"There's a thin line between trying and trying way to hard. Denver's Oblio Duo, though, has nothing to worry about : William Duncan and Steven Lee Lawson seem to instinctively avoid the labored affection that makes most of Denver's singer-songwriters sound like total crap." Said Jason Heller in the Onion. "Most people will hear more of an Elliott Smith, Neil Young, and Graham Parsons dipped in acid sound." Said The UCD Advocate. A review of our debut self-titled album in the Westword claimed: "With an earthy rawness that tethers it's cosmic immensity, the disc is a sprawl of soft strums, stray noises, brittle piano, chunks of distortion and the twosome's fluttering, sleep-starved coos. The result is achingly tender -- and unmistakably theirs.." Oblio Duo was formed about 5 years ago in various incarnations consisting of Steven Lee Lawson- vocals, guitars and Will Duncan- drums. Our first album Oblio Duo received an excellent review in the Westword in 2005. This year, we unveiled The Flag, with a host of guest musicians from other local bands such as Pee Pee The Blue Angels, and Big Timber. We also added our backing band, 'The Archers' to play the keys and bass parts we over-dubbed ourselves on The Flag. Around Denver, we've been known to play the Larimer Lounge with growing respect, The Hi-Dive, The 3 Kings Tavern, the 15th St. Tavern, The Carioca Café (commonly known as the BAR BAR) and our CD release show in October at the magnificent Oriental Theater. We would like to play a variety of other venues and if possible, open for national bands coming through town. Please listen to our CD in an intimate setting (preferably headphones) and hear for yourself the disc that is making us known in the great city of Denver. Chris Kloewer wrote of The Flag in the UCD Advocate, "Simply put, Denver hasn't been so lucky as to receive an album this good in a very, very long time." THE ONION Published: October 19, 2006: There's a thin line between trying and trying way too hard. Denver's Oblio Duo, though, has nothing to worry about: William Duncan and Steven Lee Lawson seem to instinctively avoid the labored affection that makes most of Denver's singer-songwriters sound like total crap. Their self-titled CD came out last year, and while it barely registered on this city's hipster radar, it was one of the best local discs of 2005- a bursting at-the seams mess of melody and heartbreak that celebrated the days when Alex Chilton, Harry Nilsson, and Neil Young ruled (or at least should of ruled) the earth. Oblio Duo's new album, The Flag, sees the twosome enlisting guests from Pee Pee, The Blue Angels, and Big Timber, as well as fleshing out their onstage lineup with a backing band called The Archers. And while a retro vibe is present, hints of Wilco and Elliott Smith place the band squarely in it's own time. Oblio Duo's songs might sound loose, unstudied, and even spontaneous, but make no mistake: their genius is not accident. Even if Duncan and Lawson themselves don't quite know how they do it. -a.v. club (j. heller) Interview from this article: The A.V. Club: HOW LONG HAVE YOU TWO KNOWN EACH OTHER? William Duncan: I met Steve during senior year of high school. Steven Lee Lawson: We were in this psychedelic high school band together called Zubabi. WD: Back then, I was listening to a lot of Melvins and Pink Floyd and Charles Mingus. Steve had some pretty bad taste. He was into Ben Harper. He used to have really long hair and was burning incense all the time. SLL: I wanted to cover 'All You Need is Love.' WD: We did cover that. (laughs) SLL: We discovered that Will could play the piano really well, though, and that's kind of where Oblio Duo began. We recorded our first album mostly in this big house where we lived with like, twenty kids. It was on this digital Yamaha 16-track. I pretty much had to teach myself how to use it. I recorded vocals in the bathroom. I thought that was pretty cool, until afterward. It sounded like a tin can. AVC: THAT WORKS SOMETIMES, THOUGH. SLL: Yeah, depends on the bathroom. (Laughs.) That first record was a transformation. My songs are kind of simpler, and Will's are more elaborate. We keep each other in check. AVC: WEREN'T YOU DOING THE BAND LONG-DISTANCE FOR A WHILE? WD: After the first record was done, I moved to Portland, and I was playing with myself. Steve left Denver and joined me out there. A lot of the new album (The Flag) came from the four months that we were both in Portland. SLL: I had all these grandiose ideas. I had always wanted to go to Greenwich Village or someplace, be like Bob Dylan. Portland is such a great city, but there are so many kids out there our age trying to do the same thing. WD: We didn't have any work for a long time. We were broke. I had rented a piano from a place down the street for 60 bucks a month, and we just wrote songs all day. That's all we did. AVC: What made you move back to Denver? SLL: Denver is a bigger city than Portland, but it's more tight-knit. It's hard to break into the scene out there. We were outsiders. We didn't know the right people. The only place we could get a gig was Voodoo Doughuts. We had to play on this little loft on top of the bathroom. I got electrocuted a few times, but I got free donuts. WD: They had, like, bacon-and-maple donuts. SLL: And cereal toppings. My favorite was the dirt doughnut. It had Oreo crumbs with white frosting, and you could get it vegan. It was awesome. WD: They opened at 10 p.m., and they'd stay open till 7 a.m. They had this really crappy organ on the loft, so we could barely fit our drum set up there. We would just go in and play for 3 or 4 hours and make up tunes. AVC: BESIDES ROCKING DOUGHNUT SHOPS IN PORTLAND, WHAT INSPIRED THE NEW ALBUM? SLL: We've been listening to a lot of old, not-poppy country music like Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson and stuff. We've been really into the new Bonnie 'Prince' Billy album too. (The Letting Go) WD: It's got weird strings and weird drums. SLL: Very Nick Drake-y WD: It's very baroque. SLL: Yeah. (Laughs.) I don't even know what that means. -Jason Heller.
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