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Brooklyn's genre-defying Oneida take their primary cues from '60s garage and punk bands (especially MC5), but throw in plenty of heavy, bluesy '70s stoner rock (think Blue Cheer, Foghat, etc.) plus dashes of jerky synth pop, avant-garde jazz, and Krautrock. The group made a name for itself in the New York area by virtue of its raucous live performances, which were frequently conducted in lofts and warehouses. Mixing distorted organ freakouts with meaty guitar riffs, the band got progressively tighter and more energetic following their 1997 debut, and released highly creative material at a rapid pace during the 2000s, with highlights including 2002's Each One Teach One and 2005's The Wedding. Following the ambitious 2009 triple-album Rated O, the band's members focused on more experimental side projects, and Oneida releases such as 2011's Absolute II and the 2016 Rhys Chatham collaboration What's Your Sign? owed more to drone, noise, and post-minimalism than rock music. They returned to song-driven music with 2018's Romance and the more garage punk-sounding Success (2022). Oneida originally featured guitarist/vocalist Papa Crazy (aka PCRZ), keyboardist Bobby Matador (aka Fat Bobby), drummer Kid Millions (John Colpitts), and bassist/guitarist Hanoi Jane (aka Baby Jane). The band's 1997 debut, A Place Called El Shaddai's, was released by Turnbuckle, but after the release of 1999's Enemy Hogs, they moved to Jagjaguwar (which subsequently re-released the album). They were especially prolific in 2000, releasing both the Steel Rod EP and the full-length Come on Everybody Let's Rock. They continued to release albums at a relatively swift pace, issuing Anthem of the Moon in 2001 (the last record to feature Papa Crazy, who split from the band in late 2001) and Each One Teach One a year later. Atheists, Reconsider, a split EP with the equally formidable Liars, also came out that year on the Arena Rock Recording Company imprint. Oneida released their sixth album, Secret Wars, in 2004, and also wrote and recorded the score for Speedo, a documentary about Long Island and New Jersey's demolition derby circuit, that year. Unfortunately, the music was for the most part left out of the finished film. Oneida released the Nice./Splittin' Peaches EP for Ace Fu in late 2004, followed in early 2005 by the ambitious, string-tinged The Wedding and 2006's death and rebirth-themed Happy New Year. In 2008, Oneida announced their next endeavor, Thank Your Parents, a musical triptych challenging the band to further experiment with rhythm, harmony, and tonality. The first installment, Preteen Weaponry, came that August, followed in 2009 by the triple album Rated O, with Absolute II closing out the project in June 2011. They returned later the same year with a split album with Mugstar called Collisions 02 before releasing the full-length A List of the Burning Mountains in 2012. After what was, for them, an unusually long break between records, and still sporting a core lineup of Bobby Matador, Hanoi Jane, Kid Millions, and longtime collaborators Shahin Motia and Barry London, What's Your Sign appeared in 2016 via Northern Spy. It was written, engineered, and performed in collaboration with post-minimalist composer Rhys Chatham. The double-LP Live at Secret Project Robot was released by Safety Meeting Records in 2017. Joyful Noise, which had previously issued several limited-edition singles by Oneida, released their studio full-length Romance in 2018. Holiday single "In the Court of the Christmas King" appeared in 2021. Success, the band's most direct rock record in decades, was released in 2022.
© Steve Huey & Paul Simpson /TiVo
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