Volume 95, Issue 12

Thursday, September 20, 2001
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Nothing this Wright could possibly be Wrong

NY rockers whip up "tragipsych"

This John is not filled with crap

Disc of the Week

No Superheroes here

NY rockers whip up "tragipsych"

By Megan O'Toole
Gazette Writer

"If you really love a rock party, you might like Oneida," insists Crazee, guitarist for the psychedelic quartet who already boast a devoted following.

Named after the 19th century town in Upstate New York, Oneida later discovered the irony of their moniker. In native American tongue, Oneida means "people of the rock." If that's not fitting for this group of crazy Brooklynites, then you haven't seen them hit the stage.

Their recently released album, Anthem of the Moon, is testament to this reality. Recording it along New England's coast, Oneida sought out the nightmarish landscapes and haunting sounds as a means of awakening their own anxieties.

"We knew to do that, we would have to get ourselves in the world and acquaint ourselves with ancient wave-forms," Crazee explains. "The ruins in New England offered us that opportunity."

Anthem of the Moon is Oneida's take on the dark side of psychedelia, which they have coined as "tragipsych."

Unlike many, Oneida don't shy away from labels like these, though the public has often misinterpreted the essence of psychedelic rock, lumping it together with acid trips, whacked-out hallucinations and lengthy whining riffs.

Instead, Crazee insists psychedelic is comparable to a musical "chemical meltdown:" intense, hard and, above all, real.

Living in New York has a major influence on Oneida's style. The geography and geometry of the buildings along with the intricate spatial relations often induces a sense of claustrophobia among band members.

These feelings often spill out in Oneida's screaming chords and heavy riffs.

While certainly affected by life in New York, Oneida doesn't consider themselves to be one of the region's definitive bands. According to Crazee, "[Oneida] have never made a conscious attempt to be a 'New York sounding' band." Nonetheless, they are self-proclaimed enthusiasts of other local talent, such as Sightings and Mannequin.

Participation in festivals such as the New York-based College Music Journal Music Festival has helped broaden Oneida's exposure. "The audiences [at CMJ] tend to be pretty cold because they're seeing a billion bands, and I think they're kind of forgetting about music at a certain point," Crazee declares, adding the atmosphere is further hindered by the critics who don't dance.

Gazette File Photo
"YOU WON'T SEE A SHOW LIKE THIS ALL YEAR." Oneida guitarist Crazee makes a bold prediction for tonight's show at Call the Office.

Undoubtedly some of the most exciting and stimulating live shows are ones Oneida performed in more "alternative" places. Crazee becomes truly excited when describing a small club with ambient lighting, graffiti and a capacity of 300 people. "There's just more energy [in a place like that]," Crazee contends.

Oneida's future plans include finishing their current tour, which will be slamming through the United States and Canada for the next month. Their next album, Each One Teach One can be expected sometime in 2002.

Oneida will be rockin' out live at Call the Office, along with The Black Halos and The Constantines. The band promises some insane pyrotechnics and Crazee's personal stamp of approval, the highest form of praise: "You won't see a show like this all year."

Oneida open for The Black Halos Friday at Call the Office. Tickets are $7 in advance and $8 at the door.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001