Friday, September 16, 2016

Bandcamp Weekly 9/10 - 9/16

This week is another full bodied stream of bandcamp releases....

After-Math - Asunder (UK)
One man Post-rock and pretty blunt with the delivery.
Drums at times seem to try and stick their head above clouds with
some plodding off time behavior. Nothing offensive just wanted
something more.

Filmed In An Airplane - The Fall Of September (illinois)
A sample heavy IDM / elctronic inspired tribute to the tragic events
Nothing math oriented that I could gather but seems respectful in execution.

Ella Vader - Sad Flower Fuzz Party (Virginia)
Spacey ambient punk music covered in reverb.
Drum flubs dont seem to matter much on these proceedings so draw your own conclusion from that.
No btw.

Den Tapes Label
Often a label will post up all of their collective efforts en-masse and
we seem to have something similar here. While Wooky, Happy Times Sad Times, Porn Bloopers and Choke the Pope are tagged under math rock among others...I cant for the life of me understand why most of it is indie rock alt and I'm not bothering to go through each.

Retrospector - Creeper (Washington)
Guitars offer up a shoegazy pop rock with some old school 90's indie rock vibes.great structures running through this as well. Drums happily give a complex bent but only when its called for in the music. Vocals are not the strongest but they are charming in their own way and do add a layer to the music. Charming enough to have me coming back to try and dig further into exactly what i am loving so much. The chord progressions themselves are pretty interesting ping ponging between something pretty, jagged / discordant or even blurring the line. strong contender.

Qrater - EP Qrater
I read the tags.. and a tear falls... "nu metal".. enough to shock my senses on this very morning. yes there is rapping.. and metal inspired riffage but I wouldnt say it falls into the dangerous beast that we are familiar with. It however doesn't raise itself above the tags to provide anything outside. "La Manera" gives us a moment of clarity with just singing and honestly if this was the vibe.. id be way more down.

Truck - Close Encounters​/​You Become (Oregon)

Rowdy, noisy music covered in sludge and blanketed in punk. Didn't stick out much beyond that.

Strobes - Brokespeak (UK)
I would think it would be nearly impossible for me to dislike something a member of Three Trapped Tigers was a part of This one track peek is a pretty sensational look inside this three piece. I will also attach a small asterisk beside that because this treds A LOT of the same water TTT does. Electro prog vibes. will be interested to see if we get some added flavors with a ep/full length

Ceol - Ceol (UK)
Well produced post-rock alt math that flirts with some progressive structures as well. All done in a great little package that doesn't directly ape anyone I can think of offhand. Some nice rhythmic surprises as well as a varied vocal approach really has me highly engaged with what this group is laying down I will say when things calm a bit on some tracks it loses a bit of steam. Though with 3 songs its unclear if we have a full understanding.

Pfaff - p[retty] f[lippin] a[wesome] f[rickin] f[riends] (UK)
3 piece unit that creates instrumental math rock plain and simple... well not so simple I suppose. They do inject some varied sounds and keep things interesting and engaging. Sure a lot of familiar
math dynamics are here but they are dressed to impress and give a bit of an off kilter spin which I always appreciate. New ideas come and go and guitars and drums are herky jerky moving from one section to the next. but please... change the name..for the love of god.

Kjjjjjjjjj - Kjjjjjjjjj (Buenos Aires)
This is the one and only disparaging thing I will say about this group and lets get it out of the way first. The name... guys... please. I could honestly write a whole college thesis on the NEED for a non-obscure name that people can remember. On the insanely plus side this group is god damn fantastic. Its a perfectly balanced
mixture of alt post hardcore and post-rock influenced math. Instrumental as well which can be a hinderance if the music is not engaging enough..which I promise is not the case. This group does just as great a job with complete all out bangers (the lovingly titled "Pffffffff") as slowed down post-rock feeling songs ("Nicolino").
Completely happy and surprised by this group that the album seriously ends too soon. Had to go back for further helpings.

Tesla Pox - Demasiados Somníferos (Guadalajara)
Complete mood setter...comfortable and close, yet there is this air of dred that just hangs outside. post times and depending on the song. often things seem to organically be brought in and out of the songs I would say more experimental composition crossed with some heavy ambience. Songs are fresh and rarely repeat ideas and use a wide variety of sounds and instrumentation to get the point across. Song lengths are perfect... conveying an idea and then leaving before things get out of hand. Vocals? hushed but pulled up front and certainly not across all songs. I cant shake the feeling however that some of these are more "ideas" than executed planned works. Still enjoyed this a lot.

