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Record Reviews

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OBLIVIONATION:
Demo 2012: Cassette
Three tracks of pissed-off hardcore punk from this Massachusetts-based quartet. For only three songs, this demo is filled with riffs sure to inspire furious bedroom moshing and steering wheel pounding while driving. Lyrically, the band talks about dealing with mental health issues in “Compulsive Paranoia,” ignorance in our society in “Proud to Be Dumb,” and telling the Westboro Baptist Church to fuck off in “Closet Country”—all sentiments I can get behind. Based on these three tracks, I’m stoked to get my hands on Oblivionation’s forthcoming LP, and you should be as well. –Paul J. Comeau (Bleeding Edges, weareoblivionation@gmail.com)


OBLIVIONATION:
Cult of Culture: 7” EP
A potent mix of punk and metal that lays off of the latter enough to find that sweet spot that’s more Poison Idea than Crumbsuckers. Tunes are zippy yet varied, the delivery is fierce without coming off as beef headed, and you’ve got yerselves a winner here. –jimmy (Man In Decline)


OBN IIIs:
Self-titled: 7”
OBN IIIs play solid rock’n’roll. Fans of Radio Birdman and Johnny Thunders will eat this record up. Another great 45 from Tic Tac Totally. –ryan (Tic Tac Totally, tictactotally.com)


OBN IIIs:
Mark on You: 7”
At first glance at the cover, I was expecting just another low-fi garage rock band and was mistaken. Intense and a little off-kilter, OBN IIIs seem like a band that can’t be contained to vinyl and need to be seen live. Mr. OBN III himself is quite the prolific Texan (he plays in The Bad Sports and was on the John Wesley Coleman Bad Lady Goes to Jail album too.) The guitar tone on “Mark on You” is searing. “Heavy Heart” is a driving, punk-y garage number. My only complaint is that there are only two songs on this record. –Sal Lucci (Tic Tac Totally)


OBN IIIS:
The One and Only: LP
Since I snagged this from the box, it has been on fairly consistent rotation in my dark dwelling. When I’m out in the sunlight, it has received more than its fair share of play on the iPod (this comes with a download card). Not familiar with their back catalog just yet. Working on it, though. What you get here is some damn good punk rock that draws from the Stooges, Heartbreakers, and Radio Birdman (especially on “New Innocence”). The opener, “If the Shit Fits” runs a bit long, but after that, nothing to complain about. How can you not like songs like “Can’t Wait for You to Shut Up”? These are the kinds of songs that make punk great: attitude, and a total “fuck it” approach. But the song that really grabs me is “New Dark Age,” which brings to mind early Iggy Pop solo material. It has that great guitar sound that slinks in the darkness, revealing itself in flashes, and the vocal delivery is right on. This song could have gone on for another ten minutes and I wouldn’t complain. –Matt Average (Tac Totally, tictactotally.com)


OBN IIIs:
The One and Only: LP
This might be the best record I’ve bought in a long time. I almost didn’t buy it because of the price. (Fourteen dollars at my local record shop!) I’m trying to come to grips with the increasing prices of records (even used ones, jeez!). Anyway, attitude-laden punk rock’n’roll. Opening track “If the Shit Fits” probably best sums up OBN IIIs. “New Dark Age” is Mr. OBN III’s homage to Iggy Pop. Production is lo-fi but you can tell the band is competent and also spent time and effort recording the songs. I really dig the bass tone but it sometimes gets a little lost in the mix. OBN III himself is a prolific man, doing time with The Bad Sports, John Wesley Coleman, and probably others. I hope to see this band live sometime soon. –Sal Lucci (Tic Tac Totally)


OBN IIIs:
Self-titled: LP
Killer follow-up to a killer debut. OBN IIIs are untouchable as far as current bands. I like ‘em better than Bad Sports, another of Orville Neely’s notable outfits. They have the “fuck you” swagger and searing guitar tone of The Humpers (but really, no one can play rock’n’roll punk guitar like Billy Burks!). Like their debut album (The One and Only), there are nods to Iggy Pop and The Damned. OBN IIIs were one of the best live acts I caught in 2012, too. The packaging is pretty sweet: gatefold with thick stock cover and a poster included, yet somehow like three dollars cheaper retail than when I bought the first album. Label website says this record cost them sixteen dollars a piece to make. Wild! –Sal Lucci (Tic Tac Totally)


