When a band like Oax comes into your life, you need to mark the date on your calendar. This Distance, the debut effort from Houston’s Giorgio Angelini, is hands down the best record I’ve heard from a new band this year. Angelini himself is no newcomer to the indie-rock scene; he’s toured with The Rosebuds and Bishop Allen for the last several years. Additionally, he helped score the video game “Red Dead Redemption.” Not too bad for a guy finishing his masters degree in architecture. If his architecture skills are half what his songwriting skills are, we’re going to be living in a truly beautiful world.
Oax sounds like what you might imagine a rootsy, more Americana incarnation of Dinosaur Jr. would sound like. Replace J. Mascis’s blistering guitar solos with pumped up sing-a-long melodies and you should get a good idea of what This Distance holds. “Pretty Good Start” is so much more than its name implies; this song should be held up as an example of how to open an album. Oax doesn’t just get off to a pretty good start, they kick it off the cliff within the first few bars of the song. This song, like the whole EP, is engaging and engrossing from start to finish. Each successive song mixes a little rock with what can only be described as the sound of Texas. The track “Scoundrel” is a no-holds-barred, soaring rocker that is the highpoint of the EP. The closing track, “Sutures,” enlists the vocals of Mineral’s Chris Simpson and Spoon’s Jim Eno on drums. The results are, as expected, excellent.
Records like This Distance are what make being an obsessive music fan so much fun. Oax give us a completely solid collection of sing-a-long anthems that demand daily listening. Do yourself a favor and don’t put this off. Order the CD, get your iTunes warmed up…whatever you need to do, just hear this record.