Commitments,Commandments - Pinecone;Pinecone;Pinecone EP (Virginia)
Sort of has a dark eastern vibe mixed with heavy tones and a metal tinge. I'm not sure I completely understand the entire picture of what is trying to be accomplished here with one song released so far.

Hell Ben - In a Curious Pod (Michigan)
Ramshackle lo-fi experimental pop rock. not catching the math or prog that this is clearly tagged as. I suppose its charming in an offbeat way but doesn't elevate itself beyond that.

Hollow Ran - Live in Japan (California)
A nice snap shot of a 2 piece that really has been at it a bit without (in my opinion) being raised to the level of other math duo's. Why? im not sure. There music is complex while remaining accesible. Strong drumming and a solid sense of structure that runs through all of their compositions. Never staying in one place to long almost as an act of survival. I will say that I think their live set captures more of their spirit than most of their recorded efforts and enjoyed this a lot.

Colin Phills - Live at SubCat Studio (China and now NY)
Recorded literally about an hour away from where I live (Upstate NY Represent!). A three piece in this instance that has a strong indie rock base with added math rock placed carefully around. The drums particularly unleash during moments of odd structure but remain restrained when needed. Its a lot of give and take and certainly doesn't breath the air of needless complexcity of some groups. I do think however that the real star of the show here is the boy girl harmonies...damn they are something else. For my money this is a spot that all current groups can take notes
from...proper..well thought out..vocals.

Spaze Warlords - 509 (Germany)
If this music is in fact improvised (which it doesn't sound to be) id be astonished. But no less great without. Fairly engaging instrumental post-rock / post metal that holds your interest for the time of the album but the memory fades as often post-rock will without hooks to bring you back for more.

and the album of the

Fox Lake - Late Again.. (Winnipeg, Manitoba)

FOX LAKE!!! FOX LAKE!! ok so truth be told I am a ridiculous super fan of Viridians and when they exploded into a million pieces I was heart broken. Some would join up with prolific math-popster Alexander Litinsky (am overcast) to form Grand Beach. Stagger start creation of Fox Lake with the other Viridian members. So we have been offered an emo/posthardcore hybrid with some cool math rock twists and vocals to sweeten the deal. This second EP finds them in much the same place they were with the first.  Guitars fly all over the flipping place and its a solid time for sure. Both are a must listen for anyone even remotely interested in the genre.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Bandcamp Weekly 9/1 - 9/9 Math Rock

From the start of my blog I have tried to make an effort to not only highlight artists I enjoy but those that don't typically have "proper exposure". Over the years this has changed in scope. The math / prog climate was very different coverage wise in 2010 and is fairly robust in 2016. With the amount of artists interested in the style now more than ever it is getting increasingly difficult to provide a scope of effort.

This is my small way of narrowing the gap.

In an effort to be more transparent in my listening habits, I am doing small write ups on all releases tagged "math rock" in bandcamp during a given week. This is something I have done for a long time now listening wise but had yet to document my findings. At the end I will pick my best album of the week.

September 1 - 9 

Luna the Wolf - The Conclusion (California)
It feels like I have listened to this before? It does have a familiar sound to it at any rate. Instrumental post-rock thats slow to mid tempo and fuses in some audio from movies. Has a nice easy going nostalgic feel and by no time this release was done much to
my dismay.

Formlessness - a series of random noise and an admittance of the failure of the human race (Missouri)
from the tags you might hardly guess as to what you are about to get yourself into. A heady mix of ambient textures and lo-fi guitar structures. Each song carries its own identity and offers a unique take on the straddling of a song and..well more formless composition. I liked this a lot actually and wasn't totally sold until I went deeper into the release. The songs become more cohesive guitar based mathish post rock works as the songs tick off and actually works up to that in the track list which I think was a solid idea.

SNZZZOV*EN/Jesus the Carpenter - Something with this (North Carolina)
Whack-a-doo one off that according to the tags is a lot of things thrown in to a blender. It is improv.. for sure and not that bad truly. It doesn't over stay its welcome and offers some interesting instrumentation for a two piece.

