Obits / Bed & Bugs - SP1058
Obits are a four-piece band who currently live in Brooklyn, NY, and whose music is probably considered an occupant of the rock music genre, specifically in the areas of garage, punk, surf, surf-punk, and garage-punk (though, not surf-garage). On this new album, they’ve also covered a song (“Besetchet”) from volume 23 of the excellent Ethiopiques series; so much for tidy categorization. The album for which this clumsy biographical dispatch has been prepared is entitled Bed & Bugs and it is the third full-length album by Obits, following their 2011 album Moody, Standard and Poor, which itself followed their 2009 album I Blame You, which we in the professional music industry refer to as the band’s “debut.” Bed & Bugs was recorded somewhere in Arlington, VA at an unnamed recording studio, simply and rather unhelpfully described as “upstairs.” This recording was accomplished by Nikhil Ranade, and the resulting songs were later mixed, variously, by this same Nikhil Ranade as well as Eli Janney and Geoff Sanoff.
On listening to Bed & Bugs, the discerning listener may well note more than a passing similarity to such bands as Hot Snakes, Edsel, Drive Like Jehu, Girls Against Boys, Pitchfork, possibly Television or the Wipers. This is un-coincidental! With the exception of those last two, Obits share members with all of those bands.
Less flippantly: There are scenes and there are connections; trending hashtags and experiences. It’s cool, these are not either/or propositions and there’s no need to postulate any us vs. any them, the kids today and the back in my day. Much of what’s best about any music, all art, across genres, within and beyond the latest craze, is the way it speaks to some definition of “us.” Proving, as Obits sing in Bed & Bugs’ “Receptor,” that “You ain’t the world’s lone receptor,” is deeply valuable. Because we’re all headed to the same place: me today, you tomorrow. And, in that waning interstitial space, let’s go ahead and have what we want. No need to choose: make ours both Bed & Bugs.
MP3 download included with all vinyl releases
Released: September 10, 2013
Bed & Bugs + The Obits Cursive Black T-shirt
Obits’ Bed & Bugs CD or LP + The Obits Cursive Black T-shirt Bundle
Bed & Bugs + Obits Pocket Bug White T-shirt
Obits’ Bed & Bugs CD or LP + Obits Pocket Bug White T-shirt Bundle
Bed & Bugs + Obits Pocket Bug Black T-shirt
Obits’ Bed & Bugs CD or LP + Obits Pocket Bug Black T-shirt Bundle
Obits / Moody, Standard and Poor - SP857
The answer to the question, “Are Obits ‘indie rock veterans’?” is yes and no. Yes, they are accomplished musicians who once fronted Drive Like Jehu, Edsel, Hot Snakes, and Pitchfork. But also; No, they are not active or retired members of the United States military. It’s good to get these things sorted out. Don’t worry—there are no dumb questions.
Are Obits a young band? They are. Another good question. A child born in 2007, when Greg Simpson joined as bassist, would not yet be in kindergarten. Obits didn’t self-release their first single (“One Cross Apiece” b/w “Put It in Writing”) until late 2008. Their debut LP (I Blame You, on Sub Pop), wasn’t released until March 2009. Does their stripped-down rock incorporate elements of surf and garage? Absolutely it does. The members of Obits are fans of oldies. They generally dislike newies. But their influences simmer in the crock-pot of human creativity; you will find only disappointment if you try to deduce the muse of any given song.
What of Obits’ new record? Well, for starters, it’s their second full-length, and it’s called Moody, Standard and Poor. It was recorded at Brooklyn’s Saltlands Studio by Eli Janney and Geoff Sanoff. Sub Pop will release it on March 29, 2011. And how will Moody, Standard and Poor make you feel? The short answer is: great. Not Smoking-An-Eightball-Of-Coke great. But Alive-To-New-Listening Experiences great. The long answer is that these twelve songs will take you on a series of emotional road trips. Some will be as brief as a walk to the fridge. Others will be epic pilgrimages to the shady hinterlands of your subconscious. Great records can do this. Moody, Standard and Poor is no exception.
Released: March 29, 2011
Obits / I Blame You - SP785
Obits are Rick Froberg, Sohrab Habibion, Greg Simpson, and Scott Gursky. They reside in Brooklyn, NY. There is a bootleg of their first live show from Jan. ‘08 at the Cake Shop in NY somewhere on the internet. As with most of these sorts of things, the sound quality of that recording is pretty poor. The songs though… The songs are really great. Obits like a lot of music—Television, Wipers, Michael Yonkers, 13th Floor Elevators, Neu!, The Shangri-Las, African psych, punk rock. They don’t really sound that much like Creedence, maybe a little. Since that first show, we somehow convinced them that releasing some records on Sub Pop would be a good idea. Obits came out to Seattle in July of 2008 and played our 20th anniversary festival. In December of 2008, they released their first single, “One Cross Apiece” b/w “Put It in Writing” on their own Stint Records label and did some touring with the Constantines and The Night Marchers.
“We’re not into innovation as a band,” says Froberg, who’s already done his fair share of innovating with Drive Like Jehu and Hot Snakes. “I think innovation is overrated and an overestimated quality. Anything that’s going to be original is going to happen without your control. Things that make your band sound like you, are things you wouldn’t be able to change anyway. We just go ahead and play the stuff we like, and we don’t worry about originality per se, because that takes care of itself.”
Produced by Geoff Sanoff, Eli Janney and Obits, I Blame You is the band’s debut full-length album.
Released: March 24, 2009