OBN IIIS:
Third Time to Harm | Live in San Francisco: LPs
I loved the first two OBN IIIs LPs and think the band is a force to be reckoned with live. OBN IIIs have the fuck you swagger of The Humpers and the in-your-face crowd shenanigans of New Bomb Turks. There are touches of Iggy Pop and Sonic Rendezvous Band in Mr. OBNs vocal delivery. Straight out the gate, this album sounds more raw and in the red (without the instruments bleeding or drowning each other out) than any previous release. The songs are darker, heavier, and more varied than previous releases. But ending side one with a seven minute-ish song (half of which is an instrumental intro), then starting side two with a six minute-ish song? Not necessary. A live album on Castle Face dropped shortly after this Third Time to Harm. Now, this is a great representation of the band. The cover looks more badass, despite having zero middle fingers on it. The sound is pretty good for a live recording (though vox are a little low in the mix), and there’s the crowd baiting and shit talking that raises the ante of an OBN IIIs show. But, hey, get them both and judge for yourself. Just don’t miss the live show next time it comes to your town. –Sal Lucci (Tic Tac Totally | Castle Face)


OBN IIIS:
Worth a Lot of Money: LP
Record of the issue for me, personally. So damn good! I haven’t kept up on these guys like I should, and it is my loss. However, I am catching up. There have been some drastic changes (lineup and sound) since their The One and Only LP. Almost gone are the Stooges and MC5 influences, and in are Thin Lizzy and AC/DC influences (“4KD” cribs a riff from AC/DC). I find this switch suits them better. I really like the early stuff, but this new album is fucking great! Hard rock done properly. No irony, no half-ass pose. The Thin Lizzy influence is strong, especially on songs like “Let the Music” and “What Happened to You.” The galloping percussion and hard-driving riff of “The Stalker” is hard rock bliss, the kind of song you crank way the hell up. The guitar solo sends it over the edge then they switch gears and bring you back down to earth for more. “Dismissive” mixes in Iggy Pop’s New Values to great effect: the vocals are perfect, the musicianship top shelf, and every single song on here is a keeper. In a perfect world these guys would be packing stadiums.  –Matt Average (12XU, 12XU.net)


OBN IIIs:
Worth a Lot of Money: LP
I really like the first two OBN IIIs LPs. They make me feel like the void in rock’n’roll punk was properly filled after The Humpers stepped down. I wasn’t super happy with OBN IIIs third LP, though. The songs slowed down and some of them were too long. But Worth a Lot of Moneystrikes a good middle ground between the “fuck you” swagger of earlier OBN IIIs and the third album. The first time I put this record on, I accidentally put Side B on first and thought the album was a mish-mash of non-flow and confusion. When listened to properly, Worth... works much better. The lineup for this LP is different—and frontman Orville Neely plays guitar—so I wonder how this effects his crowd-baiting antics. There are definite nods to Sonic’s Rendezvous Band and Radio Birdman, and “Let the Music” feels so Thin Lizzy (in tone and lyric subject) that I had to check the credits to see whether it is a cover or not. I bought this LP while temporarily jobless, hoping that it was a good use of my limited funds, and it is indeed worth my money. Hey, no pun intended! –Sal Lucci (12XU)


OBN IIIS, THE:
No Way to Rock and Roll: 7”
Two stellar songs with plenty of lo-fi rock and roll swagger. The title track brings to mind The Stooges while the B side is a bit slower and reminiscent of 13 Floor Elevators. Well worth seeking out if you dig this sort of stuff. –Chris Mason (Super Secret)


OBNOX:
I'm Bleeding Now: LP
The solo debut of This Moment In Black History drummer Lamont Thomas is a noisy, cacophonous affair. Hyper-distortioned, reverby guitar, contrasted with an overall lo-fi sound, creates a muddy feel that requires a few listens to truly appreciate. The initial impact of this wall of muddy sound obscures the technical, rhythmic drumming and the elaborate song structures present in the record, as well as burying the vocals deep in the mix. Getting past that, there is a ton of melody and a high percentage of catchy riffs, making for an overall enjoyable record. “Totaled,” and “Daughter” are the two most accessible tracks, demanding repeated listens, but “Gin and Coke Water,” might be the best track on the record once the listener is used to the vibe of the album. This is not an easily accessible record, but it gets more and more compelling with each play. Dedicated listeners will grow to love this, but those put off by their initial impressions will be hard pressed to give this record the attention it justly deserves. –Paul J. Comeau (Smog Veil)


