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Aaron M Olson – Photo Credit: Stephen Heath
If an artist has a wicked good sense of humor in addition to undeniable musical talent, why not shoot a video that has both?
That’s what Los Angeles musician and composer Aaron M Olson did when envisioning the suburbia-spoofing video for “Is It True?,” which is one-half sketch comedy and one-half music video.
Looking like a young “Weird” Al Yankovic, Olson is repairing the roof of his house when he notices his unsupervised, way-underage daughter taking swigs from a beer bottle. Olson loses his balance on the ladder, and both fall to the ground just as music starts to trickle into the picture.
“Is It True?” is a sunny, shimmering, irresistibly pleasant tune reminiscent of Brian Wilson that perfectly suits a sequence in which the smiling young girl blows bubbles while prancing across the lawn.
See the sweet-to-the-core video for yourself right here:
Director Matt Hewitt, Olson’s old friend and collaborator, recently imparted some information about the video exclusively to the Big Takeover:
“Though it’s thematically far afield of the song’s lyrics, we sought to make a video that could capture the general spirit and sound of ‘Is It True?,’ and to some extent the vibe of Aaron M Olson’s music in general,” Hewitt said. “That is to say, fun and funny in a blatantly stupid sort of way, and maybe upon closer examination, (hopefully) funny in a slightly smarter sort of way. And even a little bit melancholy.
Hewitt continued: “The images are meant to be both dream-like and pedestrian, ideally capturing the nexus of the two, illustrating the interconnectivity of those qualities. By reshuffling the ephemera of the suburban flat brim dude we tried to make the ordinary absurd, exalting in flaming steaks, careening dummies and brew chugging tots.”
Here’s more on Olson and his new record, from a Moone Records press release:
Olson released Songs Album on Moone Records at the end of 2021. The matter-of-factly titled record is a more complex and ornate affair than its title belies – full of vibrant and lush hi-brow arrangements, reminiscent at times of the pop/rock outings of Jack Nitzsche or Jim O’Rourke, while recalling in glimpses the pastoral moodscapes of Robert Wyatt.
As a student of composition – he has a B.A. in classical music – and an astute listener, Olson’s approach to pop music is delicate, slow churning and intelligently crafted, yet the results are undeniably scrappy. His intoxicating and woozy body of work leaves the listener in a haze as it hones in on often-overlooked intricacies.
Olson spent his earlier years as the bassist in Chris Cohen and Nedelle Torrisi’s band Cryptacize. He went on to accompany the likes of Tara Jane O’Neil, Chris Cohen, Papercuts, Bart Davenport, SK Kakraba Lobi, Nedelle Torrisi, the Lentils, Nicholas Krgovich, Vetiver and many others in concert.
While ingrained in the music of so many others, his solo catalog is equally expansive and versatile. He has released a string of strikingly cinematic synth and guitar-driven music under the moniker L.A. Takedown (Castle Face, Ribbon Music).
He also co-founded and plays in the Grateful Dead cover band Richard Pictures and its offshoot project, Mountain Brews; performs and releases experimental work with another project of his, the Musical Tracing Ensemble; and composes music for film, television and other visual media.
Songs Album marks Olson’s debut as a solo musician, and while some familiar sounds and sensibilities of his oeuvre shine through, the album delivers something wholly new and exciting.
For more on Olson, go to his Instagram profile.
—Additional reporting by Kurt Orzeck.