Oxbow announce first new album in 10 years, Thin Black Duke, single-handedly shift US politics one inch to the right

Oxbow announce first new album in 10 years, Thin Black Duke, single-handedly shift US politics one inch to the right
There's a skinny darkness coming...

No offense to classic American pop songwriting team Hal David/Burt Bacharach, but — given today’s tense and uneasy sociopolitical climate — what the world needs now ISN’T “love, sweet love.” It’s fucking Oxbow.

Thankfully, the long-running, experimental (and often somewhat confrontational) Bay area hardcore group are happy to oblige (“happy” being a relative term).

On May 5, Oxbow will release their first album in 10 years (and seventh overall), Thin Black Duke, on Hydra Head. Co-produced with Joe Chiccarelli (Beck, Frank Zappa, Morrissey), it’s the band’s first official, brand-new collection since 2007’s The Narcotic Story, and I’ve been personally assured that it takes their “elusive brand of harmonic unrest” and injects a touch of the “ornate and ostentatious palate of baroque pop” into it, thereby “pushing their polarized dynamics into a scope that spans between sublime and completely unnerving.” Hmm. Tension vs. relaxation? Harmony vs. dissonance? Beauty vs. intellectual abstraction? Yup. Sounds like that’s exactly what the world needs now.

“I remember hashing through the elements of some of these songs, aware of the urges which inevitably come up to make the stuff sound like things you’ve done before, or things you like now, or things you have always loved,” bassist Dan Adams says of Thin Black Duke’s writing process. “[Guitarist and composer] Niko [Wenner] steadfastly pushed, repeatedly saying things like ‘you just need to give in to what feels good.’ Greg [Davis, drummer] had a mantra: ‘look, whatever we do, it will be an Oxbow record of Oxbow music, meaning a lot of people probably won’t like it, and that’s perfectly fine.’”

Uh… well, there are no bubblegum singles (or even pre-order info) out there just yet to help you decide whether or not you’re one of those people who “probably won’t like it,” but there is this cryptic little album trailer below. So I guess you’ll just have to check that out, read through the tracklist, and try to decide for yourself based on that scant evidence whether Oxbow has incited you to rapture or vitriol. I’m guessing that the band will be cool with it either way, just so long as the word “incited” is involved.

Thin Black Duke tracklisting:

01. Cold & Well Lit Place
02. Ecce Homo
03. A Gentleman’s Gentleman
04. Letter Of Note
05. Host
06. The Upper
07. Other People
08. The Finished Line

Most Read