Wednesday, January 28, 2015



Boogalou Reed LP 
The Juke That Sat By The Door 12” EP

First things first -- if you haven’t partaken of the scathing satire that is 1973 “blaxxxploitation” (not really at all) classic The Spook Who Sat By The Door, then correct that pronto. Great flick, with a soundtrack by Herbie Hancock. Bim throws out a lot of hidden references amongst all the punny titles, so it’s worth paying attention beyond the quick laugh. Bim also loves his radio, so the fuzzbanger on the A is “All Hail The Deejay,” followed by the stoned-to-the-bone “Sit Yo Ass Down.” On the flip, “(Do) The Clap” sounds like an early Oblivians tune pan-seared with another few layers of grime, garlic and scuzz. That ain’t fuzz on your needle, holmes, that’s a dance party happening beneath the planet’s crust.

I know this has become a common refrain, but Obnox’s brand new LP Boogalou Reed might just be his best yet. Like last year’s much-heralded Louder Space, Boogalou was recorded and mastered for maximum damage. The bass detonations on “Slaughter Culture” are positively subatomic. I would kill to hear these breaking up from a clown-ish car stereo system in the hood or a similarly clowny rave party in the woods. Right before that beast of a cut, Obnox slips in what is my favorite song of this young year, and will surely near the top eleven months from now. “Cynthia Piper At The Gates Of Dawn” connects with me on all levels: cascading amounts of fuzz, an unstoppable chorus (echoed later appropriately in “Marinol”), and it’s about smoking grass (a personal Top 5 life activity) with one of my favorite people in all of Cuyahoga County, Ms. Piper. Cynthia is an old-school head and has seen more cool bands than any one of us. Any time I booked a show in Cleveland, if Cynthia was there, I knew it was worth it. “Cynthia Piper…” also encapsulates one of the things that makes Obnox great -- Bim’s knack for using the people and places around him as inspiration. It’s already well-documented about Bim’s employment of local Clevo (and Columbo) musicians to help him achieve his vision. Why fake a guitar solo when you can get Fuzzhead maestro Bill Weita to play it better and weirder? Need some beats? Plenty of hip-hop crews in the 216. Does this cut need some fucked-up sonic steroids pumped into it? Adam Smith’s got yr back. At a loss for what this song could be about? Make it about a friend, tell the truth while injecting a larger than life aspect. And speaking of things Bim knows quite well, after the bomb-blasts of “Slaughter Culture,” we get “Too Punk Shakur,” perhaps the most melodic and straight-ahead Obnox punk song yet. There’s no question that, at least sonically, “Too Punk” is a loveletter to Gaunt and New Bomb Turks. It’s got a Turks vocal line coupled with in-the-red Gaunt basement damage. Accordingly, it makes me feel like a teenager again. 

Four songs in, and we’re talking Record of the Year material here. The title cut solidifies something I’ve been toying with -- when Obnox does these unclassifiable beat/fuzz jams, almost like a (gulp) garage rock/trip-hop hybrid, he’s getting to a similar space as the Beastie Boys circa Check Your Head. Think about it: “So Whatcha Want” could be on an Obnox record and you'd just be all, “Yo this jam is sick.” Hell, there’s even a second here and there that sounds like Tricky (fo' real). But on “Situation,” the real influence is classic ‘70s soul, cozy blanket of noise added gratis. First side closes out with a version of “Ohio” that Crazy Horse probably wouldn’t even touch. Although side two yields fewer highlights, there is no dip in quality. Juke’s “All Hail The DJ” gets cleaned up slightly and the whole mess collapses into “Protopipe,” an “LA Blues”-style freak-out. Super duper record, and only the first of three (3) 'Nox full-lengths of 2015 A.D.

EP = Chunklet / LP = 12XU

'Used Kids’ 7”
A multi-part epic about a fine record store situated in a town called Columbus, Ohio. For the strange year-plus I lived in Cowtown, I used to sell records to the Cheater Slicks’ Tom Shannon for food. I always felt like he was giving me the “poor bastard” eye. Aye. I used to find great shit there on the cheap too. Everyone did. One time, Jerry Wick lent me a shitty Chuck Eddy book (“Here, read this, it’ll piss you off”) and when I brought it back, I found out it wasn’t even his. “Typical Wick,” was what Ron House said. Bim cut his teeth in this milieu and he has thrown everything he learned in Columbus basements and attics into Obnox. It’s the secret ingredient. Two parts Cleveland, one part Columbus. Or maybe the other way around. This record was recorded in Cleveland (ye olde Black Eye) and mixed in Columbus. The guest musicians are Ohio vets (Fuzzheads and Pere Ubus and mores) and there’s an adorable pic of young Lamont on the cover. Not sold yet? The music is a dense fug of guitars, sax and abused drums. Bim calls it “child psych.” New genres are born every day. [12XU]

Corrupt Free Enterprise 2xLP  
Obnox is on a tear. Based on Corrupt Free Enterprise, ‘Nox’s ninth and most ambitious joint to date, Lamont “Bim” Thomas -- who, for all intents and purposes, is Obnox -- is just getting warmed up. From a foundation of dirt-level garage punk, Thomas sculpts deep cuts out of blown-out beats, redline guitar damage, and sneering yet soulful singing, like if your local gospel choir was raised on a steady diet of The Pagans and Back From the Grave comps. “Ciara” soars, “When Will I See You” aches, Cheater Slicks cover “Ghost” points to a key influence, while “Deep in the Dusk” is like a Rust Belt Freestyle Fellowship. Obnox is on fire, and you’d be wise to look toward the light. 
originally appeared in High Times mag

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