Oblivian - Popular Favorites LP
"Listen all you ladies/And you little girls too/Got a brand new dance/Put your arms in the air/Move your shoulders...let 'em shake/Do the milkshake." So go the lyrics to "Do the Milkshake," one of the 16 oh-so-charming numbers dished out by the Oblivians on their 1996 Crypt release, Popular Favorites.
The trio's musical-chairs approach to instrumentation makes it nearly impossible to keep track of who has the mic at any given moment, but despite the juggling act, the record maintains a cohesive sense throughout. Marked by abrasive guitars that call to mind everyone from the Gibson Bros. and Junior Kimbrough to the New Bomb Turks or Lazy Cowgirls, the Oblivians' dirty rock calls to mind images of panicked parents in the 1960s trying to shield their children from the evil powers of rock & roll. Well, everyone knows who won that battle. Mixed among the riotous guitar treble and gruff vocals are songs with universal themes like "Guitar Shop Asshole" and "You Fucked Me Up, You Put Me Down." Though the back cover boasts that "There never was a sound like this before," spinning discs by acts like the Mummies, 68 Comeback, Iggy & the Stooges, or Them Wranch will prove otherwise, but who's complaining? If you dig through the record collection of any self-respecting rock & roller (or the list of bands who influenced acts like the White Stripes or the Strokes), odds are there'll be at least one Oblivians opus (or Oblivians spin-offs, like Jack Oblivian's Compulsive Gamblers or Greg Oblivian's Reigning Sound). In a move typical of the hipsters over at Crypt, the album cover art is half the fun. An overlooked classic, the cover of Popular Favorites is a photo of concertgoers wherein a guy and gal in matching Black Sabbath t-shirts are standing next to a mulleted young man proudly displaying a homemade t-shirt that reads "Kill a Punk for Rock & Roll."