"Stuck Inside is a grand album, full of beautiful, lingering songs, displaying the creative talents of Mark O’Bitz and the excellent voice of Eric Anders."
- Randall Radic, Tattoo.com
Eric Anders, Mark O'Bitz and Mike Butler have outdone themselves "on this one. It’s moving and inspirational and welcomes the listener into the melody and the message. All the songs in this collection were written and composed during the Covid pandemic. It is a powerful expression of what people around the world may be feeling and experiencing in such a trying time in our world."
- Sherryl Craig, Nashville Music Guide
MUSIC IN THE TIME OF CORONAVIRUS: SONGS 10-20
An LP by Eric Anders & Mark O'Bitz
Released November 13, 2021
Stuck Inside will be the fifth album in four years by singer-songwriter duo Eric Anders and Mark O'Bitz. This LP is the third installment in Eric and Mark's four-installment collection, "music in the time of coronavirus."
All songs were written by Eric Anders and Mark O’Bitz
Vocals by Eric Anders
Guitars, piano, and keys by Mark O'Bitz
Produced and Mixed by Mike Butler
Mastered by Jamal Ruhe
Cover Design by Ileana Hernandez and Eric Anders
"...["Morton’s Pillory Plea" opens] on a powerful beat... “Tell It So” rides a gentle, throbbing rhythm... Eric’s alluring tones draw listeners in with his deliciously distinctive voice, vaguely reminiscent of Neil Young, yet more melodic and mysterious. "Trapped in Me,” [has a] slow, trundling flow, luminous colors, and echoing resonance... the title track ["Stuck Inside"] reminds of Led Zeppelin’s “Dazed and Confused,” flavored with bluesy filaments, glimmering guitars, and expressive vocals. Stuck Inside is a grand album, full of beautiful, lingering songs, displaying the creative talents of Mark O’Bitz and the excellent voice of Eric Anders."
- Randall Radic, Tattoo.com
"On Stuck Inside the duo goes a bit more to the moody rock side of that genre, picking on bits and pieces of artists like Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty when they are covering the darker, somber, themes.
Yet Anders and O’Bitz have both the capabilities and good sense to come up with music that is of high quality and that possesses ample personality of its own to reach the lofty goals the artists set for themselves.
There is a sense of unity ... in all the songs on the album ... feeling[s] of loneliness and isolation so characteristic of these pandemic times ... quite a therapeutic effect [when] you realize that you’re not the only person in the world feeling lonely and isolated. Of course, good music surely helps."
- Ljubinko Zivkovic, Living Life Fearless
"Opener “Morton’s Pillory Plea” evolves into a soaring psych-tinged rocker, whose chorus exudes a timeless weariness reminiscent of Neil Young. The lusher, swaying verses echo a more contemplative allure.
“Morton’s Pillory Plea” and other memorable tracks from November can also be streamed on the updating Obscure Sound’s ‘Best of November 2021’ Spotify playlist."
- Mike Mineo, Obscure Sound
Eric Anders has "outdone himself on this one. It’s moving and inspirational and welcomes the listener into the melody and the message. All the songs on this collection were written and composed during the Covid pandemic. It is a powerful expression of what people around the world may or may not be feeling and experiencing in such a trying time in our world."
- Sherryl Craig, Nashville Music Guide
Singer-songwriter Eric Anders and his longtime collaborator, guitarist-composer Mark O’Bitz, powerfully create astonishingly emotional and relatable tunes on their newly released adult alternative album as a duo, Stuck Inside ... ‘This Bird Don’t Fly’ continues the collection’s classic ’90s rock vibe on its simple piano arpeggios, single keys and Anders’ soulful, vulnerable vocals ... ‘Holdin’ Our Own' is driven by stellar piano chords and a solid beat ... driven by a wonderfully uplifting chorus ... Crafting sentimental tracks that equally challenge and gratify listeners isn’t always an easy and natural process for most musicians. But Anders and O’Bitz stunningly create astonishingly emotional and relatable songs."
- Karen Benardello, Shock Ya!
Stuck Inside ... captures the tone of what people have been feeling for the last couple of years.... It is as enduring as it is thought-provoking, reflecting on these times and providing a resonant dose of hope. The award-winning duo has released Stuck Inside as the third installment of their MTC collection, AKA “music in the time of Coronavirus.” But there’s more to the phenomenon, the musicians believe, than merely being stuck inside the house. The duo believes people have become stuck inside their own heads.
The versatile duo has found success with their Americana music (check out “The Best Americana from Eric Anders and Mark O’Bitz” on Spotify). Stuck Inside takes a different turn, blending the sounds of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young with modern indie vibes.... Producer Mike Butler has created a clean and robust sound.... Stuck Inside is a unique snapshot of a turn in culture and in society. Each of the tracks is so masterfully created, the work almost disproves the theories Anders and O’Bitz put forth. If most people follow in this duo’s footsteps, it gives hope that there’s a great breath of air at the end of the pandemic tunnel.... The record gives the listener a deeper dive into what so many have endured. We hope to check out these two in a live performance as we come back to life.
- John Daly, U.S. Rocker
"Morton's Pillory Plea" featured on Folk Roots Radio with Jan Hall, Episode 627.
