Thursday, December 29, 2011

OBN IIIs Get Restocked For Shock

As Beerland regulars in Austin, the OBN IIIs have developed a bit of a formula. When people aren't paying enough attention, you play a little harder and sing a little louder. 

Houston-born Orville Neeley, who also fronts the 5-year-old Denton-born power pop-punk fusion trio Bad Sports, does exactly that any time he takes the stage with the OBN IIIs. After pumping out singles, a second 7-inch EP, and a full-length album this year, it's hard not to notice. In fact, Tic Tac Totally just recently restocked the all the rawness after selling out the first batch.

Neeley, by the way, isn't only in two bands. He also plays drums in James Arthur's Manhunt and A Giant Dog. Sometimes he performs with John Wesley Coleman III.  He has produced several records for others, books and runs sound at Beerland, and has a passion for making shorts. You get the picture. No one knows what's next. He can't help but to stay busy and make friends along the way.

In fact, that is exactly what OBN IIIs really is: a collection of friends who play in other bands. Graham Low (bass) and Andrew Cashen (guitar) are members of A Giant Dog, and Matt Hammer (drums) was a founding member of the Strange Boys. And Jason Smith rounds everything out to make five. The whole idea was to fill the empty slots at Beerland. And then they overshot.

The One And Only is cleaner than the EP. And that means it's dirty, not filthy. 

We don't have an official top ten list around here, but The One And Only would make this year's cut if there was one. The EP would make it on its own merit too. It was recorded on a 4-track cassette recorder in a garage and still beats out plenty of studio albums.

Originally, Neeley said he wanted to record everything live. But then he found out recording their live shows sounded like shit. So he settled for mostly live and that's good enough, as long as they have fun.

And he does have fun in a very intense way. At least that is the way it seemed at the last SxSW, where he was selling CDs streetside with all the heart and fire he takes to the stage. Something like this...

The opening track of The One And Only, The S**t Fits, is the best introduction to the OBN IIIs anyone could  ever hope to hear. It captures the essence of the one band that is truly his band, with Neeley breaking from his lyrics to bark out when he wants band members to join in again.

There isn't a better a play for wanton abandon and reckless proto-punk out there. It's hard to believe these guys almost never (maybe never) play out of state. They barely break away from Austin.

A quick hit list of the tracks to grab off everything.

The whole album is well worth the download, but if you want highlight tracks on the must have list, pick up No Enemies, Can't Wait Till You Shut Up, Get Off Yer Knees, Communicated To Death, Don't Feel Fine, and Kick Me Out. Off the 7-inch self-titled CD, grab Runnin On Fumes, Do My Thing, Mad, and License Plate. Yes, all four them. And you also need Heavy Heart from their single.

All of it is turbulent. Every track hits hard with howls, dissonant guitar wails, and ballistic drum sets that don't waste a stitch of the short-ordered song sizes, with most played out in under three minutes. 

The One And Only By The OBN IIIs Crunches 9.2 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale. 

As the last music review of the year (but not the last review), the only band we hadn't reviewed yet that was lively enough to fill the spot was the OBNs IIIs. They are everything anyone can want in an unabashed bruiser of a punk band, without any political statements but with plenty of sweaty attitude. 

Even though a few songs feel rushed in production despite some cleanliness (by comparison), it's the perfect download to rock in the New Year. Play it loud. Play it in heavy rotation. Play it again.  

On iTunes, download The One And Only, the Self-Titled EP, and Mark On You/Heavy Heart single. The The One And Only is on Amazon, which list the EP as Do My Thing. Follow them on Facebook too. 
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