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.