Olivia Nowadays: “Damn This Is Real Bad” [PREMIERE]

In the era of the phonograph, when sound quality was essentially nonexistent, whatever got cut to the cylinder is whatever crackled out. Nowadays, there’s a huge divide in listener tastes when it comes to fidelity. On one side of the spectrum you’ve got audiophiles who demand nothing less than ultra-refined digital masters that make it sound like you just had an ear cleaning; on the other, there are the lo-fi aficionados who prefer a muddier analog sound over a pristine mix. And of course, there are folks smack dab in between who relish in a midway fidelity – which we’ll call mid-fi.

That’s not to say mid-fi is mediocre…far from it. It takes a certain sensibility to narrow down centrist sounds that please without being too pockmarked nor pristine, a talent imbued in Albuquerque duo Olivia Nowadays. The genre-defying pair’s first eccentric collection How to Be Okay With the Everyday dropped right before COVID, and since then, these self-proclaimed “basement boys” have only gotten bigger and bolder. This Friday they unfurl their sophomore full-length The Sky Doesn’t End At The Top Of The Page, featuring nearly a dozen new tunes that scratch that itch of oddball auditory stimulation with fascinating field recordings, admirable amounts of experimentation, and overall just awe-inspiring ambience.

We’ve already received five of the eleven puzzle pieces, and this morning, Olivia Nowadays helped us visualize the fuller picture with an album closer actually inspired by a move to Austin, “Damn This Is Real Bad”. But don’t take the title at face value. This sans-lyric transportive wonder starts off simply enough with unhurried synth arpeggios, resolves tranquilly with horizon-cresting orchestral plucks, and swells smack dab in the middle with lush vocal harmonies and pulsing percussion. Not much left to say other than, “Damn. This is real good.”

Damn This Is Real Bad

Olivia Nowadays


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