Eclectic. That is the best word to describe the Athens, GA band led by Kevin Barnes. On any given Tuesday Of Montreal might be playing psychedelic, twee pop (bubblegum Indie Rock), Electronica, Funk, Glam or Afrobeat - or any combination thereof.
The group, allegedly named after a failed romance Barnes had with a woman who was "of Montreal," there have been numerous band members with Barnes as the only constant.
After a handful of indie releases Of Montreal signed with Kindercore Records for '01's concept album "Coquelicot Asleep In The Poppies: A Variety Of Whimsical Verse" and '02's "Aldhils Arboretum."
Barnes married Oslo native Nina Grottland in '03 and the couple's daughter was born in Oslo. Grottland played some bass on the group's tour.
When Kindercore Records folded, Of Montreal landed with Polyvinyl Records issuing '04's 'Satanic Panic In The Attic." The next year saw "The Sunlandic Twins." Despite the title, only one song was laid down in Norway. The remaining tracks were the result of sessions in Athens. However, '07's "Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?" was recorded in both Athens and Norway. No doubt to promote the album (and draw attention) Barnes performed five songs nude during a performance in Las Vegas.
Not to leave anyone out, "Skeletal Lamping," was released in ten formats, including cassette, CD and vinyl. All sorts of promo items (t-shirts, buttons, etc.) accompanied the '08 set. "We feel that there's no reason to produce another object that just sits on a shelf," Barnes said of the integrated concept. "We only want to produce objects that have a function and that can be treasured for their singularness."
Jon Brion (Kanye West, Fiona Apple) produced "False Priest" which was recorded at Ocean Way Recording in Hollywood. Live drums, strings and pianos replaced the midi sounds and sequencers prevalent on previous albums.
"Paralytic Stalks" dropped in January '12. "Dour Percentage," was the lead single.
Influenced by Sylvia Plath, the Grateful Dead, Neil Young, and the Flying Burrito Brothers, "Lousy With Sylvianbriar," containing "Fugitive Air,"dropped in '13.
Less than a year later, the band released their Kickstarter backed film "The Past Is A Grotesque Animal" (the title of a track on '07's "Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?"). The documentary focused on Barnes, "whose pursuit to make transcendent music at all costs drives him to value art over human relationships." A recurring theme.
Drawing from "the mid to late 70's music scene in New York," Barnes also tapped the emotions born from his separation from Grottland, his wife of 11 years, and its aftermath for '15's "Aureate Gloom." He described the album as being "all over the place musically."
Just a year and a half down the road, Of Montreal rolled out their fourteenth album, "Innocence Reaches."
1997 Cherry Peel
1998 The Bedside Drama: A Petite Tragedy
1999 The Gay Parade
2001 Coquelicot Asleep In The Poppies: A Variety Of Whimsical Verse
2002 Aldhils Arboretum
2004 Satanic Panic In The Attic
2005 The Sunlandic Twins
2007 Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?
2008 Skeletal Lamping
2010 False Priest
2012 Paralytic Stalks
2013 Lousy With Sylvianbriar
2015 Aureate Gloom
2016 Innocence Reaches