Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song comes from Memphis garage band Oblivians. “Run For Cover” is from their first record in 16 years, Desperation, out now on In The Red.
The garage rock scene of the modern age owes a lot to Oblivians. The Memphis threesome made their short heyday in the mid 90s count with three records that rocked and rolled and ripped every second of their play time. The combination of lo fi production, punk foundations, and excitable, fun, and raucous tendencies made Oblivians a unique and lovable nihilistic experience – a show where you could punch your best friend in the face and then laugh about it with him later. In the last few years, garage rock has steadily been coming more and more back into vogue and after 16 years, we see these masters of the art putting down their solo ordeals, getting the band back together, and throwing down for one more full length. Desperation is an older Oblivians, but it still packs a hell of a punch, and the band holds their own against the younger generation onstage today that they’ve helped to guide and influence.
“Run For Cover” is a classic Oblivians track and serves as one of the Desperation highlights. This scorcher is only about 2 minutes long, but it doesn’t waste a second. From the organ drum track from hell that opens it to the crash and bang of the ending, this is Oblivians territory alone. Greg sounds like all he’s eaten for the 16 years since Play 9 Songs is gravel. His aggravated wheezing mumble doesn’t add much of a melody to the mix – rather, just a pissed off muse to guide the way as blistering guitars and pounding drums tumble forward. His and Jack’s guitars sound quintessential Oblivians. Halfway through, they team up to rip out a murderous solo that only sticks around long enough for your jaw to drop before the track wraps up. “Run For Cover” is skin and bones, but it’s a call to action you won’t ignore. It’s a treat for any and all garage fans.
The Oblivians’ comeback Desperation is out now on In The Red. Oblivians make their way to Seattle on July 12 at Neumos. Tickets are available here. You want to be there. You also want to keep up with the band on their Facebook page. If you want to catch a bit of their current live show, here they are at Seaport Music Festival earlier this month: