At times, I’m too busy to praise myself. These ladies and gentlemen were kind enough to do it for me:
(This first section is selected praise for the Claudettes and their debut album, 2013’s Infernal Piano Plot…HATCHED!)
DOWNBEAT Hits listeners upside the head with a mash-up of Otis Spann blues, Albert Ammons boogie-woogie, Ray Charles soul and “Fess” Longhair New Orleans R&B. Catch them in a chaotic ballroom!
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES Fuses blues and punk, and all points between….The hectic boogaloo of “Deep Soul for High Society” pays rowdy homage to Ray Charles…prodigious skill, but not purism.
BG (BUDDY GUY’S BLUES AND MUSIC NEWS) Uninhibited, wild, exciting…yet deep-rooted Chicago blues. A very powerful and impassioned album done as only true Chicago blues masters could do it. With this album, Johnny could easily inherit Big Moose Walker’s mantle as the piano wild man of Chicago blues. A pair like the Claudettes really shows the continued vitality and possibilities of Chicago blues in the 21st century.
COLOSSAL POP Beautiful and chaotic and wildly impressive all at once….If you would have told me three weeks ago that the most played album in my rotation would be a piano and drum instrumental album, I would have laughed….I’m all in. I love this album and the Claudettes may be my new favorite band!
BLUES BYTES (SURPRISE PICK OF THE MONTH, NOVEMBER 2013) One of the freshest discs that has crossed my ears in a long time…an amazing find…Iguana and Caskey play their instruments like men possessed.
AMERICAN BLUES SCENE Johnny Iguana sounds like a saloon pianist from the Wild West brought to the future, his own vaudeville style modernized alongside Caskey’s sweet and delectable drumming, blending blues, jazz and a good time, creating an album unlike any other on the market.
EDEN BRENT (VIA FACEBOOK) Has all the sophistication of 21st-century serious music with a helluva sense of humor….Most interesting piano album in my collection since Brubeck’s Take Five.
CAUGHT IN THE CAROUSEL They come across like a ragtime White Stripes, tearing through the 13 numbers here with an undeniable musical velocity….Truly one of the most refreshing musical experiences of the year.
FOLK AND ACOUSTIC MUSIC EXCHANGE Some of the most startling music you are going to hear…you are in for a wild ride. They seem like two madmen…but they are two madmen in beautiful tight rhythm.
BMAN’S BLUES REPORT A nonstop piano riot….With Hound Dog Taylor Taylor intensity, the two men create a rockin’ frenzy….Iguana has a lot to say and says a lot without saying a word.
SEPIACHORD Soon to be classic…a vintage vibe that should find ears with neo-hipsters, old-school cool cats and contemporary greasers alike.
RICHARD MILNE, WXRT, CHICAGO Piano and drums and tons of energy and good tunes…bodacious grooves!
POP MATTERS Greasy keyboard-based barrelhouse blues with a side of heavy beat that evokes early Chicago R&B/rock…makes you jump and dance…a little scary, but that’s just part of the dangerous thrill.
CASCADE BLUES ASSOCIATION: Definitely nothing remotely blues-rock. There is a timeless feeling meshing the great pianists of the past with a modern flair that resembles nobody else.
CINCINNATI ENQUIRER An amped blues-rock-soulful-jazz explosion….You’re going to need a good day of rest afterward from the dancing and feet tapping that abounds from the music of these gentlemen.
(More praise for Johnny Iguana):
“On the disc celebrating music from 1940-1955, Big Maceo Merriweather’s ‘Chicago Breakdown,’ ‘Feel Like Going Home’ by Muddy Waters, the all-time great tune by Elmore James ‘I Believe,’ and Little Walter’s ‘Hate to See You Go’ all retain that timeless feel of real blues dealing. Iguana is the star, whether playing solo boogie-woogie piano, working with Primer on an Elmore James type dirty blues, in an Otis Spann mode with the hard-edged sound of James via Flynn with Bell vocally shouting it out, or alongside Branch’s vintage harmonic sound in straight urban boogie style.”
