I ask for history first. Tibbetts and Breeden discuss their former band, Tee Vee, which also included Breeden's brother. Eventually, the sibling slowly phased out of the band, due to his own lack of practice time, and Nordstrom appeared, bass in hand. "A lot of guitarists think they can play bass by picking it up," Nordstrom says. "But it's definitely more about rhythm. It's a different style." Though calling him the glue that holds the group together would unfairly imply that Breeden and Tibbetts are nonadhesive, Nordstrom's slowly snaking bass is the backbone of the group's sonic slithering. With his inclusion, the band's pieces fell into place.
Asked about major influences, Breeden says, "We don't really go for a single style. We've got good stuff going in; it turns into good stuff going out." Fine, but Oil of Angels skews toward shoegazey, psychedelic drone more than anything else. They do it exceptionally well, professing a deep and enduring love for My Bloody Valentine, Jesus and Mary Chain and the Cocteau Twins. They hit on all points, too: Menacingly fuzzed-out guitar is omnipresent in their material and seems perfectly at home.
"Sometimes at home, playing guitar, I'll think to myself, man, that sounds cool," mentions Breeden.
When you're playing music you love, that sort of reaction is exactly what you strive for. Nordstrom's bass slinks around like a stalker waiting for your bedroom light to finally go out, while Tibbetts provides an unyielding rhythm, pounding the drums as if he were a robot programmed precisely for that one singular purpose, incapable of error, the cutting edge of drumming technology. For all this hyperbole, let us counterbalance with a succinct statement: Oil of Angels is really good.
Oil of Angels is also really loud. "Last Christmas at Caterina we were so loud that we just started knocking glasses off the shelf," says Breeden.
They'll try that trick again Saturday, which is why I warned you at the beginning. With the hallmark of their style being walls of amplified sound built brick by sonic brick, booming louder and louder, I'm not entirely sure if the average rocker is equipped to handle it. With great passion for their music and an even greater passion for their volume levels, Oil of Angels launch aural blitzkriegs every time they play. You'll need to fortify yourselves. Late in the conversation, Tibbets finally chimes in, "We're definitely going to overwhelm the place." That's not a threat, it's a promise.
Oil of Angels with The City Sounds and Drop Off at Zombie Room on Friday, April 4, at 9 pm. Price TBA. Call 456-4515.
Also with Space Age Fur at Caterina on Saturday, April 5, at 8 pm. $5. Call 328-5069.