Big Scary Monsters Records
Alpha Male Tea Party are a self confessed “fucking loud instrumental band” from Liverpool who have released their sophomore album, Health, today, the 23rd June 2017, via Big Scary Monsters Records. Their latest full length follows on from their 2014 debut album, Droids, and in the three years between their studio releases Alpha Male Tea Party have been steadily touring the UK and Europe, all the while steadily building an ever increasing following for the their unique sonic delivery.
Have You Ever Seen Milk? kicks things off with a surprisingly mellow start with complex structures and timing changes, but this really is the calm before Alpha Male Tea Party unleash a storm, and the storm duly arrives in the shape of the pulverising Ballerina. Health carries obvious influences from the likes of Everything Everything and Deftones, along with a distinct math rock influence, but with no vocals to interrupt, or be fitted into, the flow Alpha Male Tea Party can focus purely on the musical structure, and as complex as they can be, and it might sound weird for an instrumental math rock album, but this doesn’t come across as the self indulgent exercise that you would expect.
The lack of vocals will be offputting for some, but as they are an instrumental band this can’t really be used a criticism, although for me you do feel like there are stages when the vocals would naturally flow into a song, and their absence does leave you with the unsettling feeling that something is missing, but that’s more due to what I’m used to rather than any fault on the part of Alpha Male Tea Party. This won’t be everyone’s cup of tea by the very nature of the album, but if you want a unique approach to math rock that is delivered with the heaviness and attitude of alt rock then Alpha Male Tea Party do bring something unique to the genre.
Health can be ordered via Big Scary Monsters Records here
Big Scary Monsters Records / Top Shelf Records / Bakuretsu Records
Japanese trio Tricot released their third album, 3, yesterday, the 19th May 2017, on Topshelf Records in the US, Big Scary Monsters in the UK and their own Bakuretsu Records label in Japan. Japan is a country that has form for unique bands, whether it’s the insanity of Mad Capsule Markets, the sugary punk of Shonen Knife or the bubblegum pop metal of BabyMetal, and I would certainly add Tricot to that list with their pop tinged combination of math rock and punk
Opening track Tokyo Vampire Hotel hits you with frantic math rock beats combined with a pop sensibility and punk intensity and from this point on you have no idea what to expect from Tricot. 3 varies constantly in style and approach, from the full tilt punk influneced blasts to mellower melodic moments that incorporate an almost jazz influenced style, all the while possessing the complex structures that are associated with math rock, but it’s all delivered in such a way that you don’t find yourself lost in an endless interchangable array of timing changes and technical exercises. The album is sung entirely in Japanese but oddly the language barrier doesn’t impact on your enjoyment of what is a bubbly and effervescent interpretation of math rock.
If three is indeed the magic number then the Japanese trio have certainly banked on that, with 3 being their third album and it being released simultaneously via three record labels on three continents. 3 is an infectious effervescent and original variation on math rock, this is usually a genre that I struggle to warm to as the band’s are frequently obsessed with turning their recordings into lengthy technical exercises, but that isn’t the case with 3, this oddly infectious and charming release is a perfect example of how to take a collection of random ingredients, including a few that I normally find unpalatable, and create something irresistible.
Tricot will be appearing at the ArcTanGent Festival in Bristol on 17th – 19th August with further UK tour dates to follow
3 can be ordered via Big Scary Monsters Records here (UK) and via Top Shelf Records here (USA)
Hailing from Leuven, Belgium, Brutus create a pummelling, meteor-shower of sound, they mix intense black metal blast beats and math-rock flourishes with brash post rock tones and hardcore punk intensity, to make make a sound as monolithic and frantic as it is emotive and unique. Stefanie Mannaerts delivers both the beats and the vocals, a delivery that to me seems reminiscent of Penetration‘s Pauline Murray, alongside guitarist Stijn Vanhoegaerden‘s ethereal treble laced style and Peter Mulders’ powerful sub-frequency bass lines. Burst was released yesterday, the 24th February, and is now available via digital platforms, and on physical formats via Hassle Records.
Frantic opener March means that Burst hits the ground with pounding drums and a driving technical riff that’s juxtaposed against a soaring female vocal, this segues into All Alone that delivers more of the same, intricate riffs played at breakneck pace that are overlaid with an emotive female vocal, one that carries melody and sweetness one second and abruptly switches to a vocal straining rasp the next. This style occupies much of the album but there are tracks that deviate from their genre spanning hybrid, Drive stands out on the album, with it’s revved up post punk style and echo drenched guitars, a track that hints at an influence from the likes of The Chameleons, whilst the atmospheric Bird brings a more reflective downbeat element to the mix.
