This Tortoise album is definitely not my favorite. I thought they were post-hardcore, but I guess not. Kraftwerk, Pink Floyd and Bruce Springsteen are mentioned in the write-up on Bandcamp, which gives an idea of where this album is going. Yeah, yeah, yeah, they said “inspired by”, but honestly if I wanted to listen to Kraftwerk I would, and they are better at their sound than anyone else is anyway. This is one of those albums that is a flop because the artists got too artistic, 70%.
Math Rock for today’s post comes in the form of Chapter Books and their album Too Strong from 2014.
Math rock with vocals, most of the vocals are screamed in a hardcore/ post hardcore manner, which is a good thing. Jangly guitar riffs playing back and forth with the screamed fury of hardcore, reminds me of high school and DIY shows, 83%.
Recently I did a post about DJ Johnny Peel and found that he was way too big a personality to cover in just one post, so I decided to embark upon a series of posts based on the artists he recorded over his lengthy career. He recorded so many notable artists that the Wiki page alphabetized the list of them. Someone said that he was basically “the man” in rock music for about a decade. So, using that Wiki list as a roadmap, this is the second post of the Peel session series.
At the top of the list are the 90 day men recorded by Peel back in February of 2001, towards the later part of his career. 90 day men is a math rock band with post-hardcore leanings, admittedly, I hadn’t heard of them before but this live recording of them is pretty good. Their sound is exactly what one would expect from the genre tags though far from being generic. Guitar riffs playing off the drums, appealing and rhythmic, there isn’t much not to love about this live album even with the muddy recording, 90%.
Post Hardcore/ Screamo… For those unfamiliar, Screamo is a sub-genre of Hardcore and Emo originating in the mid 90’s with bands such as Carlisle and the scene had largely faded within a decade. The lyrics are screamed while the instrumentals slide between East Coast Hardcore and (early) Emo. Abrasive and somewhat harsh, Screamo is a bit of an acquitted taste, but in the mid and late 90’s Orlando had a decent music scene and I heard a lot of music that I grew to like later, such as this genre.
We Never Learned To Live is new Post Hardcore/ Screamo from Brighton, UK with this self titled album released last month available streaming and for free download via Bandcamp… Awesome. For what it is, one has to be a fan of Hardcore to appreciate this album, but it explores new territory perfectly within the boundaries of Post Hardcore/ Screamo. It is impressive to come out with a relevant album fifteen years after the genre’s heyday, especially a debut album. 88%.
Here is the Russian Circles/ These Arms Are Snakes split, a good introduction to both bands for those who haven’t heard of them before.
Russian Circles is instrumental post-rock, slightly heavy and bassy, and from Chicago. Awesome music, and a good example of the sounds that emerge from the Chicago music scene.
These Arms Are Snakes is a post-hardcore/ math rock band, their riffs are catchy, the lyrics are hardcore influenced and the drums are along the lines of math rock, very good if you like that sound, which I do.
I would recommend this split, and I put up YouTube links for the whole thing also, in addition to the download link. Enjoy.
Rapeman is a math rock/ post hardcore/ noise rock/ art rock band from Chicago, getting their name from a Japanese comic… (Wiki) Yeah, I am not getting the name, just a guess, but it seems like one intended for shock value.
Aside from the name rapeman has a jangly sound and song structure that amiss them a bit difficult to listen to at times. But definatly different and worth the hard drive space.
Obscure math rock, so obscure that I can’t seem to find a download for this album but I did manage to find one for another of their other albums, Flies The Fields (download).
Originally formed to make music for the National Public Radio show This American Life in the fall of 1996 (Wiki) this is another random tag discovery out of Chicago with the math rock/ post-rock/ post-hardcore genre labels.
Mellow mood music that isn’t dominated by vocals, the initial incarnation involved Jason Nobel and Jeff Mueller, both from the band Rodan, with the other two members being recruited later. Unfortunately Nobel died this year cancer at the age of 40…
Shellac is post-harcore/ math rock from Chicago, formed in 1992 that conciders themselves “minimalist rock trio”, which I would call them minimalist post-harcore, I’m not really seeing the math rock part because of the drums.
Whatever genre label one wishes to attach this is a band that has been around for twenty years and doubtlessly will still be listened to twenty years from now. This is a band that has a talent and quality that is well ahead of the time, but just as obviously a product of its time with a balance between minimalistic riffs and slowed-down hardcore.
(This is another recent discovery for myself via the wonders of the Wiki and YouTube)
Tortoise is a post rock band from Chicago playing instrumental music with many different elements, influences and styles, as is apparent in this video; jazz, electronica, Wiki explains how this band gained attention early on because they were one of the first to step away from the strictly rock and roll influences and start incorporating other sounds into “Indie” music. And they have two drummers playing facing each other, which allows for more complex songs.
Besides for all that they are almost an “Indie” supergroup and were noticed from the start because of this, evidently, because this is a band that I have heard about for quite some time but never listened to, so this is new to me also.
I put the Ska and Rocksteady Thursdays on hold, in part, to expand my horizons beyond the same music I have been listening to for years, and this is a perfect example of that idea paying off; Tortoise has an awesome and unique, almost jam-bam sound and I see why I have heard so much about them.