The Oxford Comma - The Oxford Comma (Illinois)
A three piece that seems like a cross between a college bar band and garage rock. While the vocals are perfectly passable the effect on them has them floating above the mix..odd. Drums are occassionally interesting and the songs do progress in quality.
Math? Jazz? Not that Im hearing.

Things Unsaid - Cant Follow (Texas)
Prog math 3 piece that isn't reinventing the wheel but still very solid. I appreciate that the vocals and songs do try to mix things up a bit tempo and structure wise but it does get to be heavy handed with songs that occasionally over stay their welcome.

madhatteR - madhatteR(mexico)
Came for the 3 piece instrumentals stayed for the capital "R"
I am having a hard time figuring if this has much to do with math.
Much more akin to post-rock but doesn't really stray far from the box. The songs do grow a bit but seem content to stick to mid tempo alt. also from 2005? eh extra points for that I suppose.

look, orion! - Stages (Sweden)
Alt Emo post-rock with some pretty well thought out structures.
Riff wise? eh nothing that'll light your world on fire but some of the songs are laid out in interesting and memorable ways. Good dynamics and as always appreciate the decent vox. this is something that I have come back to a few times throughout the week.

Brent Vallefuoco - Variations On A Theme (California)
I am not totally sold on this yet but one thing is certain that there are a ton of idea's running through these songs. Piano based but with moments of alt prog lite thrown in.  Absolutely its own beast and the singing grows on you. inventive nod to steve reich as well.
Also can we abolish the use of the term "twinkle daddy" yet?

Numbered Sounds - Poke the Robot (Florida)
Somewhere between soundscape and math we have guitars and synth playing off of each other in some exciting ways. I found the compositions enjoyable and varied in their approach. Have heard things like this done before but they often come off as amatuerish and sounding like basement demo's. Something a bit different and relaxing but also captivating when focussed on.

Cheap Jazz - Mild Peril Live (UK)
Providing a collection of songs recorded live in 2014. This three piece lay down some fairly text book math prog with some varied structures. Have heard other releases from them that better sold their angle.

Puissant et Cathartique - Xtrem et Fascinant (France)
Interesting two piece ram and jam that spends a lot of time laying aggressive riffs. Grindcore? eh.. pretty far off and the metal tag doesn't seem to jive either albeit the guitar does like to mimic in tone and approach. some sort of alt math punk might be more realistic. Transitions could be a good deal sharper and sometimes they fail to make a lot of sense in direction. Riffs hit hard
however and thats a plus.

Lion, Meet Lizard - Day for the Dead (Netherlands)
Chilled out electro math that thematically hits on the level. Would love to see this expanded on a bit more but I am intrigued. Will be checking out previous releases.

Doom Salad - Doom Salad (Georgia)
Didn't we JUST get a new doom this year? hey.. no complaints here. these cats continue to
fire on all cylinders and each time expand on their complex fusion of avant math / jazz
with attitude.

Toytoise - Food for Cats (UK)
Indie math with vocals...that should be a bit stronger. nothing terribly interesting and different than the norm. riffs aren't punchy nor do they add much. drums at dangerous levels of standard.

Big Bad Buffalo - Big Bad Buffalo (California)
Honestly have been awaiting a new proper release from these guys. their last was a fantastic collection of fun indie inspired songs with interesting lyrics. So if your down with alt emo that flirts with math at times but not enough to be obvious.. then I promise this is for you. Reminds me in a way of Jank but in a more 90's early 2000's way..dare a say weezer esque? Regardless this is another incredibly solid release from this three piece that should honestly be getting way more press and interest.

SX-70 - Sin (Ireland)
Nothing about this is math rock.. nor indie rock really. sounds like fairly by the books rock revival. the second song is going for a dancey vibe and does a bit better in that its trying for something a bit different. However ...

Thought Patterns - Stay (Pennsylvania)
Two songs and both in the alt emo sort of vein. Interesting guitar work and emotional vocal style. I would like the drums to be a bit more...intricate? but I think its a solid start for this band. Primarily enjoying the trumpet and wish it was literally all over the first
song but personal preference I suppose.

