Cult indie-rockers Ovlov are back again, announcing their third album Buds (Nov. 19, Exploding In Sound) and sharing its lead single, “Land of Steve-O.” With more breakups than albums since their formation in 2009, the Steve Harlett-led Connecticut quartet have loomed far larger than their output, thanks to singularly sustained word-of-mouth and influence.
“Land of Steve-O” stays true to the band’s beloved fuzz-rock and noise-pop sounds while teasing the shift towards their most pop-centric material yet that a press release promises. Quick-hit drums and thrumming guitar and bass give the song an effortless locomotion while Harlett sings warmly about wandering Connecticut and reaching out to a friend. Harlett and Stove drummer Jordyn Blakely join voices on the choruses, offering affectionate reassurance over oscillating electric guitar squeal (which later erupts into solo with shades of J Mascis): “Oh my new guy, don’t feel crazy when you walk around your town / Just call your friend Steve-O.” We all need a Steve-O to lean on, don’t we?
Harlett recalls the friendship that inspired “Land of Steve-O” in a statement:
I wrote this song after I got in some stupid argument with my father in the car, and once we got home I decided to go for a walk but ended up walking for about 2 hours and stopping to sit on a bench at the police station in the center of Newtown, Ct, where my parents raised me and still live today. I texted my friend Steve-O who I had been hanging out with a lot at the time. Basically anytime I was feeling like I wanted to hang out with someone, whether I was in need of someone to confide in or just wanted to chill, Steve-O was always down. He’s been an extremely important and close friend of mine since we met in the 6th grade when basically we both wrote down that Papa Roach was our favorite band on a personality questionnaire our teacher wrote for us in order to more easily make friends with the weirdos from all the other elementary school. The song is basically just about how good a guy I think Steve-O is.
The song isn’t Ovlov’s first tribute to Steve-O, either: The band’s 2017 collection Greatest Hits, Vol. II opens with the hooky garage-rocker “Strand of Steve-O.”
Buds follows the band’s debut 2013 LP AM and their 2018 follow-up Tru, and features producer and engineer Michael John Thomas III, who worked on both albums—it was recorded at his Black Lodge Studio in Brooklyn. Harlett, longtime guitarist Morgan Luzzi and Steve’s younger brother, drummer Theo Harlett, are joined on the album by the Harletts’ older brother Jon on bass and their dad, Ted, who contributes a saxophone solo to “Cheer Up, Chihiro!” Blakely (Stove, Bartees Strange, Smile Machine), Erin McGrath (Dig Nitty) and Alex Gehring (Ringo Deathstarr) each sing on the album.
Listen to “Land of Steve-O” and see the details of Buds below. You can preorder the record right here.
1. Baby Shea
2. Eat More
3. Land of Steve-O
4. The Wishing Well
6. Cheer Up, Chihiro!
7. Moron Pt. 2
8. Feel The Pain
Buds Album Art: