new music review: I Blame You

“Xtra Compressed for
Maximum Listener Fatigue”

I Blame You
CD review by Mookie

Why did Rick Froberg leave San Diego for Brooklyn? It couldn’t have been the weather. Froberg has been a veteran of the San Diego music scene and a fixture here for quite some time, playing in bands like Pitchfork, Drive Like Jehu and Hotsnakes. Now he’s teamed up with three other musicians from various indie bands to create Obits. Why would Froberg call this latest project Obits? I’m not too sure of that either. I hate reading the obituaries in the paper, but like a nasty car wreck, sometimes you can’t help but take notice.

No longer with San Diego based Swami Records, Froberg said he took his time with the creation of this debut album, I Blame You. Back in 2008 before the record was finalized, bootleg copies of a New York performance hit the internet and music fans started talking. There was a buzz. Shortly after that, the Sub Pop label signed them and even though they were new to the label, Obits were invited to perform at the Sub Pop 20th anniversary show in Seattle that year.

This is garage rock. Think if the Beach Boys, Buzzcocks and Dick Dale had an illegitimate bastard child with Hotsnakes. Does that make any sense at all? Anyone? The first track is called, “Widow Of My Dreams” and right off the bat you’ll hear infectious guitar riffs and the unmistakable high pitched scream of Froberg. His vocal range may be limited, but it certainly works for him. The title track on I Blame You is just over a minute long with no vocals at all, but Froberg quickly reels you back in with his screeching style of singing on “Talking To The Dog” and “Light Sweet Crude”. Obits even channel their inner political activist in the song “Two Headed Coin” where they seem to bring attention to the flawed monetary system that we are ALL slaves to.

On the front cover of I Blame You there is a graphic that reads, “Xtra Compressed for Maximum Listener Fatigue”, but I’m definitely not tired of hearing Rick Froberg’s musical projects just yet. Already working on a follow up to the debut, Obits say they could have a new EP to release sometime this winter. Obits are Rick Froberg, Greg Simpson, Sohrab Habibion and Scott Gursky. I Blame You was recorded across the country in Brooklyn, but the sound is very much San Diego.

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