Monday, July 6, 2015

Obnox : Know America

Garage Rock / Punk has had some pretty big moments in music’s frontlines.  From new bands spearheading resurgence in the last decade to the 90s and casting back to the bottomless pit of the 60’s.  I’ve been fixated since living overseas for a few years in 2006 where I got a baptism of fire in New York.  I would say nearly all the records I bought and relished were garage rock.     It was new and exhilarating to me, after listening to a lot of albums some material started to feel like mimicry of what had come before, and ultimately a genre I had become enamoured with felt stale at times.  Sure, there are truly great innovators but I’m not going to tire you with a list, suffice it to say there’s been nothing quite like Obnox. 

Obnox’s recordings are thrilling and challenge its predecessors.   It is clear beginnings in 90s garage punk still play a vital part in what Lamont ‘Bim’ Thomas does, along with a penchant for all things underground.  I mean the Tommy Jay cover on this record gives a nod to one of thee great outsider albums made in Ohio – and anywhere else for that matter.  Previously working in several other garage and punk outfits such as Bassholes, Unholy Two, Puffy Areolas and This Moment In Black History, Thomas has only gathered momentum for his most raucous material yet.  Obnox’s gritty experimentation of introspective punk rock and soul began to emerge in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio around 2011.  Thomas has had some pretty great labels behind him already 12XU, Negative Guestlist and Permanent have all supported his releases with this new record finding a new home at Ever/Never.   There’s a real sense that Thomas’ surroundings informs his writing;  musicians, the streets, the community, people around him  - in searching of synergy in amongst all of it.  The havoc brought forward in Obnox’s material feels like ideas being brought into focus by chaos.   Sound is collaged and layered slammed against blown out guitars, pummelling rhythms and melody driven vocals forever driven to breaking point.  ‘Freaky’ hits with the full whack of how intense this record can get as it seems as though the song only just comes short of frying the equipment it was recorded on. 

The tempestuous nature of the song writing on ‘KnowAmerica’ is undeniable and it still stands from the last time I said it, Obnox’s approach is unbelievably refreshing.  For the first time there’s a chance to see him perform all this too at the end of the month at Café Oto you can buy tickets here, not to be missed!

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