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Saturday, April 20, 2024

At 2 a.m. on a main street in Athens, Ga., a parade is forming. This is not your average late-night parade, but a kazoo parade led by the singer of legendary indie-pop band The Music Tapes. Members of local band Oh Sanders followed a crowd of 300 fellow indie-music fans, passing spectators and fraternity houses while repeating the same six notes on the kazoo.

"Athens is a larger Gainesville," said Stella Leung, singer and guitarist for Oh Sanders. "It had a reputation as a town with great pop bands in its past, but now pop bands are dying."

The members of Oh Sanders said they hope to perpetuate pop and expose Gainesville, a town known more for punk and indie bands, to this type of music.

The band will be releasing its new CD, "The Death of Nature," at The Atlantic on Saturday.

The band's show starts at 9 p.m. and is $6 for those over the age of 21 and $8 for those under 21. The show will feature three other local bands: Savages, Quadrophones and Starmaker, who is from Ormond Beach.

Jon Waller, the head of Starmaker, is also releasing his new CD at the first and possibly only show he will play. His set will feature members of Oh Sanders playing back-up instruments.

DJ Cameron, who is the DJ at "Indie Night" on Thursdays at The Atlantic, will be spinning between sets at the show.

One of the unique aspects of the CD-release show is that Oh Sanders will play the entire album from start to finish.

"We are proud of the album and want to give the people who come out a preview," Leung said.

Oh Sanders have been working on "The Death of Nature," which is their first full-length album following the release of their "Manic Phase" EP, since May 2007.

"We have built a reputation as a tween-influenced pop band, but this album has a darker sound and is more mature and filled out," Leung said. "People who haven't heard us in a while might be surprised by how different our sound is."

The title of the CD is also the title of the closing track of the album and is derived from a spoken quote on that track.

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The theme throughout all of the songs is not quite man vs. nature, but more artificial vs. nature, Leung said. This can be seen with song titles such as "The Concrete That Surrounds Us" and "Electrical Fire".

"This theme reflects us as a band," Leung said. "Lately we have been influenced by synthesizers but still have open guitar and organic sounds creating this juxtaposition."

Duncan McRoberts, who plays bass and keyboards, recorded and produced the CD in the living room of his house in Gainesville. He said he enjoyed learning how to write and produce a record and settling into a sound that fits the band.

"We created the album ourselves and didn't have to deal with anyone telling us what to do," McRoberts said. "We just kept creating music and stopped when we wanted."

The band didn't experiment much with the music for the last album. With "The Death of Nature", they took music and instrumental tracks apart and rearranged things, allowing themselves to take a step back and look at the songs as a whole.

"Everyone in the band is developing as a musician, learning their strengths and weaknesses," McRoberts said. "Our favorite moments were when we were working on a song and someone would have a small epiphany, and a part of the song would suddenly make sense."

The song "Conspiracy to Commit Arson", which is also on "The Death of Nature," was actually recorded in different stages. Leung created a guitar riff and then drummer Chris Petit created the drum section. McRoberts then handed the half-finished song to Josh Tucker, lead guitarist and back-up vocalist, and told him to "create something brilliant." Tucker came back with just that â€" something brilliant.

In addition to the band's growth together as musicians, Leung spent her summer as a press intern at a pop label in Athens called Happy Happy Birthday to Me Records, where she learned about the recording industry and how it works.

"The label has a realistic approach to running a record label by taking baby steps to help pull yourself up and build a fan base making money while working in the independent industry," she said.

During the summer, Oh Sanders also performed at Athens PopFest, a festival sponsored by the record label that brings bands together to promote pop music.

Leung described the Athens PopFest as a "summer camp for indie kids." It gave them a different perspective being outside of Gainesville and surrounded by other people who all love the same type of music.

"It opened our eyes to see how small-scale indie-pop bands can make it by themselves," she said. "I feel that we are one of the handful of bands in Gainesville that still play rock music but have more of an indie-pop feel, which makes it fun and different from the rest of the scene."

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