OBNOX:
I’m Bleeding Now: LP
I didn’t even need to check on the location of this one-man freakshow. Middle America? Bingo. This dude has done time in This Moment In Black History and the Puffy Areolas, but this is a different beast altogether. Straddling the line between straight-up noise and the rock’n’roll, like Iggy played back in the day. Swirling noise, yelping vocals, and everything up to eleven. Bastard child of the Clone Defects gone noise…. The soundtrack to Cleveland 2012. This shit is too much for me; I must be getting soft. –Tim Brooks (12Xu)


OBNOX:
Smoke Woody Haze EP: 8-Cut 12” Maxi Single

Lamont “Bim” Thomas has been in two powerhouse bands, from the duo Bassholes with Don Howland (the song “Daughter” still stops me cold), to the peace-through-superior-Cleveland firepower of This Moment In Black History. All bands are very worth seeking out in both past and present tense. Obnox is Lamont front and center on vocals and drums. This EP matches Lamont with different hip-hop folks providing the beats, rhymes, and production. I mean, fuck, how many examples do you need of a guy who gets it right musically so often? Great songs crush the empty boxes of flimsy musical genres. You want the hollow rattle of a spent cartridge of something merely shiny or a loaded chamber racked when the purist police and big industry come knockin’ your front door down? Lamont’s been cleaning his weapons, smoking weed, got his Arts and Sciences degree. His answer’s written on the door, plain and simple. Definitely worth your time and purchase.

–todd (12XU, 12xu.net)


OBNOX:
Canabible Ohio: 2 x 7” EP
Was a bit put off by the pot-addled cover art, but Todd suggested I look past that and give it a try, and I’m glad he did. Dunno who is responsible, but this is quite an inspired bit of lunacy. Equal parts hip hop, art-damaged punk, psychedelia and general racket-making mix, and matched into something more acid than pot-friendly, right down to the lysergic covers of the Urinals’ “I’m a Bug” and the McCoys’ “Hang on Sloopy.” –jimmy (Slovenly)


OBNOX:
Corrupt Free Enterprise: 2 x LP
Frantic, one man low fi project recorded with so much white noise that it’s impossible to pick out the weirdness going on beneath. It’s a shame, because this guy makes Jay Reatard sound chill. I wish I could play it without getting a fucking migraine. –CT Terry (12XU)


OBNOX:
Three Times Dope EP: 7” EP
Obnox is a rather prolific project from Bim Thomas of Bassholes and This Moment In Black History. I have no idea where this falls on the Obnox trajectory, or whether it reflects the rest of the output under this moniker, but that aside, this one’s got three powerful garage punk rockers with a slight psychedelic bent plainly hidden beneath a lack of fidelity—like champion level lacking. The two originals are stellar, and Obnox offer up a fantastic, personalized cover of the Spiders’ “Don’t Blow Your Mind” that fits well next to Bim’s own work. Huge catalogs are always intimidating to me, but I might just have to investigate into this one a bit more, especially if more of this is possible.  –Vincent Battilana (Southpaw)


OBNOX:
Used Kids: EP
I reviewed an LP by this ex-Bassholes one-man band a while ago and nothing has changed; I have no idea what the fuck is going on. I know I’m out of the loop, but I can’t hang with the new noise. Tricky, fuzzed-out noise not unlike what other Midwesterners Human Eye or other space punks are doing. I guess I see the appeal, but it just doesn’t ring my chimes, you know? Where’s the hooks, maaaaaan? Fans of Hozac or the Florida shit take note. –Tim Brooks (12XU)


OBNOX:
Louder Space: LP
Obnox launches right into it with some raw, muscly riffage, calling to mind both the Stooges and Hawkwind, but smoother and slicker, with purpose and no space warriors. The record makes a nice but brief experimental excursion before continuing extremely well along the path of the opener for much of the record. Obnox also takes fitting ventures into hip hop at various points, and laces wild guitars throughout the album. Far from as lo-fi as other output, but still raw and powerful. A damn fine record!  –Vincent Battilana (12XU)


