Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Ought

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Ought | Photo by Eric Schuman for WXPN

Joining us for our latest Indie Rock Hit Parade live session is a group that I’ve been trying to get on the show for years! I first heard about the Montreal-based quartet Ought when they released their 2014 debut album, More Than Any Other Day. In fact, I had slated to have Ought come to the studio to record a live performance for the IRHP, a booking which quickly turned into the group’s World Cafe debut. Four years on, Ought still features singer/guitarist Tim Darcy, drummer Tim Keen, keyboardist Matt May and bassist Ben Stidworthy, but the band’s sound takes a bold new shape on their newly released third album, Room Inside The World. Serving as their first album for Merge Records, Room Inside The World sees Ought subverting pop conventions by fusing their experimental tendencies with urgent, concise songwriting. Though the sprawl of earlier songs like “Gemini” and “Beautiful Blue Sky” might be toned down this time, Ought’s new material is their strongest yet. Hear for yourself in their long-awaited Indie Rock Hit Parade performance:


Our session starts with “These 3 Things,” which served as the first pre-release single to Room Inside The World. It sets the scene for the album (and this set) in a perfect way; May’s gurgling keyboards and the song’s bright melody signal that this is a new side to Ought. Next is “Disgraced In America,” which conjures a similar black-sunglasses-strut as some of the highlights from Darcy’s 2017 solo album, Saturday Night. Darcy delivers the fragmented, impressionistic lyrics in a variety of fluid vocal styles while Keen and Stidworthy lock into rhythm. On the album, “Desire” is perhaps the biggest stylistic leap that Ought has made, incorporating a full choir and orchestral flourishes. In our session, the song is stripped down to its bare essentials, with the thrilling finale hitting just as hard. At the end is a bonus song: a take on “Disaffectation,” one of Room Inside The World‘s most dynamic songs. What begins as a headrush of punk energy winds up melting into a half-speed breakdown.

Listen to Ought’s Indie Rock Hit Parade Session below, watch two of the performances via Vuhaus, and check out some photos from the studio.

Ought’s UK & EU tour begins on Friday, April 20th. Check out the dates HERE.

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