Oneida: Armed and ready | Music Feature | Indy Week

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Oneida: Armed and ready



Some call it krautrock. Others think of it as a natural evolution of jazz, replacing calculated empty space with a rolling sine wave's drone, downshifting improvisation into more minimal musical fluctuations. For more than a decade, Brooklyn's Oneida has called it something like a lifestyle, exposing the darkened corners of sound that usually go glossed over, drawing them out with focused repetition. The point has never been the hook. Rather, it's the feeling: That the instruments' hearts beat as one, that they fuse into something more than any one individual part could ever be.

Never have these attributes been more audible than on the band's latest, Preteen Weaponry, the first LP in a three-part series dubbed "Thank Your Parents." The album contains three movements, each a 10-minute track that flows into the next like a river. Though no stranger to long-form songcraft (2002's Each One Teach One is frontloaded with two ditties of similar length), it's like a mission statement on Preteen Weaponry. The sound doesn't rest until the needle spins off the wax 40 minutes later. Via fuzzy distortion that swallows rather than batters, Oneida creates a dizzy, mystifying world: Kid Millions' rhythms sound like a live animal moving on instinct, creating its own path born out of necessity rather than learning. Bassist Hanoi Jane and guitarist/ organist/ vocalist Fat Bobby establish a certain melodic synergy that tides as slowly rising dynamics. They pinch nerves and quicken the pulse.

On its first stateside tour in two years, Oneida will play Preteen Weaponry in its entirety, sacrificing pauses of applause for what's sure to be an encapsulating experience. As Fat Bobby explains while he cooks at home four days before leaving for the road, "One of the cool things about that album is that there are nooks and crannies to explore. We've played it and it's been 40 minutes. We've played it and it's been 25 minutes.

"We don't like to plan it out too much in advance. You know, honestly, to be out on the road and playing it for weeks, God only knows by the time we roll into Carolina what state that piece will be in. It may have really changed and transformed. It's one of the exciting things about our band, that recordings of stuff like that are just snapshots, or springboards for us. You know, things can mutate."

Oneida plays Local 506 Friday, Aug. 22, with Dirty Faces and Bolmangani. The 9 p.m. show costs $8.

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