Though he spends a great amount of time lending his talents to folks like Indianna Hale and especially The Blank Tapes, Sean Olmstead has been quietly stockpiling his own quirky psychedelic garage-pop-soul tunes as fpodbpod. Sean and I were equally happy to turn down the quiet and swivel the spotlight around for his first interview of 2011:
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As we saw last month, The Blank Tapes’ Matt Adams is nearly everywhere, and often times when fpodbpod is playing, Matt is there too playing guitar or keyboard. In fact, it was Matt who first introduced me to Sean, and the man we’ll sit down with next month made sure I was aware of how awesome Sean’s music is before I ever heard a note. As you’ve probably picked up by now, the San Francisco Bay Area loves to boost up its own.
(As for the name, it is pronounced “EFF-pod-BEE-pod” and you’re invited to guess what it might mean so long as you’re OK with not having your guesses confirmed as correct or incorrect. It’s a tease, I know, but we all love a good mystery.)
Seeing the way he presents himself in this interview, it’s hard to believe that my initial impression of Sean when I first met him last year was of someone relatively shy. After all, how could anyone be shy who’s bold enough to cop the bass line from “Psycho Killer” for a bouncy jam of a song that starts with the lyric “Mama fell asleep with a lit cigarette and burned”? Some of that first impression does come across a little in the recordings for his yet to be released album, The Girls – notice how Sean’s vocals are a bit more reserved on the studio tracks linked at the end of this story, versus the confident, full-throated vocals on the performance of the new unreleased song “Annie” that we captured in Sean’s Mission District funhouse. This recording of “Annie” is more indicative of the Sean Olmstead you’re bound to hear when fpodbpod takes the stage.
I also cannot understate how much I was looking forward to this interview, knowing just how fun it would be. I won’t point them all out, but you’re likely to notice little details, some intentional and some not, scattered throughout the interview indicating the fun little liberties we took with the format. We almost went so far as to have Joe Lewis, who showed up to play bass on “Annie,” quietly place more and more instruments around us throughout the course of the first part of the interview. In the end, Joe decided to stick to his bass.
A note about the performance:
Many times the artists I interview for Parlour to Parlour do not have a specific song in mind for their performance, and I’m always glad to pick one out for them. In this case, Sean had already chosen “Annie,” a new song that gets its first public airing here. It was inspired by an old housemate, though as Sean explained off camera, only her name was the inspiration, as “Annie” just had a ring to it that lent itself well to a melodic love song. There was no romance to speak of between Sean and said housemate.
Sean and Joe agreed that this take was the keeper, though the first take we recorded had its own light kind of charm, with Sean singing an octave lower and playing his guitar with a gentler touch. “Annie” is by far the most infectious fpodbpod song we’ve heard to date, in my estimation. Take a listen and see if you agree.
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Download fpodbpod music:
- Am I Being Paranoid (2010)
Find out more about the band at their Facebook page: