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Delivering taut, straightforward rock & roll with sharply interwoven guitar lines, muscular rhythms, and a melodic sense that splits the difference between indie rock and garage-influenced punk, Brooklyn, New York's the Obits are a band with an impressive pedigree -- guitarist and vocalist Rick Froberg was previously a member of Drive Like Jehu and Hot Snakes, while fellow guitarist and singer Sohrab Habibion is a veteran of Washington, D.C. indie rockers Edsel. After the breakup of Hot Snakes in 2005, Froberg moved from California to Brooklyn, and in 2006 he began writing new material and rehearsing with Habibion and drummer Scott Gursky (also a member of Shortstack). While the trio was initially considering adding a third guitar player, the arrival of bassist Greg Simpson gave the band the power and solid bottom end it needed, and the group's lineup was complete. In early 2008, the Obits made their public debut at the Cake Shop, a club on New York's Lower East Side; the show was packed with fans eager to hear Froberg and Habibion's latest project, and one of them managed to record the set, posting a lo-fi bootleg of the show on the Internet. The Obits stole back two songs from the live tape and made them available on their MySpace page, and soon the band was gaining serious buzz from indie rock fans who heard either part or all of the debut concert. Chris Jacobs, an A&R man at Sub Pop Records and a big fan of Froberg's previous work, was impressed enough with the live bootleg that the Obits were invited to play Sub Pop's 20th anniversary festival in Seattle in the summer of 2008, and it wasn't long before the Obits signed a deal with the label. To satisfy their growing fan following, the Obits released a single, "One Cross Apiece" b/w "Put It in Writing," on their own Stint Records label in late 2008, and their first full-length effort, I Blame You, was released by Sub Pop in March 2009. The band's follow-up, 2011's Moody, Standard and Poor, was just as fiery as its debut. The quartet returned in 2013 with third album Bed & Bugs, an album that experimented with a plethora of sounds and styles.
© Mark Deming /TiVo
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