Brutus‘s sound spans everything from rock and punk through to math rock and hardcore, this kind of marriage is a hard trick to pull off, yet Brutus have managed it without breaking sweat. There are constant changes in the timing and pace, often during a single track, if this had been a straight up full tilt assault it would have become a repetitive technical exercise, but the creativity and unpredictability contained on this album mean that Brutus have delivered something unique on their debut release. The intensity of hardcore is married to the technical elements of math rock and the attitude and delivery of post hardcore to create a deceptively subtle and melodic debut release, one that simultaneously manages to be brash and heavy, making Burst an impressive and original debut
You can order Burst from iTunes here or from the band’s official store here
Minnesota’s Tiny Moving Parts have announced a slew of new headlining tour dates today, alongside their previously announced Fall tour with Touche Amore and Culture Abuse. The new dates include support from Microwave, Movements, My Iron Lung, and A Will Away. Their tight, mathy post hardcore pop punk combination shows their skills in spades, their live show is frenetic, their musical prowess is impressive and the complexity of their songs makes it difficult to believe there are only three of them onstage.
Tour dates can be viewed below and tickets will be on sale on September 23 at 12pm local time here Read More…
A Will Away
, Culture Abuse
, Math Rock
, My Iron Lung
, Tiny Moving Parts
, Touche Amore
Deep Cuts Don't Keep The Mansion Running
Odd Dates are a duo from Michigan, consisting of Jeremy Dye and Sam Padalino, that have been collaborating together for over a decade. Deep Cuts Don’t Keep The Mansion Running is a self released album, meaning they are doing things completely on their own terms and this album is a testament to a DIY spirit. Accompanying this spirit of independence is the fact Odd Dates are a band that utterly defy categorisation, their compositions are an interesting cocktail of styles, there are elements of hardcore, math rock, punk, emo, indie and pretty much everything else in sight. These ingredients are all poured together to create a chaotic and genre spanning full length.
The guitar style changes and flows throughout the album, whilst they claim to have a math rock influence this doesn’t fall into the usual trap of being an elaborate guitar jam, there are snatches of the complex riffs that are a trademark of Mathcore but these are blended with other styles and approaches. The track Games is a blend of this matched with a hardcore vocal delivery, one that spits venom and ends with a heartfelt fuck you. The album continues to veer randomly between styles, indie, emo and even touches of pop punk also creep into the album, and just when you think they’ve crossed every genre they can, you get the get thrown another curve ball, the track Wasting is one of the most experimental tracks you’ll hear this year.
Deep Cuts Don’t Keep The Mansion Running is a unique album made by people who are fiercely defiant and independent, an album as diverse as this is never going to be to everyone’s taste on every track, and it certainly wasn’t in my case, but there are tracks that will be appreciated and I can certainly appreciate a spirit of independence when I hear it. If you want to hear something that has it’s own distinct style and refuses to be pinned down then you might well want to investigate Odd Dates.
Deep Cuts Don’t Keep The Mansion Running will be released on July 22nd 2016 and can be ordered direct from the Odd Dates here
Sargent House Records
TTNG, formerly known as This Town Needs Guns, are a trio from Oxford, England, the change of name was necessitated as their appeal grew beyond the UK to countries where their name would have have unfortunate connotations and associations. The band has been existence since 2004 and Tim Collis, lead guitar, is the only remaining member from the original line up, the current formation is augmented by Chris Collis, drums, and Henry Tremain who has swapped roles over the years, but he seems to have settled on bass and vocal duties. Disappointment Island is their third album and follows from 2013’s sophomore album, 220.127.116.11.0.
As with many math rock releases Disappointment Island boasts complex melodies, TTNG top off the complex guitar work with slightly off key emo vocals and a gentle yet relentless drumbeat that manages to keep up with the endless time changes that are a hallmark of math rock. As with other releases of this genre, the lack of variety on Disappointment Island means that I find the songs merging into each other and it becomes a long technical guitar exercise. Destroy The Tabernacle is the highlight on here, it boasts a strong bass line which adds weight to the complex guitar work but it isn’t enough to draw me into the album. TTNG are clearly very proficient musically, and as they’re on their third album and have a US tour lined up maybe it’s just me, as they must be doing something right.
For me this is an appropriately titled album, I don’t see the appeal, to me math rock resembles prog rock with a short attention span, the focus seems to be on making thing as complex as possible and showing your musical proficiency, regardless of whether it’s musically appealing. If you are a fan of TTNG or math rock in general then you should check out Disappointment Island but I’m booking the first flight off the island.
Disappointment Island can be ordered here
TTNG‘s website which has details of their upcoming US tour can be found here