Early Show


Ocean Park Standoff

Thu, February 2, 2017

Doors: 6:30 pm

Mercury Lounge

New York, NY


This event is 18 and over

LOLO - (Set time: 7:30 PM)
From Jackson, TN, LOLO is a show-stopping singer who has proven herself a killer songstress and venerable songwriter, from penning hits for Panic! At The Disco’s recent #1 blockbuster album to writing a New York Times raved about off-Broadway musical, “Songbird” — a perfect segue from LOLO's past role as the originator of Ilse in the critically-acclaimed smash musical “Spring Awakening." With a daring and emotionally charged voice, her music evokes a hot southern night – rough around the edges but with a velvety quality that soothes the soul.
Ocean Park Standoff - (Set time: 6:30 PM)
Ocean Park Standoff
Each of the artists behind L.A.-based alt-pop trio Ocean Park Standoff comes from a world all their own. A self-taught producer who built his own studio in the basement as a kid, Pete Nappi constructs deeply inventive productions equally inspired by art rock and underground hip-hop. A longtime DJ known for spinning at high-profile gigs around the globe, Samantha Ronson is also a songwriter/multi-instrumentalist who matches her lyrical smarts with a sonic ingenuity rooted in her fascination with obscure vintage instruments. And as a classically trained vocalist, Ethan Thompson has revealed his refined songcraft in penning hits for major artists and performing at singer/songwriter hotspots around L.A. On their two-track release, Ocean Park Standoff bring those distinct sensibilities together to dream up a sound that’s both intricately composed and undeniably heart-driven.

“There’s absolutely no reason why we should all know each other,” admits Ronson, who first met Nappi when they were paired up in a songwriting session in late 2014. The two felt an immediate kinship and continued collaborating without any particular project in mind, and soon teamed up with Thompson (a classmate of Nappi’s at Berklee College of Music). By early 2015 the trio had begun writing together almost every day at Ronson’s place by the beach, working in a sun-soaked bedroom that slowly morphed into their home studio.

You can instantly feel all that sunshine in the luminous melodies and lush textures heard throughout their two song release. But despite its sweeping, cinematic scope, it has an intimate feel that’s got much to do with the unbridled honesty that Ronson and Thompson channel into each lyric. And though it’s built on feel-good anthems, there’s also an undercurrent of melancholy that give “Good News” and “Photos & Liquor” a powerful depth.

With “Good News,” for instance, Ocean Park Standoff deliver a soulful, piano-laced pop number that embodies the band’s mission of making music that “celebrates the small victories in life,” as Ronson explains. “It’s about recognizing that you have no control over how insane the world is, and trying to have fireworks for the little things that make you feel good.” While “Photos & Liquor” infuses hypnotic guitar tones into a hazy meditation on how on booze and memory can warp reality. In crafting the song’s pained lyrics (The flashbacks are mixed up with photos and liquor/Cloudin’ my mind with what was real and what’s fiction), the band mined inspiration from an old picture of Thompson and his ex. “In the photo they’re kissing on the beach and it looks so romantic, but really they were fighting and Ethan kissed her to shut her up,” says Ronson. “It made me think about how easy it is to romanticize certain situations when the reality was completely different, and how we don’t have pictures that really show the bad times.”

For Ocean Park Standoff, carving out each boldly nuanced track meant playing off the creative tension at the heart of their collaboration. “Ethan and I were so used to writing separately and being protective of our lyrics—my way of thinking was always, ‘No one touches my words,’” says Ronson, who taught herself to play guitar with a Beatles songbook in her teens and later put out a number of tracks via Roc-A-Fella Records. “And I was exactly the same—like, ‘No one touches my words,’” adds Thompson, a Montana native who took up piano at age three and sang in choirs throughout his childhood, studied songwriting at Berklee. “We definitely got into some battles, but we came out the other side even stronger,” Thompson continues.

The band ultimately found their lyrics sharpened by that push-and-pull, as well as by their difference in perspective. “Ethan’s an outdoorsy guy, I grew up in cities. He saves bunny rabbits, I save sneakers. But our aesthetics balance each other out,” says Ronson. “When I get too poetic, or he gets too on-the-nose, we’re able to figure out how to make it work.”

One thing that Thompson and Ronson have always agreed on: Nappi’s masterful innovation as a producer, which each names as a key inspiration for their songwriting. “Pete will take something so simple, like a recording of us talking, and then manipulate it into a sound that’s completely reimagined and crazy,” says Thompson. “It’s a really cool thing to watch and be a part of.” Growing up on Long Island, Nappi started playing drums at eight and quickly moved on to his older brother’s guitar. By age 12 he’d taught himself production, and later graduated high school early to devote himself to making music in his basement studio. “I worked on music all day every day, played all the instruments and recorded myself—I even slept in the basement,” says Nappi. During his studies in film scoring at Berklee, he met Grammy-nominated songwriter/producer Kara DioGuardi, who signed Nappi to Universal Music Publishing Group while he was still a student.

In producing for Ocean Park Standoff—which involves sculpting tracks electronically as well as making use of Ronson’s vintage synths and drum machines—Nappi both draws on his expansive musical knowledge and sticks to a process that’s highly instinctual. “When I’m making something, I don’t really think that much,” he says. “I just do it and see what sounds good, and I know it’s done once I can really feel the song.”

That sense of experimentation shapes every aspect of Ocean Park Standoff, which all three members have found revitalizing. “We never have to ask, ‘What’s the vibe here?’,” notes Ronson. “We can make it whatever we want, and it’s so much more fun like that.” Within that freedom, Ocean Park Standoff have formed an intense connection that’s helped push their artistry even further than they’d envisioned. “When we first started, it wasn’t something I would’ve ever thought could work—but the more we play, the more it makes sense,” says Thompson. “We all come from very different places and believe in different things, but in the end we’re able to come together and make these songs that we all really love.”
Venue Information:
Mercury Lounge
217 E Houston St.
New York, NY, 10002