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Ola Podrida

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Album Review

The first release from David Wingo, who previously occupied himself by composing scores for David Gordon Green films, Ola Podrida (also the name of his solo project) is a pretty, Southern-inflected indie rock album, soft acoustic guitar arpeggios, various keyboard instruments, and brushed drums leading the way through its 11 tracks. Occasionally, like in "Lost and Found," Wingo picks up speed and adds some bass, but for the most part, things stay consistently calm, measured out carefully and with great attention to how they fit into the overall feel of the record. This, assuredly, must come from Wingo's film training, and with Ola Podrida he's able to write both the soundtrack and the script to a sweet, thoughtful movie, filmed in grainy colors with handheld cameras and plenty of shots of the wide expanse of the land, the fields, the sweeping greens and browns and grays, and, depending exactly on the setting (because Wingo is more Neil Young than Kris Kristofferson), the pecan trees, the tobacco fields, the cattle ranches, the frost-covered prairie grasses. Cues are given — "a car crashed, everybody was OK" ("Lost and Found"), "She burned almost everything/Except for her wedding ring/She threw that in the sea" ("Cindy") — and scenes are played out — "We're out drinking at the bar, down each other's pants in the photo booth" ("Photo Booth") — love discovered and played out, with its problems and its benefits, nothing ever forgotten. Of course, there is no clean resolution, no credit-rolling ending when Ola Podrida sounds its final note, neither a clear break nor a promise to stay together. Instead, there's only sadness, longing, regret. "Something so frightening in this deep Western sky," Wingo murmurs in "Eastbound," his voice high and uncertain, over a picked banjo and strummed acoustic guitar, and, as the song comes to a conclusion, each instrument picking up in intensity, he sings, more strongly than he has before, "I'm not so stupid/I'm not such a fool/Do you think that I'll stop/Stop thinking of you?," a promise that things are not finished, that though screen is black, the music is done, the scene is not over.


Born: 2005

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Ola Podrida, the brainchild of David Wingo, was born in early 2005, after Wingo had returned to his native Texas from New York. Although he had played instruments throughout high school and college and even composed the scores for friend David Gordon Green's movies George Washington, All the Real Girls, and Undertow, he had yet to make anything as a singer or songwriter. He recorded the songs on what would later be his debut album alone in his basement before shifts at the video store where he worked,...
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Ola Podrida, Ola Podrida
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