. And yet the songs always feel bright and buoyant, a testament to main Ovlov-er Steve Hartlett’s skill as a composer. Like Built to Spill and/or Dinosaur Jr.’s, his tunes are never overwhelmed by the sound. On their third album “Buds”, Ovlov scale back the squall a bit and bring those tunes to the forefront. Don’t misunderstand: Hartlett and his crew still know how to dial up the fuzz, as they do with great gusto on the album’s punky, 98-second opening track, “Baby Shea.” But on “Buds“, they deploy it with more restraint, giving space to cleaner tones that jangle and chime, and to Hartlett’s charming melodies.

This album with it’s alluring composition has straight up set up a home in my mind and it’s not leaving anytime soon.

Released November 19th, 2021

The Band

Steve Hartlett* played guitar and sang
Theo * played drums
Jon * played bass
Morgan Luzzi played guitar

“Land of Steve-O” is the first single from Ovlov’s new album “Buds” out November 19th, 2021 on Exploding in Sound Records.

What a record! Every track a noisy gem!,  That raw guitar vibrating my soul like a sonic drone strike into my aural cavity. Since cropping up on the East Coast DIY circuit in 2009, amassing the sort of fervent cult fanbase that gets tattoos in their honour, Ovlov have had to break up a number of times in order to keep it together. Their most recent disintegration, in March 2015, seemed to suggest a greater degree of finality, however, with Hartlett expressing his uneasiness with demanding a full-time-band commitment from the revolving roster of friends and family members that have helped him realize his creative vision. But after redirecting his energies to his other solo project Stove, he returned to Ovlov’s Facebook page in early 2016 to sheepishly announce an intention to reunite the band, “sometimes but not all the time.” Ironically, that commitment to be non-committal has since yielded two years of steady touring, a vinyl compilation of their early EPs, and now, Ovlov’s first proper album in half a decade.

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The Band:

Steve Hartlett sang, played guitar, bass & synth on the best of you
Theo Hartlett played drums, sang on stick, guitar soloed on grab it from the garden
Morgan Luzzi played guitar
Michael Hammond Jr. played bass, guitar on best of you
Erin McGrath sang on baby alligator
Michael John Thomas III played a guitar solo on grab it from the garden

Since cropping up on the East Coast DIY circuit in 2009, amassing the sort of fervent cult fanbase that gets tattoos in their honor, Ovlov have had to break up a number of times in order to keep it together. Their most recent disintegration, in March 2015, seemed to suggest a greater degree of finality, however, with Hartlett expressing his uneasiness with demanding a full-time-band commitment from the revolving roster of friends and family members that have helped him realize his creative vision. But after redirecting his energies to his solo project Stove, he returned to Ovlov’s Facebook page in early 2016 to sheepishly announce an intention to reunite the band, “sometimes but not all the time.” Ironically, that commitment to be non-committal has since yielded two years of steady touring, a vinyl compilation of their early EPs, and now, Ovlov’s first proper album in half a decade.

The division between Ovlov and Stove was always blurry—the former may lean on Dinosaur Jr. overdrive while the latter wobbles on a rickety Guided by Voices foundation, but both ultimately forge a symbiotic relationship between Hartlett’s crestfallen melodies and his fuzz-pedal abuse. While Stove began as a wholly solo endeavor, it quickly formalized into a proper band in its own right—one whose bassist, Michael “Boner” Hammond Jr., is part of this current Ovlov line-up. But with Tru, Hartlett soundly reasserts Ovlov’s signature strength: the band’s ability to fortify tender songs with muscular squall in a way that doesn’t obscure their emotional intent, but amplifies it. Harlett’s songs tend to deal in themes of loneliness, estrangement, and the inability to communicate, and the onslaught of noise ultimately serves to make that desire for connection feel all the more cruelly out of reach.

Steve Hartlett sang, played guitar, bass & synth on the best of you
Theo Hartlett played drums, sang on stick, guitar soloed on grab it from the garden
Morgan Luzzi played guitar
Michael Hammond Jr. played bass, guitar on best of you
Erin McGrath sang on baby alligator
Michael John Thomas III played a guitar solo on grab it from the garden
Released July 20th, 2018

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The sophomore album from Connecticut fuzz-rockers Stove “s’ Favorite Friend” , finds them seeking refuge in art: The album was written and recorded after songwriter Steve Hartlett and drummer/vocalist Jordyn Blakeley had both recently lost loved ones, and the resulting songs reckon with “grief and the sometimes harsh realities of time passing,” per a press release. That search for catharsis plays out in “Stiff Bones,” on which Hartlett’s rueful yowls, Blakeley’s powerful drums and an onslaught of washed-out guitars push through upheaval to find peace. “When you try to play it off / as if your heart is truly soft / You gave away / and slave away / Alone is how you want to be / so lonely’s what you’ll feel with me / and everyone / not anyone,” Hartlett and Blakeley sing as one.

Band Members
Steve Hartlett, Mike Hammond, Jordyn Blakely, Alex Molini

“Stiff Bones” by Stove from their upcoming LP, ‘s Favorite Friend, out October 31, 2018 on Exploding in Sound Records

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The sophomore album from Connecticut fuzz-rockers Stove, ’s Favorite Friend (not a typo!), finds them seeking refuge in art: The album was written and recorded after songwriter Steve Hartlett and drummer/vocalist Jordyn Blakeley had both recently lost loved ones, and the resulting songs reckon with “grief and the sometimes harsh realities of time passing,” per a press release. That search for catharsis plays out in “Stiff Bones” on which Hartlett’s rueful yowls, Blakeley’s powerful drums and an onslaught of washed-out guitars push through upheaval to find peace. “When you try to play it off / as if your heart is truly soft / You gave away / and slave away / Alone is how you want to be / so lonely’s what you’ll feel with me / and everyone / not anyone,” Hartlett and Blakeley sing as one.

“Stiff Bones” by Stove from their upcoming LP, ‘s Favorite Friend, out October 31, 2018 on Exploding in Sound Records.