Former Obits outfit Hot Snakes were a hate-splattered, sneering, Wipers-homage, a flaming collision of blues and attitude and just a bit of romance. Before Hot Snakes, Drive Like Jehu were the feedback kings of San Diego–violent, long, anguished drones; winding, wound-up tracks to match. Both bands had two frontmen: John Reis, the surfer-boy good cop, on vacation from Rocket from the Crypt to provide melody and schtick; Rick Froberg, the illustrator and designer and architect of HS and DLJ’s sarcastic, biting public affect. When Hot Snakes split up, Reis and Froberg retreated to opposite coasts, like boxers warily headed back to their respective corners. New York got Froberg.
Obits, the band that came next for Froberg (Reis formed Night Marchers, and got his album out first), played their first show a little over a year ago, and since then have offered up all of two substandard live mp3s. Today Brooklyn Vegan posts “Pine On,” the first track to be released off the awesomely titled I Blame You, due next month on Sub Pop. Like Hot Snake’s “Light Up the Stars” gone sloppy and hateful, it’s every bit the drunk and drawling Chuck Berry deconstruction that’s been promised since the band’s earliest shows. “We’re not into innovation as a band,” says Froberg on whatever press release that accompanied the track, Wyatt Gwyon-style. “I think innovation is overrated and an overestimated quality.”