Extraneous Solutions - Staircases (New Hampshire)
I just cant shake the level of synth cheese that is oozing off of this release. The math seems to be in another castle and in its place down tempo dad-fusion.

STÖLLER - Demo's 2k16 (Oregon)
Electro synth rock with repeated structures and interesting drums in the mix. I would think something like this would be very cool to see done live. I wasn't totaly sold on this until the drums came in and kicked things up a notch. Good stuff.

Blue Steel - Unofficial Pre-release (Illinois)
Great guitar work by both bass and lead in this instrumental three piece. Cool chord progressions give it a new feel but still seems familiar. post-rock math that is engaging but never hits you over the head.

Marius - Volevo rimanere ancora un po' (Italy)
Folk emo with a titch of math thrown in for good measure.
Some gang style vocals over layers of acoustic guitar.
I dont see nearly enough of stuff like this really and its done well.
Not saying that I wish for a glut but acou

Huw Cheston - Live; Electric (UK)
Steve Reich songs...especially when done well...are always welcome in my book, anytime and any place. though I think the bass is off a bit in "counterpoint 3 - fast".


Lascavx - Historyboard (Argentina)

This is easily the album I have listened to the most in the recent releases. It also made its way into home rotation which says something for sure. Its fun, juanty and hits where it needs to. Somewhat surprising as this is a one man show. It honestly reminds me a lot of Kaschalot from Estonia. Memorable riffs and interesting dynamics are all on display for this instrumental outing. Incredibly dynamic post rock by way of math that rarely lets of the excitement level. Top notch...everyone should be listening to this. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Kaschalot (2014)

Its incredibly rare to come across such a completely focused solo effort as this.
Not to mention there are a high volume of groups trying to play in this same sandbox of energetic post-rock by way of math.

This is something that is great with repeated listens...catchy and intricate..

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Sphaeras - Sun Seeker (2016)

Insanely powerful post-rock math prog ambient... well you get the idea.
The blender approach to engaging post-rock.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Mouse Fitzgerald Presents - Living Like A Mouse (2016)

         Following up from last year's alt-emo ramshackle blast we find our fellow mice in a far greater vantage point than even I had thought. 
         If you are a new comer Mouse Fitzgerald (NY) synthesize a number of loves into a small and often intimate package. It frequently has an air of 90's alternative but with a real appreciation for intricate rock (post-hardcore and math alike) early emo and a punk spirit (in vocal delivery). That's not to say that these guys channel one more than another but you get a decidedly different ratio with each song while still maintaining a healthy identity. Tempo's are varied and and songs provide some nice structural surprises along the way. 

          While thinking of a apt group to lump them in with (if pressed) I'd say an alternate dimension Built to Spill if they had suckled less off the classic rock and indie of the early 80's.  Its difficult to say this especially while listening to songs like the end of Track 4 The Buildabear Group with its unabashed hardcore breakdown to liken them to an iconic indie group. For the most part riffs are the point man here which is why I think the comparison is apt. There are plenty of fantastic moments like this though that feel at home but refuse to be boxed into a "normal" genre descriptor's (Deafhaven, CT's take on shoegaze surf punk for example). 
      Its beyond a fantastic album.. period and a powerful statement for leaving at the end of their run. I always wish more groups would spend less time playing into something and exploring personal loves within a song while then moving onto the next group of idea's. MF are a prime example of this and for that reason I would recommend this to any one with a passing interest in rock music as whole.

To me this year its right up there with some of the best so far. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Codon - NODOC (2016)

       Ran across this beast of an album that..seemingly has appeared out of no where. A progressive rock and acoustic folky tinged feel litter the proceedings. Rounding out everything is some intense drumming chops. The songs are incredibly varied while still maintaining an identity all their own. If you are wondering the origin of this upon some further digging we find that this is the work of Cameron Lawrence. Who? Oh.. you know just the drummer for mega excellent Nova Scotia based Oceanic.  This is a different beast though for sure but very much in the vein of pushing progressive boundaries in unique ways.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Breakfast - Untitled (2016)

Sort of an over due post honestly.
A few years back I braved an upstate new york snow storm to see a previous incarnation of this fantastic group (along with junior bob) called Elos Arma....which I highly suggest everyone still check out.

