Tag Archives: jazz

Obnox Return with a Niggative Approach

Obnox, Niggative Approach (5/30/2017, 12XU)


Obnox is the musical alter ego of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Lamont ‘Bim’ Thomas (pictured).  Having released five long-players under this moniker in the last 3 years, the word ‘prolific’ seems apt.  I must admit that new release, Niggative Approach, is the first one I’ve fully sat down with – and now I’m both damn glad I did and in a hurry to dig deeper into the earlier material.

The title might be a wink and a bow to Detroit hardcore godheads Negative Approach (whose singer, John Brannon, makes an appearance on the album’s intro and outro), but the album is far too diverse, dense and interesting to damn with the faint praise of a hyphenated ‘punk’ or other descriptor.  Frankly, there’s so much going on in this record, it can be giddily overwhelming.  Jazz, psych, garage, soul, blues, punk, funk, r&b, hip hop, Beastie Boys, Funkadelic, Rudy Ray Moore, Kid Congo, D’Angelo, Shabazz Palaces, Sun Ra, War, Curtis Mayfield, MF Doom, sky high riffs, heavy funk bass, kick drum grooves, eye of newt and a partridge in a motherfuckin’ pear tree – all this and more await across the album’s 14 tracks (excluding intro-/outro).

I found it best to just strap in, give in, and let it all wash over me, repeated listens bearing ever sweeter fruit.  The spy theme raga of “You”.  The hot, humid synth feel of “Hardcore Matinee”.  The wide lapel groove of “”Beauty Like the Night”.  The diamond amidst the rough of the beautiful “Carmen, I Love You”.  Exhale.

Niggative Approach is out now, on 12XU.  Monitor M. Thomas’ (social media) movements on fbook and the twitt.  No tour dates as yet, but here’s hoping.

Highlights include: “Audio Rot”; “Afro Muffin”; “Carmen, I Love You”; “You”; “Niggative Approach”; “Beauty Like the Night”.

Naked (on drugs) Return, Bearing “This Gift”

Naked (on drugs), This Gift (Tombed Visions, 2/24/2017)

Describing sounds like those made by a band like Naked (on drugs) presents a challenge, since they largely defy straight-line comparisons.  The group from Salford – who we’ve missed since 2014 – have returned with This Gift, an album containing re-recorded old friends and new material, and featuring a new lineup enhancing the core duo of guitarist Luke Byron Scott and singer/multi-instrumentalist Sebastien Perrin.

“Boudoir Fingers” sets the mood, coming in all big band sex machine and slowly grinding its way towards what seems, at first, like the sounds of la petite mort but ends up something more akin to a scene from “Natural Born Killers”.   The band’s perverted swing is evident on the revamped title track, which (without diminishing our fierce loyalty to the original) retains a dirty-faced loucheness and now includes a minutes-long chaotic whirl, as well as new track (and lead single), “Sedative Smile”, a further, Humbert Humbert paean to the “dirty white tights and green leather jacket” clad Lee Ann.  Elsewhere, there’s a fine balance of outright groove and experimental noise riffing on tracks like the older “Death Dance” and new, “Rapture” on ludes cut, “The Hair Suit” (a new personal fave), while “The Hotel” provides a leeringly lovely close to the proceedings.

Every so often – including as I was pulling together this word jumble – I get (self-diagnosed) ocular migraines.  Beginning as protozoan blobs, they unravel into ever longer, attenuated strands shimmery with the colors of an oil slicked puddle.  It seemed fitting.  “*Sigh* But, what does it sound like”, you ask?  Fine – jazz, goth, noir, new wave, no wave, Nick Cave, Bowie, Brel, Brecht, bop – all thrown into a blender and pulsed, …pulsed, with the top off.  Sing in the rain.

This Gift is out now, and available on limited edition cassette via Tombed Visions.  Stroll the darkened streets with Naked (on drugs) on fbook, bandcamp and/or their site.  Enjoy the video for “Sedative Smile”, below.

Review: Vanishing Twin, The Conservation of Energy

Vanishing Twin, “The Conservation of Energy” (Soundway Records)

“The Conservation of Energy” is a slice of breezy, psych-flecked sophisti-pop (so many hyphens!) courtesy of London’s Vanishing Twin (formerly known as Orlando, also the name of the band’s lead singer).  There’s a strong whiff of gauloises, drawing in the flavors of bands like St. Etienne, Stereolab, Broadcast, and The Style Council.  Featuring a gentle breeze of a drum beat, organ, flute, and Orlando’s shimmery vocals, the track weaves a continental drift through a sun-dappled, pastoral jazz-folk vibe, with the lyrics’ natural imagery – matter, flowing seas – adding to the languid feel.  The song streches its legs into an absolutely blissful, wordless middle third at around the 2:30 mark, before returning to the main melody.  While a rather abrupt fade out breaks the spell.

Psych-pop bliss.

“The Conservation of Energy” is taken from Vanishing Twin’s to be released debut album, due on Soundway Records in September according to their PR group. You can find the band on fbook and also on Soundcloud, with Orlando’s earlier releases available on this Bandcamp page.

New Track: Thundercat, Them Changes

Thundercat, “Them Changes” (Brainfeeder)

The insanely talented Thundercat returns, with an assist from FlyLo, on this bittersweet-flavored funk/soul/space/jazz ear candy.

Coils of rubber banded bass try to tell you something good over a beat that tiptoes in the dark.  A smooth piano overlay matches wits with Thundercat’s sweet tenor and falsetto musings; a true detective arriving at the scene of his own love crime (“nobody move, there’s blood on the floor/and i can’t find my heart”… “it must have fell/when I lost my mind”).  At the 1:20 mark, a transcendent, spacey free jazz odyssey that would be unexpected for anyone but TC.  Love never hurt so good.

This jam…is…

“Them Changes” is taken from a new mini-album, The Beyond/Where Giants Roam, due out Monday on Brainfeeder.  Check out the track on the Brainfeeder Soundcloud page and, if you haven’t already, do yourself and favor and check out Thundercat’s earlier releases.