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Ozma - Rock & Roll 3

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Kung Fu Records

What kind of musical chaos ensues when the rock n' roll torch of the 20th century is handed down to a new generation raised on such 1980s cultural staples as Nintendo, Back to the Future, and Tron? The answer is something of an oxymoron: a very orderly chaos. The Los Angeles power-pop quintet Ozma evolved their unique brand of guitar-based, synth-driven chaos in the latter half of the 1990's. A rabid fan following developed quickly in the Southern California clubs, and spread widely in this country and others with the 1999 release of Ozma's debut album 'Rock and Roll Part Three.' Ozma formed quite by chance in September 1995 when Jose Galvez and Ryen Slegr met Daniel Brummel on the Internet and the three began collaborating on songs with high school friend Patrick Edwards on drums. The Internet remains crucial to Ozma: their self-designed website, ozmaonline, helps strengthen the already close relationship the band enjoys with fans by allowing their questions to be answered directly and quickly. No member of the band was older than 21 at the time they wrapped the sessions for 'Rock and Roll Part Three.' In fact, keyboardist Star Wick (a pre-med major at Pepperdine University) and Brummel (a music composition major at UCLA) laid down their tracks shortly after their 18th birthdays. Apparently, Ozma is old enough for the big time - in early 2001, the independent label Kung Fu Records (owned by punk band The Vandals) signed the band, and on August 21st, 2001 a re-mastered & enhanced version of 'Rock and Roll Part Three' was re-released in stores worldwide. Band influences are eclectic, including artists in genres as varied as jazz-fusion, video game soundtracks, punk rock, and classical. Slegr is an accomplished jazz improviser, as is Brummel, who graduated from the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts with training in composition, jazz guitar, and voice. Wick plays flute for the Pepperdine Orchestra and recently had a chance to show off her woodwind skills on Ozma's most recent release 'The Doubble Donkey Disc.' The contemporary acts that come up most in comparison to Ozma are Smashing Pumpkins, Weezer, Nirvana, etc. Though if you ask the band members about influences, you'll probably hear such infamous names as Chick Corea, Elvis Costello, Boston, Depeche Mode, and the Beatles. Brummel, Slegr, and Galvez (the three songwriters) work towards the same artistic goals set by their predecessors: writing dynamic, lyrically interesting, and melodically memorable songs. They have been fortunate enough to be able to learn their trades firsthand from the best - previous recordings have been produced by Jason Cropper (formerly of Weezer) and Rod Cervera (The Rentals) - but they have never let go of their original and innovative approach to harmony and song arrangement, apparent both in epics like 'Battlescars' and revved-up speed jams like 'In Search of 1988' and 'Rocks.' The way many of their melodies originate is also a testament to their imagination as musicians (and their roots in 80's technology). Brummel and Slegr use one of the band's keyboards (a Casio CT-700) to improvise at slow tempos and then speed up their creations to allow them to pick out their favorite melodies. They have even been known to push demo CDs of these crazy digital improvisations they call 'Commuter Music' onto their unsuspecting friends. One such song containing melodies made this way is 'Domino Effect,' the opening track on 'Rock and Roll Part Three.' This fun-loving, imaginative approach to rock music is also obvious in their quirky treatment of love songs. Many Star Wars fans have become familiar with Ozma because of their song 'Natalie Portman,' a power-ballad about the teen actress. Even with such well-liked releases, Ozma has gained a reputation as a band that must be heard in a live setting if their unique brand of orderly chaos is to be thoroughly understood. As a result of this reputation, Ozma has been given slots on high profile bills, including CD release parties for Nerf Herder and Nada Surf. After several California shows as the sole opening act for Weezer, performing for huge summer audiences including a sellout hometown crowd at Hollywood's Whisky A Go-Go, Weezer's front man Rivers Cuomo confessed in an interview with a Texas newspaper: [Ozma is] my favorite new band. I certainly hope to tour with them.'

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Ozma - Rock & Roll 3.

1) Domino Effect
2) Apple Trees
3) Shooting Stars
4) Natalie Portman
5) The Ups and Downs
6) If I Only Had a Heart
7) Baseball
8) Rocks
9) Battlescars
10) In Search of 1988
11) Last Dance

Rock & Roll 3
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Rock & Roll 3 | Ozma