Keeping up with Trans Am and Oneida ain't easy. - Oh My Rockness

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Keeping up with Trans Am and Oneida ain't easy.

February 14, 2007
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Two of our longtime favorites are playing a pair of shows together, on the same night, at Knitting Factory. These two bands go by the names of Trans Am and Oneida and you will like them if you don't like strict verse-chorus-verse bands. This show schedule works out perfectly for us because we can catch the Trans Am/Oneida early show and still have time to run over to Irving "Overhang" Plaza to catch the late show of Zach "Greatest Comedian of Our Time" Galifianakis. I'm sure you are very happy for us.

Trans Am is last to play during the early show, and Oneida is the last to play for the late show. So which band do we start our riveting editorial with?! Let's just spin this half-empty bottle of Mississippi Mud and wait for it to stop on... Trans Am!

I love Trans "Fiero" Am, but doesn't it seem like this band has been around forever? OK, so they've really only been around since 1996 (actually, I guess that was a while ago... shit, I better get on all my hopes and dreams), but it sure seems longer. Trans Am dramatically debuted during the hey-day of the Thrill Jockey/Tortoise/Chicago post-rock movement (a genre that seems like three or four lifetimes ago in musical years) and have reinvented their sound countless times since then (Cher... Madonna... NKOTB... they have nothing on these guys). Every single album Trans Am has ever released sounds completely different from the last (math-rock to prog to noise to pop etc), so it's almost like you get to love a whole new band every 1.5 years.

Having now released eight albums in that eleven-year span, I don't doubt this D.C. trio is anywhere close to being done. Consider them the Cal Ripken of indie rock; they just keep producing and producing. If they were once post-rock in their infancy, they are something much different in their adolescence. They're post-post-post-post rock. Trans Am are a highly creative collective that have gone in hundreds of different directions on their musical journey. Where will they go next?

Oneida is the perfect band to be playing with Trans Am, as they know a thing or three about sound reinvention. The fearsome Brooklyn threesome creates "O"riginal sounds via the compositional talents of Fat Bobby, Kid Millions, and Baby Jane. They are simply one of the strongest bands of an unclassifiable genre. If that doesn't make much sense, well, oftentimes neither does Oneida. They aren't on the up-and-up with you. They're herky and they're jerky. They'll synth you up only to kraut-rock you down. They're art-rock like Liars but with the sonic boom of Can.

You have to put in the time and energy to even attempt to figure out what they are all about. But often trying to solve their musical puzzle will only lead to more questions. Treading the fine line of experimentally interesting and just plain frustrating, the riddle that is Oneida won't be solved anytime soon. And that's exactly what you want.

By the way, did we mention how funny Zach Galifianakis is? Love that guy.

Trans Am and Oneida play two shows at Knitting Factory, Saturday, February 27th.

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