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Baker's Dozen

No Borders, No Boundaries: Eugene Robinson On His Favourite Albums
John Doran , January 14th, 2019 07:40

The Oxbow frontman, MMA prize fighter and occasional guest writer for tQ, presents a stunning 13 LPs for your perusal, ranging from baritone vocal jazz and noise rock to ecstatic easy listening. John Doran takes notes


Buñuel - The Easy Way Out

It’s weird, some of my favourite relationships have started where on the first blush I was going to beat the person to death. Pierpaolo Capovilla was in a band called One Dimensional Man who played with Oxbow years ago and the drummer of that band had a super high-pitched voice and I could hear him talking all the way through our set. Then I didn’t see them again for years until we played with them in Milan and this time Pierpaolo talked all the way through our set! I was like, ‘Man, I am going to beat this guy to death!’ But he came up to me after the show and was like, ‘I’d like you to sing a song for One Dimensional Man.’ And it was such a cool experience that we decided to replicate it. They had a specific type of sound they were trying to achieve and they weren’t getting the vocals how they wanted them. What they wanted was kind of like Shellac but generally speaking Shellac interpreters create the same problem as podcasts do, it’s that the tonality is wrong. Albini’s snarky, whip smart abrasiveness works really well if you’re the frontman of Shellac or Big Black but if you know Albini, that’s what he’s like all the time - it’s not an act, that’s who he is. But when you hear Big Black interpreters, they try and do the same snarky style and it just doesn’t work. So Buñuel’s music sounded like that to me but I took it on as an artistic challenge because I’m not Albini-esque in any way, shape or form. So what I delivered to Buñuel was an Oxbowian vocal take which was 100% committed and direct with not a lot of guile or craft, and it was set to Shellac-style music. And when I hear it I go, ‘Oh man, that’s what all of those bands who were imitating Big Black would have sounded like if their vocalist had tried just a little bit harder. [LAUGHS] I love Big Black. I love Shellac. But I don’t need ten of ‘em!