Obits with Bear Hands

March 24 • Southgate House

Obits are a band without a plan. Even though their debut full-length, I Blame You, will be released via Sub Pop Records on the same date that they’ll headlining in Newport, this Brooklyn quartet has yet to outline any long-term ambitions for the group. This sense of irresolution is to be expected from a group led by Rick Froberg, the frenetic guitarist/vocalist that previously served in Garage Punk firestarters Rocket from the Crypt and the rabid Post-Punk Hot Snakes, two bands now defunct yet still deeply revered.

By Froberg’s own admission, Obits’ initial jam sessions were less actual practices and more “fucking around.” As the group coalesced in 2005 as the Snakes broke up, “it took us a while to figure out what we wanted to do and who the group of us even was,” Froberg says.

Their current material is a jagged mix of shuffling melodies and creaking guitars, its curious nature amplified by Froberg’s untamed calls, which are hard to decipher.

“(My lyrics) are meant to be heard more than they are read,” he notes. “You have to choose lyrics for a sound and words you can actually sing. Since my voice is pretty limited, I only sing in a certain pitch.”

If Froberg is sure of anything, it’s what he doesn’t want Obits to be.

“We are not looking to become really slick and pro-sounding,” he says. “We’re still learning how to play music correctly.”

This outfit is not about its members “regurgitating what we’ve been doing for the last 20 years.” No rigid comparisons, either:

“We don’t want to sound like Guns ’N Roses meets Return to Forever,” he says. Instead, he wants to pick each element at a time, like “a guitar sound — something you could steal.”

(Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here.)

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