OBNOX:
Boogalou Reed: LP
Obnox is not my speed, but I get the appeal of this. This is a loud album of blues rock-inspired riffs, turned out with occasional hip hop beats and a bit of shoegazer intervals to make the vocals sound otherworldly. I had heard about this band before and figured it was something I wouldn’t like. And while I don’t particularly like it, it’s very well done. The album plays like a machine. There’s something electrically special about it. I don’t know what previous output sounds like, but I would bet if you like that, this is something you’d like. The song title “Too Punk Shakur” gets credit for being actually funny in a way I don’t like. Just live with that sentence. –Billups Allen (12XU)


OBNOXIOUS OBLOQUY:
Self-titled: CD
Earnest, but painfully redundant Fat Wreck/Epitaph-sounding punk by teenagers. These guys may very well go on to do much better stuff. I ain’t mad at ya. –Craven (no address)


OBNOXIOUS YOUTH:
The Eternal Void: LP
Driving hardcore with more than a smidge of rock wedged into their sound. Lyrics are pretty much silly, but the tunes themselves have a nice groove to ‘em in a mid-’80s speed metal kinda way. –jimmy (Adult Crash, adult-crash.com)


OBSCENE GESTURE / VARANT MAJARIAN:
In: Clubbing Seals for Fun and Profit: Split CD
It's funny what little, seemingly inconsequential things can tip the scales in a reviewer's mind when assessing the virtues of a new recording. When I first saw the band logos - both of that "scary" lettering ilk, like they were doodled on a notebook cover by some death metal miscreant in detention one day - along with the cover illustration of some smiling little punks beating harp seals over the heads with baseball bats, the Laughable Retard alarms went off in my head. But then I noticed that the little drawings all over this thing are kind of cute in a "Maddy-esque" way and that they even included a funny little board game called the "Punk Point Game" and that sort of reminded of something Crucial Youth would've done back in the day. There's obviously a sense of humor at work here and that almost always makes me less prone to attacking a band with a bag full of dull, rusty adjectives. Obscene Gesture come across like a poor man's Chain of Strength with quasi-religious lyrics, plus they thank "God" in the credits, so I don't think the sense of humor is theirs. It seems to be an outgrowth of the good times vitriol of Varant Majarian. Sure, it's humor that would probably appeal to that miscreant kid doodling in detention, but hell, it's a sense of humor nonetheless. Plus their singer sounds like a cross between Darby Crash and Jello Biafra, and you gotta like that. Two hardcore bands that don't sound like they're trying to sound like each other. Not bad stuff. Give yourselves a few extra punk points, boys. –aphid (Chicken Head)


OBSCENE GESTURE / VARANT MAJARIAN:
In: Clubbing Seals for Fun and Profit: Split CD
It’s funny what little, seemingly inconsequential things can tip the scales in a reviewer’s mind when assessing the virtues of a new recording. When I first saw the band logos – both of that “scary” lettering ilk, like they were doodled on a notebook cover by some death metal miscreant in detention one day – along with the cover illustration of some smiling little punks beating harp seals over the heads with baseball bats, the Laughable Retard alarms went off in my head. But then I noticed that the little drawings all over this thing are kind of cute in a “Maddy-esque” way and that they even included a funny little board game called the “Punk Point Game” and that sort of reminded of something Crucial Youth would’ve done back in the day. There’s obviously a sense of humor at work here and that almost always makes me less prone to attacking a band with a bag full of dull, rusty adjectives. Obscene Gesture come across like a poor man’s Chain of Strength with quasi-religious lyrics, plus they thank “God” in the credits, so I don’t think the sense of humor is theirs. It seems to be an outgrowth of the good times vitriol of Varant Majarian. Sure, it’s humor that would probably appeal to that miscreant kid doodling in detention, but hell, it’s a sense of humor nonetheless. Plus their singer sounds like a cross between Darby Crash and Jello Biafra, and you gotta like that. Two hardcore bands that don’t sound like they’re trying to sound like each other. Not bad stuff. Give yourselves a few extra punk points, boys. –aphid (Chicken Head)


OBSCENE, THE:
Death Rides a Pale Whore: CD
These frisky Floridians swagger from solid post-Dead Boys punk to balls-out (but mildly less streamlined) Dwarves/Zeke speedcore to mildly synthy deathrock and mildly deathy surf rock, shedding scabby hints of Gang Green, The Cramps, Bang Gang, and the Hudson Falcons along the way. Dumb and mean, but fun and dumb. –Cuss Baxter (Teenage Antichrist)


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