PREMIERE: Ottawa deliver the catchiest riffs on new track “Strangers”

Ottawa - Press photo 3
Sarah Bokone

If you’re anything like me, chances are you have about 15 different riffs and melodies from different songs running through your head all the time. There’s something so satisfying about latching onto a particularly well written piece of music and humming along with it for the rest of the day. It absolutely never gets old, because each day comes with great new music to hum along with. Cleveland band Ottawa are master craftsmen of indie rock tunes that will have tons of those little moments running through your head. Their latest track “Strangers” is one of their best, and I’m thrilled to premiere it this morning on Substream.

The first thing you hear on “Strangers” is the most perfect drum kick for a rollicking rock song. Ottawa has two guitarists, Will Hooper and Tim Czajka, and they both show off their skills shortly thereafter. Between the two of them, the twin guitars fill up the listeners’ ears with a rich full rock sound. Peeking out from within this guitar explosion is Jeremy Barnes’ bass, which leaps and bounds up and down the scale to give “Strangers” a thrilling undercurrent. Over it all is Dale DeLong’s vocals, delivered in a passionate and soaring burst of expression.

Asked about the origins of “Strangers,” Jeremy Barnes says ““Writing ‘Strangers’ was a very memorable experience for us because the whole song came together in about an hour. Outside of one tweak to the chorus during our recording session, the song remained exactly as it was from the day we wrote it. Our guitarist, Will, has this super distinct way of strumming and was playing around with the chords you hear in the intro. during one of our practices. The second Dale (singer) heard it he had him loop it and came up with the verse melody in a matter of minutes. It was one of those sincere refrains that just stays with you and when he delivers one of those to us, the song almost always becomes something. I loved the melody so much that I stole it for my bassline (thanks Dale!). Our other guitarist, Tim, had been sitting on a really cool riff for months that hadn’t been used in any of our other songs yet and it just so happened to fit perfectly into this one. Before we knew it the song was written and we never looked back!”

You can listen to Ottawa’s new single “Strangers” below. With riffs like these, you’ll want to pay attention to Ottawa going forward.