Such sad and unexpected news. The Olivia Tremor Control were playing gigs up until last week, and a new album was in the works, but today they announced on their official website "We are devastated by the loss of our brother Bill Doss. We are at a loss for words." As yet there has been no more information as to the cause of death.
Bill Doss was one of the founders of the Olivia Tremor Control, along with fellow Elephant 6 colleagues Jeff Mangum and Will Cullen Hart. Mangum soon left to form Neutral Milk Hotel, but Olivia Tremor Control went on to make some fascinating music pitched somewhere between Beatles-style pop and psychedelic experimentation. Two classic albums Dusk at Cubist Castle and Black Foliage emerged in the latter part of the 1990s, before the band branched out in separate ways. Doss released music as the Sunshine Fix and Hart as Circulatory System, before reforming as the Olivia Tremor Control briefly in 2005 and then again in 2011. I was fortunate enough to see them earlier this year at the Jeff Mangum curated ATP, but I never imagined it would be the only time I would ever watch one of their gigs.
Here is their performance from WFMU in 2011, which gives a great indication of what good form they were in.
Obviously I never met the guy, but this lovely tribute from Chunklet (the label who are reissuing some of the Olivia Tremor Control records) paints an intimate picture of what he was like. I couldn't read that without hearing 'Jumping Fences', the song he always dedicated to his long-term partner, Amy.