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Five Albums That Changed My Life: Oxbow’s Eugene Robinson

Hydra Head

Oxbow is a challenging post-punk outfit formed in the late ’80s around vocalist Eugene Robinson. Throughout the band’s critically-acclaimed career, they’ve blended traces of hardcore, free jazz and noise rock into their daring songwriting style. ‘King of the Jews,’ the second album released by the avant-garde noise heroes way back in 1991, is being reissued by the fine folks at Hydra Head Records. To celebrate the release, Robinson gave Noisecreep a list of the five albums that changed his life.

‘Psychedelic Shack’
The Temptations (1970)

“This could very well be the first record I ever bought. My great-grandmother took me to this record store in New Rochelle where she lived, and I took all of my birthday money and got my hands it. Here was an extremely heavy record recorded by a band wracked by everything from depression, alcoholism, suicide, and wild flights of megalomania — yet it still stands as one of the most revolutionary albums in my collection.”

Key Track: ‘Psychedelic Shack’

The Temptations

‘Teenage Depression’
Eddie and the Hot Rods (1976)

“My stepfather, who was a reporter at the New York Post at the time, gave me, a quasi-suicidal teen, a promotional copy of this record with a suicidal teen on the cover because he thought I would like it. And I did. This, combined with Post headlines about Sid Vicious’ excess, made me make the rapid transition from way-too-smooth R&B to a style of music that more readily addressed my increasingly dangerous inner life. A gateway drug to be sure.”

Key Track: ‘Get Across to You’

Eddie and the Hot Rods

‘Butcher Baby’
The Plasmatics (1978)

Jello Biafra once told me that he didn’t like the Plasmatics because they used KKK logos on their labels. The latter day Plasmatics were an embarrassment; they were too circus-y to ever be taken seriously — whatever. This record and their early shows were the real deal. When was the last time you saw even the most bad-ass rap band actually fire guns on stage? Not blanks, real live fire. Everything else was bulls— by comparison.”

Key Track: ‘Butcher Baby’

The Plasmatics

‘Bad Brains’
Bad Brains (1982)

“This, combined with their shows at CBGB’s that same year during Christmas, was some of the most mind-roasting s— ever. Nowadays it’s hard to explain — given their various constant and continual missteps — how really totally significant these guys were and are. One of the worst shows of my life was when my old band Whipping Boy played with them, because I was so deeply rattled by the prospect of being on the same stage with them.”

Key Track: ‘Banned in DC’

Bad Brains

Adolescents (1981)

“Moving from New York in 1980 to California, the Adolescents came to quickly symbolize, for me, the golden mystery of that state. Not the beaches and boardwalks, but acid fry, in-pit knifings, absent parents and killer cops. I listened to this record again and again and again and again and even learned how to play bass playing along to it. I can’t play bass anymore but I can quote the entire record from memory.”

Key Track: ‘Amoeba’


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