—allmusic.com review of “Chicago Blues: A Living History” (2009)
“You’d have to reach back to England’s postpunk trio Young Marble Giants to find a cooler organ-driven art-rock band than oh my god, though this trio adds more of an energizing Midwestern pop sensibility to its minimalist tunes on its third album, Interrogations and Confessions, as well as the occasional horn part and a flair for biting social satire in the lyrics.”
—Jim DeRogatis, Chicago Sun-Times
“Onstage the trio sells it to the crowd with such energy, joy and power that we’ve often confused it for an actual noise or punk or hard-rock band…odd, considering that there are no guitars. Or at least there weren’t prior to the band’s latest….what adding an ax really does is emancipate the band’s secret weapon, keyboardist Ig, from having to be a guitar stand-in, allowing him to let his fingers get fantastically freaky and glorious goofy. This development makes oh my god’s live sets even more intriguing, and this pair of record-release shows could be some of the better of the summer.”
—Time Out Chicago
“What sets it apart is organ: Oh My God’s dynamic, dare-we-call-them-groovy songs drip with thick clusters of keys in addition to distorted bass and no shortage of impeccable pop craftsmanship.”
“If Jimmy Smith and J.S. Bach could only witness this organ bastardization, they just might gush in unison, ‘oh my god.’ When it comes to terse organ-driven rockers, this band pulls out the stops and then some. The Chicago-based combo takes the venerable organ to the next level, making it sound more like an elephant that just broke into a brewery. That, combined with robust drumming, plump bass lines and stanch vocals makes for an interesting sound located somewhere between early-’80s punk rock and Jupiter’s swirling red eye. You will say this great band’s name out loud and never think of it the same.”
—Santa Cruz Good Times
“O’Neill may attract the most attention, but the driving force behind the sound is keyboardist Ig. The electric-shriek emanating from his instrument is an unlikely counterpoint to the shockingly pretty sound of O’Neill’s Michael Stipe-esque vocals.”
—onethirtybpm.com (Champaign, IL)
“Ig’s grinding, overdriven organ sounds like it’s going to melt at times, and when combined with the harmonic post-punk-pop vocals and theatrics of O’Neill, they create a beautifully balanced live set. You could call it indie-art rock because of OMG’s totally unique sound and style, but this is way more fun to watch than most of that snobby, music-nerd stuff. It’s a little weirder than most shows you’ve been to, and that’s the point…OMG is simply mesmerizing.
—605 Magazine (Sioux Falls, SD)
“Oh my god subscribes to the indie/punk aesthetic of intense, short and often dissonant songs as opposed to the grander themes and extended jams of classic rock…its propulsive sound (is) dominated by Iguana’s loud, wonderfully distorted keyboard.”
—Des Moines Register
“First you start out with a guy named Iguana, whose previous outings saw him playing with the likes of Junior Wells, Otis Rush and Buddy Guy. Then you twist his organ through distortion and vibrato and whatever else they can think of and you end up with three guys who will leave you speechless.”
—Warrensburg Free Press (MO)
“Comparisons to such legendary oddballs as Frank Zappa, Pere Ubu and Devo are pretty spot on, and the band’s most recent effort, Fools Want Noise, may well be its most potent collection of keyboard-drenched wackiness. Music this arty and thoughtful can only come from truly inspired minds.”
—Dallas Observer online
“Oh my god knock out glam-rock anthems with a twist, Ig’s organ propelling the way.”
“The new sound is positively massive…Ig still tweaks his organ to the verge of meltdown.”
“Breaks all musical barriers…a band that is so multi-faceted the mind boggles…keyboardist Iguana’s Leslie-driven insanity is the key element behind OMG’s signature sound.”
—Maximum Ink (WI)
“I’ve always said that indie rock could use more organ! Oh my god has been thrilling audiences for the past five years with a quirky rock sound full of originality from organ player Ig…an exciting new direction…the new sound is energetic and retains the catchy vocal hooks, foot-tapping rhythms and flashes of organ that have kept their sound fresh.”
—ArtVoice (Buffalo, NY)
“Oh my god is a power trio with a twist: instead of a guitar it has an organ, but it’s so jacked up and cracked out you couldn’t be blamed if you mistook it for a Hiwatt half-stack.”
