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Released May 2013
Dark Ocean Colors
 Second CD
"Close Enough to See"

Mark Mikel & Scott Hunt

Review by Nathan Ford
July 17, 2013

The Pillbugs must be pretty near the top of the pile (with the Green Pajamas) when it comes to woefully underappreciated psych-pop bands. With a filler-free back catalogue (no mean feat for a band who's albums  routinely featured between 20 and 32 tracks) of quality Beatlesque psych-pop they should have been huge, but broke up back in 2008 after the death  of founding member Mark Kelley.

Pillbug vocalist/guitarist/ keyboardist/producer Mark Mikel then hooked up with longtime
friend Scott Hunt (who has a pretty extensive back catalogue of his own) to form Dark Ocean Colors, who have now followed up their self titled 2011 debut with  "Close Enough to See" which is
(no surprises here) GREAT.

If I can make a gross generalization and suggest that the Pillbugs sound was based almost exclusively on the Beatles  sound circa '66-68, "Close Enough To See" sees Mikel evolving a few years with a sound that evokes the multi-structured, post-psychedelic songs of Abbey Road and John's sonic experimentation on "The White Album", particularly on lengthy opener "Everything Again",  which investigates more ideas in it's  six and a half minutes than most albums I've heard this year.

Mikel and Hunt are effortlessly great  songwriters. These are complicated songs, crammed with so many instantly memorable hooks that you're fooled into thinking that  they're the most simple things you've ever heard. Radio seems to have conditioned us to equate catchy with simple and It's not until you start paying attention to the complex vocal harmonies, horn charts, cellos and constantly changing song structures that you realize just how clever these two are. It's easy for albums like this to come off as forced or smart-arse, but these tracks are pulled off with what appears to be consumate ease - unpredictable, hooky and with added power-pop muscle (on "95" in particular)
that makes you remember just how good those early Cheap Trick albums were. Magic. I can't recommend this enough.

"Close Enough to See" is currently available digitally via iTunes, Amazon, eMusic,
Spotify etc. CDs and vinyl will be available soon through Mark's website.

                        Released May 1, 2012
 Dark Ocean Colors EP

"Patches and Patterns"

Mark Mikel & Scott Hunt

The enigmatic songwriting 
genius Scott Hunt and I give you an EP of new Dark Ocean Colors songs.  The second album should be out later this year.  In the meantime, here's some
richly produced psychedelic pop that won't be included on the next album.  We have a video of the song "Million Mile Mind" just below.

-Mark Mikel 


Debut CD!  Released August 2011

"Dark Ocean Colors"

Mark Mikel & Scott Hunt

  • August, 2011 - This self-titled CD, is a new collaboration by Mark Mikel and Scott Hunt described as psychedelic, avant-garde, pop, style music.“It’s the music that everyone else forgot to make”, says Mark.  The music is dimensional, thick and layered, including various different instruments.Some of them you may hear on this CD are twelve-string electric & acoustic, cymbal crashes, bass, electric six-string, cello, guitar scrapes, mic thumps, synthesizer, tamboura, heavily echo’d vocals, glockenspiel….and that’s just one song!  A big part of their sound is Mark’s new Mellotron, a classic analogue tape-based keyboard, rarely used by today’s artists.  A labor of love, Mark and Scott wrote and composed all of the tracks, and played all of the instruments, in addition to special guest artists Scott Tabner, Dan Chalmers (former Pillbugs bandmates), Ev Harris, Cecilia Johnson, and Jumpin’ Jerry Glesmer.

  • Out of a pool of recordings and compositions in progress since 2007, the first CD contains 10 tracks

  • Hunt and Mikel, long-time friends and collaborators have worked together on numerous recordings over the past 15 years.