Monday, October 6, 2014

Sailing Through Discography of the Ocean Blue

I have no idea why I gave up on them. I loved that self-titled debut. So much so, in fact, I rushed out to see the Ocean Blue open for the Mighty Lemon Drops in early 1990. They sounded like all of the bands I loved from the other side of the ocean. How could they be from Pennsylvania? Whereas the Mighty Lemon Drops took the stage like confident rock stars, the Ocean Blue seemed like polite young boys that were giddy to be seen and heard. Every gesture screamed, "How did we get here?" I found it all endearing, and the show is a happy memory from my youth. Even though I have listened to that album consistently for going on 25 years, I never bought anything else by the Ocean Blue.

Fast forward to February 2013, and I'm in the car. I flip over to KEXP just in time to hear frontman David Schelzel of the Ocean Blue doing an in-studio performance. I put it in park to take in the entire 20 minutes. I enjoyed it so much that I bought the band's new album when it came out a few weeks later. 'Ultramarine' turned out to be one of my favorite albums of the year.

Suddenly, I felt like I might have missed some great music between that 1989 debut and 2013. There was a 2004 EP called 'Waterworks' that was reissued last month with three bonus tracks. I decided to ride this Ocean Blue wave, and I'm glad I did. I'm a vinyl guy, however, and now that we are approaching a release date for 'Waterworks' at 33 1⁄3, I may have to buy it again. Listen to a couple of songs below, and then preorder 'Waterworks' on vinyl through Shelflife. It should be out Oct. 28, and the first 100 orders get this one on baby-blue vinyl. To me, 'Ultramarine' felt a lot like that first album, but 'Waterworks' takes you to some new places:


Echorich said...

Funny Brian, I had much the same reaction to the first The Ocean Blue release. They fit right in with my favor of Northern English Post Punk Psychedelia. I too saw that Lemon Drops tour partly to see The Ocean Blue. They did not disappoint. But, as it was already 1990, and my musical slant was heading more towards NY, NJ and Chicago House, I didn't put a lot of effort into following them. In fact most rock music began to disappoint me by then. Most of my favorite groups were dormant or broken up or passed their sell by date. I think I'll check out some more of The Ocean Blue's catalogue upon your recommendation.

Brian said...

Hi Echorich. I plan to pick up the other two Sire Records at some point. So, I'll let you know. I remember the single "Sublime" getting quite a bit of airplay in 1993, but that's literally the only song I heard by them in the 1990s. I suspect the more guitar-oriented stuff on Mercury wouldn't appeal to me as much. So, that will be much later down the line... if at all. I remember Davy Jones Locker being well received by the few that heard it. Not sure why I didn't pick it up then. I have been digging this song "City Traffic" that didn't appear on any of their albums but was recorded around '93. If you get a chance, check it out on youtube.

Man, Echorich, I hated the '90s almost as much as you did.

Echorich said...

I was in NYC visiting one of my oldest friends along with another great, long time friend from London - all of us with the purpose of seeing Bryan Ferry at The Beacon Theatre. Ferry was great, voice worn by a cold and strain, but a trooper and better than I expected. But I digress. We were sitting around the apartment in the heart of Gramercy Park listening to Playlist after Playlist on my new iPhone and my friend from the UK remarked, that aside from the Ferry Playlist, I didn't seem to play anything from the 90's that wasn't soulful deep house. I just nodded and remarked that I could count the number of great 90's bands and albums on less than 10 fingers.
This became a bit of a game for about 30 minutes and we came to agree upon Pulp, Suede, Massive Attack, Shack, Terry Hall (who I fought valiantly for) and Tindersticks.
I'm sure given more time we could have filled out the list, but we lost interest.

george said...

Not familiar with Ocean Blue but really like that Waterworks track,

Brian said...

Hey Echorich. Keep up the good fight on Terry Hall. Postpunkmonk has had some really interesting posts on Ferry in the last month or so, but I'm sure you already knew that. I like your debates over there.

George, Another surprise. Glad you like it. Pretty sure you will not like the band in my next post. I gave a lengthy response to your sittin and thinkin post the other day, but it seems to have disappeared in the ether. Not sure what happened. In a nutshell, was talking up "I'm Your Toy" from 'Almost Blue.' Like me some Flying Burrito Bros.