Sunday, November 27, 2011

Bastro - Rode Hard and Put Up Wet (1988)/ Antlers Live (1991)

If Bastro is not a band that rings familiar in your dome well that perhaps is history's fault.

Time for a little Social Studies. Open your page to 182 please and follow along. Squirrel Bait from Louisville KY an up tempo shifting rock group broke up at the end of the 80's. Skag Heaven their crowning achievement is an interesting listen today. Not for its impressive musical nature per-say but because you will consistently get the feeling you've heard it before.  This could be because many argue that the group foreshadowed the grunge and math rock movements 90's (true).  Aside from being important on their own their dissolution actually caused more of a splash than anything else.  Here's the run down and you tell me.

Squirrel Bait Members:

Peter Searcy - Vocals (Big Wheel, Starbilly)

Clark Johnson - Bass (Bastro)

Britt Walford - Drums (Slint)

Brian McMahan -  Guitar (Slint, The For Carnation, King Kong)

David Grubs -  Guitar (Bastro, Gastr Del Sol)


While most folks focus on the Louisville second coming of Jesus ( read: Slint) a lot of folks should be shifting their gaze toward the other more prominent group on this list. Bastro was certainly the more interesting of the two in my opinion. Their first EP Rode Hard and Put Up Wet (1988) is a widly pleasing  release.  Clear love of Big Black runs rampant with the the drum machine going full tilt but mathier elements do rear their head however subtle they may be. Each release after found the group settling into a post-hardcore punk style of melodic rock that smacks of the math we love today.

Sorry for being long winded but my point to this is that Bastro should be counted as the first modern math rock group. Sure we can all sit back and bandy about this influence and that influence through prog rock and modern comp but honest to flip here it is. If your still not entirely convinced check out Antlers live. released in 2005 these recordings were culled from various shows in 1991 and find the group at the end of their life span. The sound of which is true blue math in all its rough and ready glory.  John McEntire is punishing behind the kit (as well he should being a percussion major) and in my opinion the greatest of the early math drummers. Does the name sound familiar? that may be because McEntire went on to join Tortoise where he essentially became their musical leader.

If your at all interested in the roots of early math rock, or late 80's early 90's rock you can not pass this up. Seriously.



  1. i dig the Acey history lessons; thanks mang, lots to cover but will be diving into it soon. Keep up the awesomeness.

  2. Seconded. Solid gold blogging right here.