Date of birth : -
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Athens, Georgia,U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2012-03-28
Of Montreal is an American rock band founded by frontman Kevin Barnes in 1996, named after a failed romance with a woman "of Montreal." The band is one of the bands of the Elephant 6 collective. Throughout its existence, of Montreal's musical style has evolved from vaudeville and Beatles influenced psychedelic twee pop to a mixture of electronica, funk, glam, and afrobeat music influenced by Prince and David Bowie.
The brainchild of singer/guitarist Kevin Barnes, Of Montreal was among the second wave of bands to emerge from the sprawling Elephant 6 collective. A native of Athens, Georgia, Barnes was inspired to form the euphoric indie pop group in the wake of a broken romance with a woman from Montreal. He signed with Bar/None Records while living in Florida, subsequently moved to Cleveland and Minneapolis in search of compatible bandmates, and finally returned home to collaborate with bassist Bryan Helium (also a member of Athens' Elf Power) and drummer Derek Almstead.
Of Montreal's debut album, Cherry Peel, appeared in mid-1997, followed that autumn by an EP entitled The Bird Who Continues to Eat the Rabbit's Flower. From the start, the band buoyed its bright, flamboyant indie pop sound with elements of psychedelia and vaudeville; Of Montreal's earliest records also exhibited a lo-fi sound that bordered on twee pop, although the band steadily shed those influences throughout the early 2000s. After Helium left the group in 1998 to focus on Elf Power full-time, Almstead assumed bass duties, while keyboardist Dottie Alexander and drummer Jamie Huggins both joined the lineup. Nevertheless, the band's second album, 1998's The Bedside Drama: A Petite Tragedy, was recorded primarily as a Barnes solo project.
Multi-instrumentalist A.C. Forrester signed on for 1999's sublime The Gay Parade, while the retrospective album Horse & Elephant Eatery followed in the spring of 2000. The group continued with the release of Coquelicot Asleep in the Poppies: A Variety of Whimsical Verse in April 2001 and Aldhils Arboretum in September of 2002, both of which were issued by the Georgia-based label Kindercore Records. With the subsequent folding of Kindercore, the departures of multi-instrumentalist Andy Gonzales and Almstead, and Barnes' marriage, 2003 proved to be an up and down year for the group. Barnes' wife, Nina, joined Of Montreal's lineup as the group signed to Polyvinyl Records and delivered one of their most celebrated records, Satanic Panic in the Attic, in early 2004.
The following year found Barnes exploring a bouncier, synth-driven avenue with the release of Sunlandic Twins, but things began to get complicated in his personal life at the same time. He and his wife moved to Norway for the birth of their baby. Deprived of familiar touchstones, Barnes fell into a deep depression and, upon returning to the States, continued to travel progressively downhill. He and his wife separated for a time, and she returned to her family in Norway with their new daughter. Through the emotional turmoil, Barnes concocted what was to be his darkest, most personal, and ambitious album yet -- Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? -- in 2007.
Arriving one year later, Skeletal Lamping furthered that ambitious sound by emphasizing Barnes' outrageous alter ego, "Georgie Fruit," whose influence pushed the album toward funk and prog territory. An Eluardian Instance (Jon Brion Remix EP) followed in early 2009, featuring five remixed tracks from the previous album. Of Montreal's tenth studio release, False Priest, arrived the following year and featured cameos from fellow genre-hoppers Janelle Monáe and Solange Knowles. Songs written for that album but not used saw the light of day in April of 2011 with the release of thecontrollersphere EP. The following year Barnes revisited the raw emotion of Hissing Fauna with the album Paralytic Stalks, exploring themes of self-loathing, revenge, and romantic turmoil to create Of Montreal's most personal offering yet.
On October 25, 2011 of Montreal released a Cassette Box Set of all 10 full-length albums via Joyful Noise Recordings. The release was limited to 500 hand-numbered copies, and housed in a custom-built wooden box (screen-printed with original artwork from David Barnes). Each of the 10 cassettes were pressed on multi-colored tape shells and included original album art. Like their previous cassette release, MP3 download was included.
Kevin Barnes has hinted on Twitter that of Montreal's next studio album will be titled "Paralytic Stalks". Kevin Barnes has revealed some information on the new album in an interview with Pitchfork Media. On 20 October 2011 Barnes announced that the new album was complete. In November 2011, the band released a new track titled "Wintered Debts" via the band's Soundcloud site, a track off the new album "Paralytic Stalks." In January 2012, of Montreal released "Dour Percentage," the first single off of the new album. "Paralytic Stalks" was released on February 7, 2012.
1997 Cherry Peel (Bar/None)
1998 The Bedside Drama: A Petite Tragedy (Kindercore)
1999 The Gay Parade (Bar/None)
2001 Coquelicot Asleep in the Poppies: A Variety of Whimsical Verse (Kindercore)
2002 Aldhils Arboretum (Kindercore)
2004 Satanic Panic in the Attic (Polyvinyl)
2005 The Sunlandic Twins (Polyvinyl)
2007 Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? (Polyvinyl)
2008 Skeletal Lamping (Polyvinyl)
2010 False Priest (Polyvinyl)
2012 Paralytic Stalks (Polyvinyl)
View the full website biography of Of Montreal.