Thursday, January 16, 2014

Vintage Math Rock: Boston 1990's - early 2000's

First of all this article is a sort of a lead in to an article that will be up soon but also a continuation of this "Math Rock Mystery" in it we sort of unearthed a forgotten group from the Boston area called "Pizza". In the following I will be covering a great web of artists that are all interconnected with this group..follow me.

active 1999 - 2001
Members included:
Dan McCarthy (drums)
Justin Joyce (Guitar)
Fin Moore (guitar)
Scott Buoncristiano (bass)

So for the sake of the article we are going to start with these guys (ps click the band name for a link to a video or in this case the album download...hosted by the way by the groups drummer) Any who I've been in contact with Fin from the group who had this to say about the groups formative beginings.

"The early songs were written acoustically by Moore( Diamond Nights, Robots) and Joyce while standing on the coffee table at 40 Gordon st. Allston ma.(the painted lady) from late summer to the end of fall of 1999 at which point it was decided to introduce an electric sound. McCarthy(Helms, Dagobah, Challenger) filled the position on drums while Scott B (Challenger, Intendo) bused up once a week from cap cod to operate the bass."

"Scott and Justin came up with the name pizza i think because it was sharp, catchy and had humor attached to it. The band was very short lived, it seemed like the second it took off and people gained interest it lost fuel and deteriorated."

Fin Moore

Hmm so in other words it looks as though there are a few other groups mentioned here lets dig a little deeper...

active: mid 1990's
Members Included:
Paul Joyce (bass, vocals)
John McWilliams (guitar, vocals)
Dan McCarthy (drums)

Killer group that has a sort of updated Rodan/Slint feel with the speed and calculations of math rock. With a little digging you can find several albums from this three piece. It's worth noting also a familiar last name up there...yep Joyce. Paul is Justin Joyce's (Pizza) brother.

something remarkable about this is its just Dan and Paul playing...

active 1997
Members Included:
Tina McCarthy BASS(maiden name Helms..) husband of....
Sean McCarthy (guitar/vocals)
Dan McCarthy (drums).

So basically as Dagobah was ending for Dan, Tina and Sean's band had lost there drummer thus the three formed Helms. A much more mellow group than the previous...think hypnotic post-rock, great drums and spoken word. 


 active 1997-1998
 Members Include:
 Dan McCarthy (drums)
 Scott Buoncristiano (bass)
 Paul Joyce (guitar)

So by now your begining to see the trend I'm getting at all of these bands feature Dan on drums and its easy to see that he is an incredibly versatile drummer with some varying styles being repped. Challenger is my favorite of the bunch for a few reasons. One, this albums feels just as urgent and fresh as anything today except it was written in 1997. Now you go find me some math from that time and compare..theres honest to god not much that can compare. granted this was re-mastered which could have helped in this but these songs are incredible. Here we see Paul stepping away from bass and front and center.

Also worth noting is Paul Joyce was also the bassist in the seminal math rock group Lynx with now Battles axe slinger Dave Konopka. Hows this? well Lynx was very much a Boston group before they packed their bags and moved to the Chicago area. 

Hope you fine folks enjoyed the history lesson and found some new groups to look into from the past. Thanks as well to Fin Moore for reaching out and giving me some perspective on his role with Pizza.

Next up?
My mini- interview with Scott Buoncristiano:
"Pizza vs Don Caballero".....?!?!
Stay Tuned :)

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