Oblivians are a band from Memphis, the godfathers of the garage underground scene in that city that just broke up when they were getting to be known worldwide in the late nineties. They called it quits after a great collaboration with Quintron in 1997. The band went separate ways, Greg Cartwright established himself as one of the most important songwriters with the new band Reigning Sound, Jack Yarber became the king of the minimalist garage and Eric Friedl was busy running the famous Goner Records label and playing gutter punk with True Sons of Thunder. This year they decided to ditch their real surnames again and return to The Oblivians.
It’s like all those years of separate careers did not even happen. The new record is a classic Oblivians chaotic mix of dirt and melody. Timeless quality comes form the fact that they recorded the whole thing on scotch tape, at least that’s how it sounds like. Inputs to the record are brotherly divided up by all three of them and among the excellent originals that already threaten to become classics, there are some hilarious cover choices: Paul Butterfield Band, Andy Griffith and probably the catchiest song on the record Call The Police which brings back Quintron and Miss Pussycat and it was written by Stephanie McDee – a popular local hip hop entertainer from New Orleans who mixes rap and zydeco traditions.
A few technical notes on the vinyl release. Cover on the font is a great photograph, but it’s a low resolution digital photo blown up to the 12×12″ record cover. Inside photography is beautiful. There is no clear information on the record or on the cover where it was mastered or pressed. I can’t say much about the vinyl cut, after all, the whole record sounds like it was recorded on a scotch tape. But that sort of visual and aural lo-fi chaos is what represents The Oblivians authentically. Anything more polished would be a disaster.