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Monday, June 10, 2013


the OBLIVIANS - Desperation (In the Red) 

After 17 years the Memphis trash garage ne'er-do-wells pick up right where they left off.

For my money the Oblivians were the definitive Crypt Records band. They ripped through supersharged lofi garage punk that was light on finesse but heavy on attitude. They were relentless in their assault, creating of a muddled hybrid of garage, punk, blues, and rock & roll. They put out 3 albums in the second half of the 90's and then called it quits. Over the years the three members stayed busy with various projects (fronting the Reigning Sound; producing, writing, and/or playing with artists like the Detroit Cobras, Mary Weiss, Panther Burns, Jay Reatard; and running Goner Records label), making it seem unlikely that they'd return.

But 17 years after their last full length, ...Play 9 Songs with Mr Quintron, the Memphis trash garage ne'er-do-wells are back, picking up right where they left off. The production is a little better (nowhere close to being overproduced - it's still lo-fi) and they're more experienced musicians now, but they still tear it up with the same reckless abandon of the Oblivians of twenty years earlier. As with most great garage albums, there are some fine covers. The blistering cover of Paul Butterfield's "Lovin Cup" is fabulous, but the genius cover is taking a simple zydeco  party number, Stephanie McDee's "Call the Police", and turning it into a massive, pounding garage anthem.

Desperation is noisy, dumb-fun garage rock. Exactly what I want from the Oblivians.


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