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    Monday, August 14, 2006

    Having fun again: Oakley Hall MP3s

    Oakley Hall has to have one of the most perfect band names around. First, you have the real source of their namesake, San Franciscan writer Oakley Hall. He's a cult hero known for penning Westerns that defy the typical Western cliches, subverting but also building on the genre's boundaries. Sound at all familiar? Then you also have what I long assumed to the band's inspiration: the two Annies. Annie Hall and Annie Oakley. You have the instantly charming, slightly offbeat New Yorker and the Western woman with the surprisingly killer aim. You have the urban and the rural, the modern and the traditional, the personal and the mythic all in one. And that is, in case you couldn't tell where I was heading, is a pretty apt description of Oakley Hall.

    And believe me, Oakley Hall are hard to describe. They're a six-person band based in Brooklyn whose members come from everywhere from New England to Mississippi. Pat Sullivan (AKA Papa Crazee) used to be in Oneida, and like his former group, every song is its own experience. One will rock hard, another will be silk-delicate, yet another will delve into proggy psychedelia. Some songs will incorporate a few of those elements. Also, with four singers--Sullivan, guitarist Rachel Cox, violinist Claudia Mogel and bassist Jesse Barnes--and almost as many harmonies as a '60s girl group, the permutations of vocals are unlikely to be exhausted anytime soon.

    This year has been a big one for the band, who've
    managed to release two great full-lengths within months of each other. They've also recently opened for The Constantines and Calexico with some pretty memorable sets. It shouldn't be too long before a lot more people know their name, especially when it's a name as cool as theirs.

    * MP3: "Living In Sin In The USA" - Oakley Hall from Gypsum Strings
    [Buy it]
    * MP3: "Landlord" - Oakley Hall from Second Guessing [Buy it]

    * Band Website:
    Oakley Hall

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