Oxbow (band)

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The band on stage in 2004
Background information
Origin San Francisco, California
Genres Noise rock, experimental rock, avant-garde
Years active 1989–present
Labels Hydra Head
Associated acts Whipping Boy
Website www.theoxbow.com
Members Dan Adams
Greg Davis
Eugene Robinson
Niko Wenner
Past members Tom Dobrov

Oxbow is an experimental rock band from San Francisco, California. Founded in 1989, Oxbow plays a blend of noise rock, avant-garde jazz, Contemporary classical music, and blues. The band has released six studio albums.


Oxbow began as a recording project. In 1988 bandmates Eugene Robinson (vocals, lyrics) and Niko Wenner (guitar, bass, keyboards, music) wrote songs with an approach decidedly different from their band at the time Whipping Boy. Wenner concocted an underlying musical architecture for his abrasive-then-plangent music, through use of arch form and musical palindromes unusual in the noise music genre the band was often placed. This organizing structure later grew to encompass the second Oxbow recording as well, and drew relationships between the two.[1][2] For his part Robinson changed his vocal approach to include in-the-studio improvisations and extensive vocal multi-tracking. This first record, titled Fuckfest has drumming split evenly between Greg Davis and Tom Dobrov. Dan Adams (bass in Oxbow, drums in Whipping Boy) joined immediately on completion of the first recording. All but Davis and Dobrov were at various times members of Whipping Boy, Wenner and Dobrov had been bandmates in the hardcore band Grim Reality[3][4][5] Dobrov departed after the band's 1995 European tour, but performed with Davis as guest second drummer for the studio recording of "Shine (Glimmer)" on the 2002 album "An Evil Heat."[6][7]

The first album from Oxbow, Fuckfest, was released in 1989. It was described as "one of the most unique first statements in modern avant-rock" by Rock-A-Rolla magazine, "staggeringly eclectic" by Simon Reynolds, and "a fierce, rigorous album that challenges almost every preconception rock listeners might have" by Allmusic.[3][8][9][10] Fuckfest was followed by King of the Jews (1991) and then by two Steve Albini-recorded albums: Let Me Be a Woman (1995) and Serenade in Red (1996–97), the latter featuring guest vocals from Marianne Faithfull.[3] An Evil Heat followed in 2002 on Neurosis' Neurot Recordings label.[5][11] Oxbow's 2007 album The Narcotic Story was named the number one album in the "Best of 2007" by Rock-A-Rolla magazine, and was listed with three other bands' albums in the nomination of Joe Chiccarelli as 'Producer of the Year' at the 50th Grammy Awards.[12][13]

Musical style[edit]

Oxbow's material is musically varied and has been compared both to bands such as Neurosis and The Birthday Party, and modern classical composers such as Penderecki and John Luther Adams.[3][14] Elements of blues, noise rock, metal, Jazz, and Contemporary classical music are consistently mentioned.[14][15][16][17] Allmusic writer Jason Ankeny identified elements of free jazz and musique concrète.[3]


Current line-up[edit]

Dan Adams: Bass Guitar[edit]

Dan Adams, multi-instrumentalist, engineer who worked on animatronics in films such as Free Willie and Anaconda, and award winning jazz drummer also used to drum for North Carolina's hardcore punk band the Ugly Americans.

Niko Wenner: Guitars, Keyboards[edit]

Oxbow composer, arranger, and producer Wenner "a master of sculpting noise and tone"[10] has also toured and recorded as part of the bands God, Swell,[3] Celan,[18] and Jellyfish.[19]

Wenner has engineered recordings for Oxbow and others, composed and performed music for contemporary dance,[20] and appeared performing in an Academy Award nominee for best short film.[21]

Eugene S. Robinson: Vocals[edit]

On Fuckfest "Robinson howls in a high-pitched, anguished voice somewhere between Robert Plant and Birthday Party-era Nick Cave", although his lyrics sound incomprehensible.[10]

Robinson has provided guest vocals for several bands, including Xiu Xiu, L'Enfance Rouge, Black Sun, Old Man Gloom, DJ /Rupture, and Ultraphallus among others.[22][23][24][25]

