Band of the Day

2012.05.30

Ola Podrida

Stargazing indie-folk from the heart of Texas
You are a firefly, you are sanctified. Take me somewhere pretty, make me your sacrifice.
lyrics from Pour Me Another

Ola Podrida is a rock and roll outfit that was founded by David Wingo in 2005 after he had returned to his native Texas after living in New York. Before becoming a singer and songwriter, Wingo had musical experience from playing instruments in school and had even composed the scores for friend David Gordon Green's movies George Washington, All the Real Girls, and Undertow. He recorded songs on what would later be his debut album alone in his basement between working shifts at a local video store. In 2007 Plug Research released the self-titled debut album and Wingo continued to work on film scores, including Todd Rohal's The Guatemalan Handshake and Craig Zobel's Great Wall of Sound. Wingo then moved on to the Western Vinyl Record label where he released Belly of the Lion in 2009. The current lineup consists of Wingo, Colin Swietek (guitar), Matt Clark (bass), and David Hobizal (drums).

David Wingo is a man of many talents. As the leader of Austin, TX indie-folk quartet Ola Podrida, he sings heavenly, lilting odes to old flames and last calls. But before he constructed Ola Podrida around his beautiful voice, he was already a hit in the world of independent film thanks to a series lush scores for indie auteur David Gordon Green's first full-lengths, including George Washington and 2003's All the Real Girls. In fact before 2005, Wingo—who has played multiple instruments since high school—had never released a song with his voice at the forefront. Ola Podrida is the opposite of his film work, a vehicle for voice and compact story-songs. Ola Podrida's music embodies the Texas desert Wingo grew up in; it's wide and expansive, buzzing like mosquitoes on a warm summer night. Both 2009's Belly of the Lion and 2007's self-titled debut are cinematic in scope; the music is rarely anything but epic, piled high with finger-picked guitar and banjo, droning feedback squalls, and rise-and-fall song buildups that emphasize the tiniest of details. "The Closest We Will Ever Be" opens Belly of the Lion with a tight country shuffle, gradually building to a moving crescendo on the chorus as Wingo sings about the evening soaring "to a place that we will never, ever really see." On "Your Father's Basement" Wingo sings about flipping through old stacks of nudie magazines, an image so striking that it's most likely autobiographical. The bouncy "Donkey" uses a banjo as the lead instrument, but it sounds joyous and fresh, not forced and old-timey. It's the type of song that would work equally well inspiring a kiss in a romcom or as the backdrop to the perfect hazy sunset. And like the best movies, Wingo saves his finest scenes for the last act, with a pair of knockout closers in "Roomful of Sparrows" and the stark and chiming "The Old World." It's almost cliche to say that Wingo's songs are mini-movies, but for once the metaphor actually sticks. You'd be wise to let Ola Podrida soundtrack your life.