By Farandulero / Noti Farandula
Translation by Juan at RushTranslate, Ileana Hernandez, and Eric Anders
When historians look back at this period in music history, it will certainly be regarded as a high watermark for songs about isolation. Beyond the daily uproar regarding variants and mandates, closures and economic consequences, the story of 2020 and 2021 will be about how we were all forced to come to terms with isolation. Sure, we have the internet now. We are consistently interconnected--far more than we would have been during the Spanish flu a century ago. However, the repercussions of this widely distorted form of communication have reverberated through every facet of society. The idea of “whatever doesn't kill you, simply makes you ... stranger” has taken hold and we are stuck living in a very bizarre, troubling timeline.
Composers Eric Anders and Mark O'Bitz craft a penetratingly perceptive form of indie / American / folk that highlights their masterful skills as singer-songwriters. 2019's Ghosts to Ancestors is a haunting collection of brilliantly presented tracks that will keep you coming back again and again. Its signature soulful howl--combined with expertly produced, tonally rich instrumentation--is arresting and often uses eloquent turns of phrase to reinforce Anders' hypnotic voice.
Anders' work [with O'Bitz] dates back to 2003. [Since 2018,] the duo has released five albums, one EP, and [four] singles, with another album [Variant Blues] on the way. Their latest releases are part of their "Music in the Time of Coronavirus" collection, which they largely conceived of and recorded in isolation during the lockdowns. When possible, the duo joins the rest of their band to record in [The Singing Serpent Studios] in San Diego.
"Stuck Inside" was a poignant title during the project's conception as we were all locked down, but Anders eventually wanted to scrap it for something more au courant once the world started to open up again. However, upon further examination, he saw a society chronically stuck inside itself: wrapped up in all the narcissism, commodity fetishism, and uninformed mania that has arisen out of this trying time. People's true colors show when faced with a crisis ... and we lost our collective minds.
With the Stuck Inside chapter of Music in the Time of Coronavirus, the duo grapples with the straining aspects of a prolonged war against an intangible enemy while getting markedly frustrated and alienated. The opener, 'Morton's Pillory Plea,' is a track that highlights how the old demons of history keep returning to wreak havoc in new insidious ways. The song was inspired by a New York Review of Books review essay by Christopher Benfey called "Pranksters and Puritans." The essay explores the deluded dogmatic thinking of the puritans and how their unhinged, conspiracy-riddled beliefs led to violence, division, and what would become the inherited trauma of a nation.
Anders draws a parallel between these witch-burning fanatics of yesteryear and the QAnon-following insurrectionists of today. The song has a captivating tom beat and sustained piano chords that evoke slow-motion images of newsreel strife. Anders croons sarcastically, "I don’t dare question any of their faith / I don’t dare as they pillory me to waste / I don’t dare fight your princes of limbo / I don’t dare make this colony my foe." The prospect of fighting a rabid animal that is so wound up that it cannot see what it's doing. This song is a powerful commentary on what will be looked back on as some of America's darker days.
There are many affecting tracks on the new record. 'This Bird Don't Fly' is a piano-centric piece with gorgeous complementary atmospherics. It may be an odd comparison but Anders’s vocals recall Deftones vocalist Chino Moreno's melodic hooks from their latest record, Ohms. Mournful yet obstinate.
'Lost at Sea' goes further out, beyond the obvious frustrations of being cut off from friends, family, and the world. It dives into the mental toll that prolonged isolation can have. Taking the form of a slow blues, Anders sings through the disjointed effect of a blowhorn to further reflect the estrangement caused by distancing for long periods. His uncertainty of how to act anymore is a feeling that can be felt by everyone after the last two years.
The title track ["Stuck Inside"] saunters listlessly with O'Bitz's guitars fizzling out like distant descending fireworks. Anders pines over his captivity, close enough to hear life going on around him but unable to reach out.
The closer 'Small World Abide' is an allusion to one of Anders biggest songs, 'Big World Abide' (2006). This track, which almost became the title track, picks up the energy for one last cornered outburst. Anders unleashes his discontent with the state of the world in an outpouring that shows the soft-spoken singer breaking his consistently cool demeanor.
In a year that will see many meditations on isolation, as well as many political commentaries on the ramifications of this inflammatory time, Stuck Inside is one of the most well-written and poignant. O'Bitz and Anders have perfected their songwriting relationship to a point where the songs seem to come fast and easy. Let's see what the next chapter, Variant Blues, has to offer.
By Ralph Greco, ShortandSweetNYC.com
A slow stamping snare and single piano chords run under the verses of “Morton’s Pillory Plea,” the opener on Eric Anders and Mark O’Bitz’s Stuck Inside. The choruses bleed through loud and lush, countering the sparse verse and Ander’s heartbreaking pleading. This first track sets us up for much of what the duo has to say (and do) across the ten that follow.
Simple piano arpeggios and single keys move the second track, “This Bird Don’t Fly.” Again, the melancholy is thick as much from Ander’s high warble as the “Winchester Cathedral” like build from the back in the mix beat and little sonic-scape touches. I like how this one maintains its tight drama throughout, not breaking out to be anything but the cinema-like mélange it starts to be.
The title track, with its western laid-back, slow strumming, is quite welcome appearing mid-way. O’Bitz provides just the right jangle of single note bends and power chords with his guitar, playing off of Anders' slightly biting lyrics. The lead rises just enough with the song keeping one locked deep in its moment.
Piano and a solid beat move “Holdin’ Our Own” perfectly; you are tapping your foot and swaying well before you are even aware you are captured by this, one of the most commercial tunes. What a wonderful lilting chorus the guys give us here. And the guitar mixed with single-note melody pushes the concoction along.
“Small World Abide” pushes another of Anders’ better shout-vocals here, ending Stuck Inside on a desperate plea.