BY FRED MILLS
Ohio’s Lamont “Bim” Thomas is no stranger to stick-in-the-brain bandnames, having held down kit duties for both the Bassholes and This Moment In Black History, so whatever thinking went into the selection of Obnox for his newest project at least flirted with a smack-‘em-in-the-head strategy. Truth in titling? You’ll have to decide which side of the line in the sand you stand on with the “obnox” question after listening to the skronk-a-thon that is Thomas’ third long-player (available on either black or green vinyl). But to this jaded “rock critic” (term used, uh, loosely), it’s a symphony for my perpetually clogged ears.
Part of the fun with Louder Space, for me at least, has been playing the album for a store full of shoppers (at our sister business, Schoolkids Records), and gauging their reactions. Some visibly recoil, such as when the needle drops on opening track “Prime Time Sista” and a squalling, staggering, heavy metal variation on “Peter Gunne” assaults their senses. Others seem to get on the horse right away, like with the Suicide-meets-Wire, motorik hypno-drone of “Mecca Son Shine” and the companion punk waltz of “Who Needs You,” moving in time to the low-end throb and bobbing their heads in deep concentration. And still others seem baffled by the way disparate sounds in the mix emanate, seemingly randomly, from one speaker only to slip away and reappear in the other one across the store. (How cool would it be to slip the Big Black-esque “Molecule” onto the platter at a high end audio salon and trick ‘em into using it in a speaker demonstration for some snooty customer?)
And with such additional arcane delights here as the spazzy, funky “How to Rob (The Punk Years),” the Nuggets-at-16rpm garage rock of “Best Time of My Life” and the impenetrably lo-fi (even lower-fi that the rest of this lo-fi album) hip-hop that is “Feeling Real Black Today,” pretty much all the musical food groups are represented. Think of Obnox as a musical teacher who is determined to get his lesson across no matter what. Hey kid, quit squirmin’.
In an interview with BLURT earlier this year (in one of our “15 Questions For…” indie labels features), 12XU’s Gerard Cosloy noted that some of the forerunners who inspired him included (among many) Touch & Go, Dischord, Crypt and Siltbreeze. In an earlier era, Obnox would’ve been a natural fit on any of those, what with Thomas’ uncompromising sound and take-no-prisoners approach. Truth in titling? Check—in the best possible way. Smack-‘em-in-the-head? Ladies and gentlemen, fasten your seatbelts and prepare for impact.
DOWNLOAD: “Prime Time Sista,” “Mecca Son Shine,” “Bitch! Get Money,” “Molecule”