(hi-res version of the above)

OBNOX– ‘Corrupt Free Enterprise’ 2XLP  (12XU 054-1),  June 18, 2013

Bim Thomas is a lucky bastard. Upon settling in Columbus-by-God-Ohio in the early ‘90s, he found himself neck-deep in a killer music scene, and soon ended up as the Ringo for the legendary blues-punk power duo The Bassholes (ask the Black Keys who their influences were and that name will spring up, that’s a promise). Drifting northward to Cleveland as the sun rose on the 21st Century, Thomas landed in the drum throne for spastic post-punk upstarts This Moment in Black History, who even after ten years and a membership diaspora STILL rule the CLEpunk roost, while simultaneously keeping the pulse for other revered CLE outfits like The Deathers and Puffy Areolas.

But now, with midlife on the horizon, when most ragers at least start to slow down if not skid to a halt, Thomas is revealing previously unseen musical gifts that far transcend the metronome. With his band Obnox, of which he is the sole member (with heavy friends when he’s feeling like some company), Thomas has shown himself to be a songwriter of astonishing depth, injecting punk with the soul and balladry it too often lacks. Having become a stay-at-home dad, Thomas began messing around with a guitar, teaching himself how to play and write songs, and damn, he really TOOK to it. His 2011 debut, ‘I’m Bleeding Now’, was one of that year’s finest albums, and sold out so quickly a reissue was necessary only a year later. His new release, the double-LP ‘Corrupt Free Enterprise’ (12XU-052), is his 8th in only three years, and his strongest by miles. Featuring 17 scuzz-fi splatter gospel anthems – 12 originals and 5 covers, including Tom Waits’ theme from “The Wire” – that run the gamut from nasty punk flameouts to ardent slow-burners, CFE spans four sides, each of which plays as an E.P. in its own right. Thomas has never shied away from bold statements, but CFE is his boldest and most ambitious yet.
Ron Kretsch

(“Deep In The Dusk (Redux)” previously appeared on the May 2013 double 7″, ‘Canabible, Ohio EP”, available from Black Gladiator)

OBNOX – ‘I’m Bleeding Now’
‘ LP (12XU 039-1)   AUGUST 28, 2012
Reissue of the 2011 full-length solo debut from Clevelander Lamont “Bim” Thomas, whose prior appearances in combos including but not limited to This Moment In Black History, Puffy Areolas, Bassholes and Unholy Two have fashioned an impressive curriculum vitae in American rock/noise/whatever. Originally issued by Smog Veil, ‘I’m Bleeding Now’ is an important link in an ongoing onslaught of Obnox titles from the likes of Negative Guest List, 12XU, Permanent and Anyway that are blowing minds throughout the globe.

“Pressed to just 500 vinyl copies, Smog Veil may be underestimating this record’s appeal. Or perhaps I’m just overestimating the number of people who enjoy getting their lids blasted off by gloriously sculpted white noise. But make no mistake, there’s melody and song structure at work here too, only such qualities are in a constant tug-of-war with Bim’s predilection toward cacophony. The record fades in on “Cum Inside” with a backwards incantation that’s then shot through with holes of sonic explosions. The title track is a furious mix of Stooges grooves and swirling turbulence that ensconce his proclamations of “I never liked you anyway” and Iggy-ed whooping. Throughout the album, snippets of warped muttering create a distinct feeling of unease, but the Bleeding is never arty in its presentation. Rather, Bim goes for the throat at every opportunity. For example, “The Get It Inn” might have been a feel-good summertime ditty were Thomas not shredding it apart from the inside out. Indeed, one can hear everything from Bowie to Albini at work here, only completely digested and regurgitated in chunks.” – Stephen Slaybaugh, Agit Reader

“this incredibly soulful and criminally overlooked release stands on the middle ground between the hyperactive garage punk of Jay Reatard and the blown-out Ohio pop of Guided by Voices. Also of note: It’s got my favorite album artwork of the year.” – Luca Cimarusti, Chicago Reader

“Brilliantly brutal. Smog Veil somehow beat In The Red to the punch on this one and I feel punched in the head every time I listen to it” – Lance Barresi, Filter