|Oneida — Romance (March 9, 2018)|
Oneida — Romance (March 9, 2018) ρ•ð Brooklyn based psych/noise/kraut legends Oneida were founded in 1997 and consists of Kid Millions, Bobby Matador, Hanoi Jane, Shahin Motia and Barry London. They’ve been an essential driving force in the New York experimental music community.
ρ•ð Beginning in 1999 Oneida instituted a tradition of performing in nontraditional urban spaces including warehouses, vacant theaters and storefronts, parking lots and garages, boats, and industrial facilities. This performance habit continues today. The group is also known for extended, continuous improvisational performances that can reach upward of 10 uninterrupted hours, and for an ongoing collaborative ethos that has resulted in performances with musicians from all corners of music.
ρ•ð In 2006 Oneida built and opened The Ocropolis, a recording studio/performance space in Brooklyn NY where they recorded their own work, performed publicly, and worked in collaboration with numerous other musicians and the visual artists of the Secret Project Robot gallery and projection collective. The Ocropolis closed in 2011 when the waterfront building, known as Monster Island, was scheduled for demolition. It is currently a pile of rubble.
ρ•ð Oneida has worked since the demise of Monster Island in a warehouse studio space in Bushwick, Brooklyn; this was shared with Secret Project Robot until the fall of 2016, when the gallery announced a hiatus. Oneida remains in the building along with a number of associated artists.
Location: Brooklyn, New York, NY, United States
Album release: March 9, 2018
Record Label: Jagjaguwar
01. Economy Travel 5:15
02. Bad Habit 5:56
03. All in Due Time 3:03
04. It Was Me 3:48
05. Good Lie 6:58
06. Lay of the Land 10:42
07. Cedars 5:04
08. Reputation 4:10
09. Cockfight 4:37
10. Good Cheer 4:26
11. Shepherd’s Axe 18:12 Personnel:
ρ•ð Kid Millions (John Colpitts) — drums, vocals (formerly of Adhesive X and Pocket Monster)
ρ•ð Bobby Matador — organ, guitar, vocals
ρ•ð Hanoi Jane — guitar, bass
ρ•ð Showtime (Shahin Motia) (of Ex Models) — guitar
ρ•ð Barry London — synths, organ, effects
ρ•ð PCRZ (aka Papa Crazee or Pat Sullivan), now with Oakley Hall — keyboards, guitar
ρ•ð Double Rainbow (aka Phil Manley of Trans Am and The Fucking Champs) — guitarReview: Oneida Return Thoughtfully To Their Chaos on Romance
Raymond Cummings // March 9, 2018
ρ•ð To find vocals in the last eight years of Oneida’s studio work, feed the Brooklyn quintet’s uncompromising rock’n’ruin through a colander. Early on, the band’s primitivism bore blurts and yammers that zapped its raw, blown~out blooze into ecstatic realms; over time, as their aesthetic grew weirder and yielded to better production values, voices would be increasingly buried in the mix. In the raucous wake of 2009 triple~LP Rated O — an exhilarating endurance quest body~boarded by in~house howls and potent toasts from fellow traveler Dod~Ali Ziai — Oneida’s music has had to speak for itself.
ρ•ð Their new album Romance can at moments feel unflinchingly voluble, even intimate: underground veterans re~examining their priorities, un-muting their microphones. 2011’s Absolute II oozed a bleary, inhuman astringence, and 2012’s A List of the Burning Mountains unwound as a single volcanic, 40~minute psychedelic jam; both were instrumental. By contrast, the synapse tingling that defines Romance opener “Economy Travel” is window dressing for Kid Millions’ drawled vocal. “Grasshopper, why did you ask me what my name was?” the drummer wonders. “Don’t you remember meeting me when we both much younger, and more afraid?” He could be addressing us, of course, but also someone else: a loved one, a friend lost too soon, a vanquished younger self. There’s a tenderness to this verse.
ρ•ð An arbitrariness of sentiment was at play as early as 1999’s Enemy Hogs and as recently as 2004’s Secret Wars. Oneida lays awkward claim to a fuller sincerity on Romance, while expanding its already broad sonic palette. “Good Lie” threads gorgeous, cyborg freon piano drizzle, reminiscent of Cologne Tape and the Cluster & Eno Sky LP, with parodic masculine jabberwocky that nonetheless carries a ring of truth: “We make peace, we let everyone in / We know how to love, we know how to sin / I’m a good guy, I cry, I don’t lie / I’m good at goodbyes.” Quaking and vacillating into incomprehensibility, “Bad Habit” upchucks phrases Shahin Motia and Bobby Matador moan in tandem — “Such a bad habit to have,” “Such a hard habit to break” — as if this tightening vise of barbed~wire guitars could set them free. The moshpit~hungry “Cockfight” extols the touring experience as a sort of religious communalism. It’s an unexpected, open~hearted thrill, arriving near the album’s end; when Oneida fire this one up soon in a venue near you, don’t be shocked if the mood suddenly turns VFW hall hardcore.
