You could call Oxford Collapse’s latest release, Remember the Night Parties, a return to classic indie music. You could call it a big time sound from a small time band. You could indeed call it a party. Call it whatever you want – this group really doesn’t care what you think.
The Brooklyn based trio, comprised of guitarist/singer Mike Pace, bassist Adam Rizer and drummer Dan Fetherson, has made fierce independence one of their hallmarks. Case in point: their recent label switch from Kanine to Sub Pop. “Sub Pop got in touch with us,” said Pace in a recent interview. “We were in shock!” In response to the usual grumblings from indie purists, Pace replied, “Everyone’s entitled to their own opinions, but Sub Pop gets our records out – it was a good step for us. Period.”
Since their formation in 2001, Oxford Collapse has worked hard to create an original sound. Although other local bands favored more of a “primal hardcore” scene, Oxford Collapse admired early SST bands, like the Minutemen and H?sker D?. The SST label was known for producing and promoting indie-rock bands in the early 80s, and the band consequently embraced that independent spirit. Several bassist changes only served to clarify the band’s musical style. “It takes a while to find out what you like to do and what you’re good at,” commented Pace. The group boasts a “very democratic” songwriting process, a result of constantly perfecting their sound. “All our songs basically come out of jam sessions,” confessed Pace. “It’s very much a group effort.”
Remember the Night Parties, Oxford Collapse’s Sub Pop debut, is a quirky blend of punk and indie, combined with all the explosive energy of a high school garage band. The songs are youthful and varied: the first track, the mellow “He’ll Paint While We Play,” is reminiscent of Yo La Tengo, while “Lady Lawyers,” with its galloping beat and repetitive riffs, has an almost southwestern feel. The lyrics range from playful to outrageous. “Molasses” has Pace singing “Why can’t I pick the scabs off your legs/ they’ll drip like molasses down my face,” while “Lady Lawyers” has the group proclaiming, “We’re thrilled that we’re fresh out of school!” Pace, who called the album “totally awesome,” attributes part of the album’s success to its producer, John Agnello. “He is an experienced pro,” Pace said. “He managed to capture our sound without tampering.”
Oxford Collapse is on the move, having started on national tour in January. Check them out with Thunderbirds Are Now! and Olympia at the Rock and Roll Hotel on February 12th. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door, and the show starts at 8 pm.