Vocalist Robinson, also an amateur fighter, has on several occasions dealt with misbehaving audience members with physical force. He is also known for shedding his clothes on stage.[5][14][15][26][27][28] Robinson is the author of the books "Paternostra", "Les sons inimitables de l'amour: un plan à trois en quatre actes", A Long Slow Screw and Fight: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Ass-Kicking but Were Afraid You'd Get Your Ass Kicked for Asking, and is both a Deputy Editor at OZY.com, a video host of Knuckle Up on Bloody Elbow and a regular contributor to Vice magazine. He has also had his written work appear in GQ, the LA Weekly, The Quietus, PC Gamer, Hustler, Revolver, Decibel and The Wire, among others. His infrequent film and television work has also seen him appearing in Leonard Part 6 with Bill Cosby, Midnight Caller, King of Love, MTV's Liquid Television's Las Apassionadas, and commercials most notably one directed by Gus Van Sant for Miller Genuine Draft.[29][30]



Release Date Title Label
1989 Fuckfest CFY Records/Pathological Records/Hydra Head Records
1991 King of the Jews CFY Records/Pathological Records/Hydra Head Records
1995 Let Me Be a Woman Brinkman Records/Crippled Dick Hot Wax Records
1996/1997 Serenade in Red Crippled Dick Hot Wax Records/SST Records
2002 An Evil Heat Neurot Recordings
2007 The Narcotic Story Hydra Head Records


1996 Insylum/The Stabbing Hand

(with Marianne Faithfull / Kathy Acker[31])

Crippled Dick Hot Wax Records Limited Release Picture Disc EP
2009 Songs for the French Hydra Head Records Limited Release Vinyl EP


1992 Balls in the Great Meat Grinder Collection CD (compiles the albums King of the Jews and Fuckfest on a single cd, in that order) Pathological Records
1997 Fuckfest/King of the Jews 2CD (compiles the albums Fuckfest and King of the Jews in a two CD package) Crippled Dick Hot Wax Records
2006 Love That's Last CD/DVD (CD includes new, and previously released songs; DVD includes two live performances, a documentary, two 5.1 surround re-mixes, etc., see "DVD" below) Hydra Head Records
2007 Remixed & Covered CD (Two CD package of remixes/covers of the band Xiu Xiu; Oxbow acoustic duo perform "Saturn.") 5 Rue Christine

Live albums[edit]

2008 Oxbow presents: Love's Holiday Orchestra Oxbow duo live at Supersonic 2007 (featuring Justin Broadrick and Stephen O'Malley) (12" vinyl only) Capsule
2008 Fuckfest/12 Galaxies (12 Galaxies: Oxbow acoustic quartet recorded live at 12 Galaxies club, San Francisco, 2008) (limited, hand signed two-cd package) Hydra Head Records
2009 Songs for the French (Side "There" live recordings, Europe, 2008) (12" vinyl only) Hydra Head Records
2011 : : stone & towering edifice : LIVE at the BAM (Oxbow acoustic quartet live at UC Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, 2010) (CD only) Hydra Head Records


1999 Oxbow Meets White Tornado Wallace Records
2011 Oxbow / Kill Kill Kill (Oxbow song is previously unreleased alternate version of "Daughter" from 1991 LP, King of the Jews. Mastered 1991/2011 Golden Mastering / Kill Kill Kill song recorded at Paul Terrace, Los Angeles, CA, 2011) (Vinyl 7") Hydra Head Records

Music videos[edit]

2006 SbarX (video + 5.1 audio mix on Love That's Last DVD, song from An Evil Heat (2002)) Hydra Head Records


2006 Love That's Last: A Wholly Hypnographic and Disturbing Work Regarding Oxbow Hydra Head Records

DVD included in the CD/DVD Compilation Love That's Last: A Wholly Hypnographic and Disturbing Work Regarding Oxbow. There are 6 selections included on the DVD:

  1. Music For Adults (documentary film)
  2. Music For Adults (outtakes)
  3. Oxbow live in Diksmuide, Belgium, Muziekclub 4AD 19 May 2002
  4. Oxbow live in San Francisco, USA, Great American Music Hall 14 November 2004
  5. SbarX (video + 5.1 audio mix)
  6. The Snake &... (5.1 audio mix)
2011 The Luxury of Empire Flowerskull

DVD based on Oxbow's 2009 European tour. Contains three selections:

  1. "The Luxury of Empire" by Mariexxme (documentary film)
  2. "Still Before" by Manuel Liebeskind (documentary film)
  3. Oxbow live in Paris, France, La Maroquinerie 8 November 2009
2012 oxbow in camera Hydra Head Records

