Oneida long ago established itself as Brooklyn bedrock, effortlessly shaping supernatural, organ-soaked psych-drone throughout its 15-year voyage. Kid Millions, Bobby Matador and Hanoi Jane—pseudonyms still gloriously intact—helped to spawn the DIY underground scene in the early 2000’s pre-condofied Williamsburg. Playing ratholes alongside Black Dice, Liars and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, they morphed from classic-rock-damaged slopsters into dauntless experimentalists, epically frying minds at their former studio, the Ocropolis.
And then there are the Oneida side projects. Departed founder Papa Crazee, who formed country-twang outfit Oakley Hall, still plays with Millions in avant-blues supergroup Soldiers of Fortune. Millions, an in-demand sticks visionary, recently backed Spiritualized and Marnie Stern, and leads the percussive army Man Forever. Now, following a recent Oneida jaunt with guitar hero Rhys Chatham, Millions and Matador have revived their longtime minimalist vehicle, People of the North, for Sub Contra, its third record of interstellar overdrive and sonic abstraction.
Their duo named for a tune on Oneida’s Anthem of the Moon and Each One Teach One, Millions and Matador—with regular collaborators Shahin Motia and Barry London—converge in space-jazz free-thinkers that extend a line of inquiry first pursued on Oneida’s throbbing 2012 drone trek, A List of the Burning Mountains. It’s always a wonder to hear Millions captain his gloriously mangled drum-circle beats; Matador serves as the group’s guiding light with his druggy, outer-space key clusters and swooshing, synth-fueled cascades. The five righteous monoliths on Sub Contra are lessons in psychedelic improvisation from a pair of dependable explorers.—Brad Cohan