ρ•ð Those few moments when Romance’s growth stalls are valuable reminders that evolution isn’t effortless. “Lay of the Land” takes far too long to wind itself up and strands floaty non~sequiturs on its back end. “Reputation” sputters, an unremarkable workout. Length is risk; this is a 73~minute long double LP. For every relative disappointment, though, there are two or three songs as singular as “All In Due Time,” where skittering funk at perpetual risk of tripping over itself faces off against Millions’ considered, gnomic poetry.
ρ•ð Yet Romance exeunts wordlessly, with an 18~minute Cosmic Egg yolk scramble. “Shepherd’s Axe” is Otherworldly Oneida Improv du jour: there’s that sense of players surging towards a peak, of synthesizers and guitars shoving themselves and each other just beyond known limits while the drum surround them. But there’s something more filigreed at work: a thoughtfulness about the band’s mannered chaos as though they’ve come out on the far end of some mass realization.
ρ•ð Oneida has been a cornerstone of the Brooklyn underground for nearly two decades. Always evolving, the group has been a beacon of musical exploration and enthralling unpredictability, gaining legendary status among heads that know and expanding the limits of what it means to be a rock band. With a discography spanning over a dozen full~lengths, plus live releases, EPs, singles, and limited one~offs, Oneida has demonstrated a mastery of collective improvisation, off~kilter songwriting, complex composition, and everything in between.
ρ•ð In 2011 Oneida lost its home base, its studio dubbed the Ocropolis in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, due to the pervasive gentrification and over~development of the neighborhood that was once a thriving arts community. After watching the Monster Island building that housed the Ocropolis transform into a pile of rubble, the band began an intense period of exploration and discovery, retreating from the studio in favor of the stage, and birthing a panoply of limited, uncompromising releases that documented the band’s continuously unfolding journey. Six years after the release of A List of the Burning Mountains, the final emission from the Ocropolis, the band will release their newest studio creation Romance, their first album for Joyful Noise Recordings and a record marked by wild eclecticism, even for a group known for its shape~shifting nature.
ρ•ð Recorded over several years in various locales, the 11 songs on Romance are built around deeply developed long~arc rhythm/phase concepts, noise, yearning, blind guitar rage, longing, the lurch of dying electronics, and a multi~modal embrace of human fallibility and artifice. From the crackling synth~led opener “Economy Travel” to the expansive 18~minute epic “Shepherd’s Axe,” Romance is an album in constant flux. On “Bad Habit” the band employs phasing between organ and guitar to great, disorienting effect, while the primitive riffs of “Cockfight” offer a contrasting vision of rock minimalism. Listen closely on “Lay of the Land” and you will hear constant rhythmic development, with drummer Kid Millions eschewing repetition in favor of morphing patterns of hi~hat and snare. As with all mystery, Romance reveals more through closer attention and multiple listens.
ρ•ð Oneida, always formidable in the live environment, will be touring throughout the year. Kid Millions remains one of the most in~demand drummers in New York, exploring the outer reaches of percussion music with his own Man Forever project, as well as playing with Laurie Anderson, Royal Trux, and People of the North with Oneida compatriot Bobby Matador. Bobby also takes part in the psych~pop duo Nurse & Soldier, and recently formed yet another duo called New Pope. Guitarist Shahin Moita is a co~founder of underground stalwarts Ex Models and Knyfe Hyts. Through it all Oneida remains a powerful collective voice, a propulsive force for wildness and excitement, with Romance heralding the return of the epic, artful ballad version of the journey.
ρ•ð A Place Called El Shaddai’s (Turnbuckle, 1997)
ρ•ð Enemy Hogs (Turnbuckle, 1999: re~issued by Jagjaguwar, 2001)
ρ•ð Come on Everybody Let’s Rock (Jagjaguwar, 2000)
ρ•ð Anthem of the Moon (Jagjaguwar, 2001)
ρ•ð Each One Teach One (Jagjaguwar, 2002)
ρ•ð Secret Wars (Jagjaguwar, 2004)
ρ•ð The Wedding (Jagjaguwar, 2005)
ρ•ð Happy New Year (Jagjaguwar, 2006)
ρ•ð Preteen Weaponry (Jagjaguwar, 2008)
ρ•ð Rated O (Jagjaguwar, 2009)
ρ•ð Absolute II (Jagjaguwar, 2011)
ρ•ð A List of the Burning Mountains (Jagjaguwar, 2012)
ρ•ð What’s Your Sign? with Rhys Chatham (Northern Spy Records, 2016)
ρ•ð Romance (Joyful Noise Recordings, 2018)
ρ•ð Seeds of Contemplation (Jagjaguwar, 2007)
ρ•ð Steel Rod (Jagjaguwar, 2000)
ρ•ð Atheists, Reconsider (Arena Rock Recording Co., 2002) /split with Liars
ρ•ð Nice. / Splittin’ Peaches (Ace Fu, 2004)
ρ•ð Street People (Bulb, 2001) /Split with 25 Suaves
ρ•ð Fine European Food and Wine (Scotch Tapes, 2010)
|Oneida — Romance (March 9, 2018)|