“God (would admire) the band’s musical diversity, which includes everything from melodic, radio-friendly rock songs like ‘Volatile’ to the robotic electro seethings of tunes like ‘Action.’ And Satan would admire OMG’s hedonistic, possessed live shows (filled with lots of hair, sweat and gold lame outfits). Perhaps most impressive is the infectious pop hooks the band cranks out without the aid of guitar. Credit for that goes to organ player ig, who channels the quirky sounds of his instrument through Leslie System speakers to create fuzzy tones that sound straight off a six-string.”
—Phoenix New Times
“Drums, bass and the Leslie-driven madness produced by keyboardist Iguana add to a wall of sound that drenches the listener in a euphoric symphony of music unlike anything else being performed today. If you haven’t seen OMG, you have missed one of the best live shows to ever hit the stage.”
—Milwaukee Shepherd Express
“Oh My God’s dynamic prog-pop crams ideas into each song like a deliciously eclectic pick ‘n’ mix…an irresistible cocktail of crunchy, swirling keyboards and jackhammer drums…a monumental feast of pile-driving hooks.”
“Crucial to the band’s sound is the use of Hammond organ as both a melodic voice and part of the rumbling rhythm section…Iguana uses the Hammond to create other-worldly textures that would make the average Jimmy Smith or Bill Doggett devotee squirm… one of the Midwest’s most consistently creative and satisfying groups.”
—Dandercroft Magazine (Kansas City)
“A high-energy off-the-wall mix of fellows…a very tight band that has to be seen live to be fully appreciated…never has an organ sounded so rockin’ and cool.”
—Sound & Vision Magazine (CA)
“It’s time to dust off that old electric organ and throw away the guitars…the alternative rock/indie band defies convention…the band’s sound focuses on heavy-hitting melodies and electronic-organ goodness…with a powerful drum detonation sure to level any audience.”
—Daily Beacon, U. of Tennessee, Knoxville
“So strange and compelling. So HUGE, but coming out of three guys. Was the keyboard player possessed by demons?…The man behind the organ was like an amped up Beethoven, eyes closed and mouth agape in rapt concentration as he summoned gargantuan tones from his organ. Occasionally, he would break out of his reverie and grin broadly, evidently deeply in love with his music—deep in the joy of performing it.”
—Flag Live! (Flagstaff, AZ)
“Iguana’s organ is as dynamic as any instrument I’ve ever heard, slipping from silky melodies into crunchy punk riffs seamlessly.”
—Lost at Sea Magazine (CA)
“It could be argued that the organ is the impetus behind all Rock music. But that’s a different kind of organ and a whole other story. The role of the musical organ has a valued place in the annals of Rock history, providing a key part of the foundation for legendary acts like the Allman Brothers, Deep Purple and Elvis Costello’s Attractions. But none of those acts made due without the benefit of guitar filler. For Chicago trio Oh My God, the organ is the foundation. One of the most common reactions to OMG (besides the reaction that became their name, as in “Oh my god, these guys rock!”) is ‘Where’s the guitarist?’ OMG’s equivalent to Pink Floyd’s ‘Which one’s Pink’ Not that you’ll immediately notice the absence of a guitar, but OMG’s music can be so energetic, textural and expansive, it’s just natural to assume that a guitar is a part of the sublime mix. The group’s sound–wonderfully exemplified on the recently re-released Interrogations and Confessions–flirts with adventure, touching on Prog, Post-Punk and Art Rock superfluities. But at its core, Oh My God is a tight Pop/Rock band with soul, intensity and ambition, akin to the brighter moments in the Eels’ oeuvre. Organist Iguana’s eccentric approach ranges from distorted power hooks to more ambient quirks and is clearly the band’s most instantly recognizable trait.”
“The positive side of classic-rock bombast and the angular keyboards of krautrock blend to form a bizarre, sometimes jarring but crazily compelling band. Oh my god’s kick-ass fuzzy organ riffs and bass lines are super-intelligent and almost hypnotic in their domination of your ears.”
—Santa Fe Reporter
“I personally haven’t heard such an effective set of rock organs since Cursive artificially added them to ‘The Ugly Organ.'”