The Oil Slick: Remembering The Oblivians and The Gories
If you surfed the garage-rock-revival wave starting in the early 2000s, you may not have gotten to experience some of the bands your favorite bands looked up to.
If you want to trace garage back a bit further than the Strokes, start with these two albums by two of the seminal garage rock badasses. With the Oblivians coming out with a new album last week, it seems the perfect time to reminisce.
The Oblivians, Soul Food
From the starting of "Viet Nam War Blues" through the cringe-worthy "N***** Rich," the Oblivians' first album puts its heavily fuzzed boot on your throat from the moment you hit play, and it only continues to push harder the longer you listen.
Throughout the 35-minute blast, the deep bass (despite no bass player) and the alternating vocals combined with a furious drum attack deliver some flat-out punishing sonic abuse, but in a very good way. Although their later records have been equally celebrated, there's nothing quite like the initial burst of raw energy that Soul Food gives in spades. Turn it up.
The Gories, I Know You Fine, But How You Doin'?
This band had a knack for combining some killer riffs with some really juvenile humor, much to the delight of their fans.
They recorded only three albums, but this one wins out because of its awesome name (and songs, of course). Tracks like the blues-tinged "Early in the Morning" and the destructive "Nitroglycerin" show how easily these guys shifted styles without letting up on the manic pace they hold throughout the album.
Once again, volume is a key component, but where the Oblivians made due with sheer punishing blasts, the Gories have a little swing to back up their aggression, as shown by the the opener "Hey Hey, We're the Gories" and "Detroit Breakdown."
If you're a fan of the garage rock wave from the 2000s, featuring the White Stripes, the Strokes, The Dirtbombs, the Vines and the Hives, you owe it to yourself to check out the Gories and the Oblivians. Not only did they come first, they may have played hardest.
John Grimley writes The Oil Slick blog for GuitarWorld.com.