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Sound Notes: OBNOX

Sound Notes: OBNOX

I'm Bleeding Now

Cleveland's bleeding: Lamont 'Bim' Thomas

Cleveland's bleeding: Lamont 'Bim' Thomas

Lamont "Bim" Thomas is a staple of the North Coast's evolving rock scene, most notably atop a drum throne in This Moment in Black History. As OBNOX, Thomas takes full reins, tackling vocals, guitars and drums on a feral mix of tunes collected as I'm Bleeding Now. A limited edition release of 500 vinyl copies with full-color, two-sided insert arrived in June from Smog Veil Records, and a digital copy is now available on iTunes. 

Thomas and former Zombie Proof Studio knob-turner Paul Maccarone handled production details on Bleeding, which was recorded during sessions in July and August 2010, over a total of seven days in the St. Clair Avenue loft space of Founding Fathers guitarist John Neely. Adam Smith did the final mix at Columbus Discount Recording. In a press release, Thomas is quoted as "After 15 years of recording with Bassholes and eight years with This Moment in Black History I decided I wanted to do a recording that was raw and blown out, done quickly for cheap. So we opened up the four-track tape machine with a lot of Scotch, whiskey and reefer around, for one of the funnest sessions I've ever had."

The resulting seven songs were certainly born of this freewheeling ethos, delivered as a cacophonous punk uprising. There's a surfeit of "no wave" noise elements akin to Teenage Jesus and the Jerks and DNA, though in the place of bands led by Lydia Lunch's caterwauling or Arto Lindsay's avant-garde guitar shriek is a (predominantly) lone Thomas. As a solo man, Thomas funks up the style with wild-eyed fervor, especially on "Cum Inside," which launches the record with uplifting soul harmonizing, quickly unfolds into a brash romp of plodding drums and swirling effects, intermittent squawking and Suicide-esque emoting and aesthetics. The pace and eccentricity doesn't let up for the duration of the album.

The recording is deliberately crude, dotted with Blaxploitation-worthy dialogue samples, and the unscripted nature of it captures the fun to be had in playing music with friends, of sweltering summer days in Cleveland, and the foggy memories they invite. It's visceral, gritty and affecting on "The Get It Inn," which kicks off with a slowed spoken track repeating, "If you want to make it with me, take off your clothes," before blasting into a pulsing, liberally distorted jangle with lyrics that lament I used to ride around in the summertime / with the top down / and my head held high / and a pretty girl's head on my thigh. Sifting through the blown-out, tortured track mire of "Totalled" unearths a sweet melody complete with "doo-doo-doo" vocals, while "Daughter" has a thrashy, surf rock-like urgency reminiscent of the low-fidelity subterfuge Jesus and Mary Chain used to disguise similarly bubbly diapasons. The sludgy mix and hardcore bravado of "Gin and Coke Water" is no match for lesser sound systems – and wasted on super hi-fi sets. "Whaddup Young Bleed (Drum Thunder Suite)" is an experiment in noise tolerance. Although it's not an instantly accessible work, repeated listens of Bleeding provide an ultimately rewarding exercise. It's Thomas' individual moment in Cleveland underground history.

Listen to exclusive tracks from the album on page two...

 

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