Breakfast is made up of mostly the same crew but with the replacement of their second guitarist. A lot of the same features remain...bombastic and excellently executed vocals..a penchant for pop melodies and excellent drums. This time around Breakfast has embraced a much more... angular approach to structure which I think we can all appreciate here. Looking forward to a lot of good things in the future from these gents.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Oroboro - Demo (2016)

OroborO - Demo (2016)

Its been a bit since a three piece has really hit me with fantastically subtle instrumental math. A hard position to be in for sure to really stand out but I can safely say that after..many times through its clear that these are some real deal tunes.

Inspired and memorable guitar lines match up with occasional unexpected rhythms to really mold these three songs. The impressive aspect that keeps bringing me back in are the intelligent song structures and how the band plays with dynamics to keep things fresh and interesting. I can appreciate as well that no one instrumental (or all) are really trying to tap their way out of a cave or solo through heaven. Its a riff based affair that has a sort of 90's throw back vibe especially with some of the chordal choices and progressions but its a welcome vibe really and helps edge things into a warm nostalgic territory at times. Do yourself a favor and jump into this...

Friday, May 6, 2016

PoS Top Tens - Eyes Averted

When you talk legendary groups of Upstate New York in the realm of technical rock you often list the usual suspects ...Damiera...Zona Mexicana..Monster Machismo...Cattle Drums... (no this is not an exhaustive list)  But it did remind me when Matthew St. Laurent (of the fabulous Syracuse based Department) and Greg McClure (of Buffalo's Del Paxton) both mentioned Syracuse group Eyes Averted recently. This really got me thinking as they should rightfully hold a place with the greatest of these above groups as well

If this is a group that has slipped my mind, then its my duty to shed a bit more light onto their influences and hopefully get new people aware of this post-hardcore punk math wrecking ball. I recently reached out to the members and they were gracious enough to supply some albums that influenced them as well as a shared number one spot. It really gives an interesting view into their over all sound. Besides it being eerily close to a lot of albums I hold close there is also plenty of wrestling references. 

Steve - (Drums)

Lifetime - Jersey's Best Dancers (1997)

This record changed the way I saw music, punk rock or otherwise. For me, this record had a sense of urgency that I had never been exposed to, chordal tendencies that challenged my ear, but enough familiar aspects of many different genres to keep it digestible for me---and it all felt really honest at the same time.

Mock Orange - Captain Love (2008)

This band has always been a favorite of mine, and I've found myself growing musically in similar ways as these guys have. This was as near-perfect an indie rock record as I'd ever heard at the time, and it still comes off as this completely effortless, unique, and beautiful collection of songs that to this day I can't stop listening to.

Choke - Forward (1999)

I have to include this just because it was, at the time, kind of a defining marriage of all of the technical stuff I liked about the more progressive and heavy genres with the melody and aesthetic I loved about punk rock. It was this crazy music, but not reactionary at all---very purposeful and intricate but never over indulgent.

Gary - (Bass)

The Dillinger Escape Plan - Calculating Infinity (1999)

A timeless record that will never be duplicated. Dropped heavy music on it's face, then hit it with a flying elbow for good measure.

Converge - Jane Doe (2001)

Ruthlessly and epic-ally intense from start to finish, a la Stone Cold Steve Austin at Wrestle-mania 17

 Botch - We are Romans (1999)

Another game changer that dropped a genre on it's head, just like The Undertaker hitting Bray Wyatt with two Tombstone Pile driver at Wrestle-mania 31

Brad (Guitar)

Sunny Day Real Estate - Diary (1994)

Some people have that one song to just roll the windows down and drive for miles. This cd seems to fill most gaps in the winter, spring, summer and fall drives... But a cheese steak also fills those same gaps.


All I have to say is ..."triplets anyone?" 

Always have loved listening to and trying to create new music of all kinds. But when Crash Test Dummies' -"Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm"  isn't hitting the spot and my accordion isn't syncing up with my flanger/reverb pedal, I just relax and remember the words to "out of reach."

And the number one agreed agreed upon album by all members is...


Brad - What can I say about this record that hasn't been said countless times before. 
These guys came in and took over the emo/post-hardcore game and shocked the world, just like the time Hulk Hogan unbelievably body slammed Andre the Giant at Wrestle-mania 3

Be sure check out Eyes Averted or revisit if your out of the habit.