Another Exhilarating Headphone Trip with Oneida


Oneida have never really struck a chord with those who prefer easy listening. For just over a decade, the Brooklyn power trio has consistently ridden in the name of new aural understanding, sating the fussy appetites of both critics and citizens of Weird City, but rarely high-beaming their psychedelic, Krauterific brain light in ways more readably devoured by the kids. Just as challenging (as only they would have it), Preteen Weaponry will only confound those who like their indie rock served straight up and medium-well; the three-song, 30-minute, almost entirely instrumental outing expands on the band’s clear love for welding together guitar-driven acid wanderings and controlled percussive chaos. The jams have grown meatier as the band’s scope, and ambition, have widened: Weaponry is the first installment in a long-planned three-disc odyssey called Thank Your Parents.

Because this is the trilogy’s first-born, it’s afforded the short-lived luxury (Rated O is due in February) of standing alone, outside the framework of what might be an envelope-torching, listening- instructions-included experiment akin to the disaster that was the Flaming Lips’ Zaireeka (no one owns four stereos). But for now, Weaponry is essential: a particularly overwhelming headphones album not unlike some of Boredoms’ more hypnotic work. Like that band, Oneida seem to have expertly tapped into a well full of sludgy mantras and mighty drumming, with all three tracks here inextricably wed to one another in pulse. But beyond just sound, they’ve begun toying with bigger ideas on recorded music as journey, as experience. Completely improvised and recorded separately—as well as in a “different state of mind”—from its forthcoming brothers and sisters, Weaponry flirts with the band’s familiar studio atmospherics (Death Star hum, prehistoric wailing, synth onslaughts), but also captures the raw, rhythmic canyon-making and riff taxidermy that informs the live shows Oneida fans swear by. Releasing that perfunctory live album would’ve been way too easy.