16mm film, multi-camera, three selections are performed live, one selection is performed to the studio recording. There are 4 selections included on the DVD:

  1. The Snake...
  2. She's a Find
  3. Ecce Homo
  4. Bomb


  1. ^ Wenner, Niko (2009). Fuckfest. CD reissue liner notes: Hydra Head Industries. 
  2. ^ Wenner, Niko (2011). King of the Jews. CD reissue liner notes: Hydra Head Industries. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Ankeny, Jason "Oxbow Biography", Allmusic, retrieved 2012-07-17
  4. ^ Blush, Steven (2001) American Hardcore: A Tribal History, Feral House, ISBN 978-0922915712, p. 130
  5. ^ a b c Pehling, Dave (2002) "Uneasy Listening: Oxbow drags experimental rock into the heart of darkness", SF Weekly, September 11, 2002, retrieved 2012-07-17
  6. ^ Wenner, Niko (1995) "Tour Diary: 1995 (Niko)", retrieved 2012-09-15
  7. ^ Oxbow (2012) "[1]", http://www.facebook.com/OXBOW, August 1, 2012, retrieved 2012-09-15
  8. ^ "Classic album: Oxbow ‘Fuckfest’", Rock-A-Rolla, 15 April 2010, retrieved 2012-07-17
  9. ^ Reynolds, Simon "[2]", Melody Maker, 1989, retrieved 2012-08-01
  10. ^ a b c Freeman, Phil "Fuckfest Review", Allmusic, retrieved 2012-07-17
  11. ^ York, William "An Evil Heat Review", Allmusic, retrieved 2012-07-17
  12. ^ Rock-A-Rolla "[3]", retrieved 2012-09-09
  13. ^ "50th Annual Grammy Awards Nomination List" (archived version), retrieved 2012-07-19
  14. ^ a b c Dare, Christopher (2002) "Oxbow An Evil Heat", Pitchfork Media, December 31, 2001, retrieved 2012-07-17
  15. ^ a b Howe, Brian (2007) "Oxbow The Narcotic Story", Pitchfork Media, June 21, 2007, retrieved 2012-07-17
  16. ^ Chainey, Ian "[4]", Last Rites, July 1, 2007, retrieved 2014-07-23
  17. ^ MacGregor, Adam "[5]", Dusted Magazine, May 18, 2006, retrieved 2012-09-05
  18. ^ ,discogs.com/artist/Niko+Wenner, (2012) "[6]"
  19. ^ Omnivore Recordings (2012). "[7]", Omnivore Recordings (official website), retrieved 2012-07-29
  20. ^ , Aquarius Records (2012) "[8]" 2012, retrieved 2012-07-29
  21. ^ , Swell Fansite Damien (1998) "[9]" 2012, retrieved 2012-07-30
  22. ^ Drever, Ryan (2010) "Black Sun – Twilight Of The Gods", The Skinny, August 30, 2010, retrieved 2012-07-17
  23. ^ "Old Man Gloom Christmas", CMJ New Music Monthly, August 30, 2004, retrieved 2012-07-17
  24. ^ Drever, Ryan (2011) "Ultraphallus Sowberry Hagan", Drowned in Sound, January 20, 2011, retrieved 2012-07-17
  25. ^ Beta, Andy (2005) "1 + 1 = 3: Turkish composer and Harvard grad pump up the volume", Village Voice, January 18, 2005, retrieved 2012-07-17
  26. ^ Spicuzza, Mary (2008) "Oxbow's Eugene Robinson chokes rowdy concertgoers", SF Weekly, January 9, 2008, retrieved 2012-07-17
  27. ^ "Eugene Robinson", Decibel, Issue No. 39, January 2008, retrieved 2012-07-17
  28. ^ Newton, Edmund (2008) "Heartwarming Story", Broward Palm Beach New Times, July 31, 2008, retrieved 2012-07-17
  29. ^ Reade, Frances (2007) "SFist Interviews Eugene Robinson", sfist.com, November 8, 2007, retrieved 2012-07-17
  30. ^ Ranta, Alan (2008) "Eugene S. Robinson: Fight", PopMatters, February 29, 2008, retrieved 2012-07-17
  31. ^ Wenner, Niko (March 2009), About "Acker Sound/Read All Over" 

External links[edit]