The new super-group Ocampo, Ocampo + Watt debuted last fall at the first night of the two-day series of shows celebrating the anniversary of the Black Cat in D.C. The trio -- Devin Ocampo (guitar, vocals), Renata Ocampo (drums), and Mike Watt (bass, vocals) -- performed a clutch of Stooges songs, and were at one point joined by Mark Cisneros (Des Demonas, Kid Congo Powers and the Pink Monkey Birds) on sax. It was a blistering set that that seemed like a sort of once-in-a-lifetime performance.
I'm happy to report that the trio is back with a new single in time for Saturday's Record Store Day 2019. "Apparatus" / "Better Than A Dirtnap" drops on ORG Music and it's an indication of the skills of these players, and the ease with which they adapt their own strengths to original material. "Apparatus" is supple and spindly, like something Devin would have once recorded with Medications or Faraquet. Watt's heavy bass thumps and runs sit nicely next to Renata Ocampo's purposeful drum-work, while Devin croons over what sounds not entirely unlike the sort of rhythmic ramble one once heard from Eighties-era King Crimson or XTC. The flip, "Better Than A Dirtnap", is entirely different. A shuffling roots rocker, the cut feels like a Minuteman number in some ways, with Watt's bass anchoring Devin's spry and subtle guitar solos, and Renata's fills carrying this forward.
I'm certainly one of those who is hoping that this trio makes a whole record soon. Devin Ocampo and Renata Ocampo are busy musicians in this city, what with their work in Warm Sun, and Devin's current service in The Effects, but I'm sure if Mike Watt wanted to make a full-length record, they'd find time for the legend. "Apparatus" / "Better Than a Dirtnap" is one of the real pleasant surprises of this week's set of releases, and a nice treat for fans of these players for Record Store Day 2019.
"Apparatus" / "Better Than A Dirtnap" is out on Record Store Day 2019 via ORG Music.
[Photos: me, 2018]