Friday, June 15, 2007


Cryptooology (2004)
Skin Graft Records
St. Louis, MO

Cryptooology is not only one of the strangest and greatest albums in my collection, but it is also exists as some kind of bizarre historical achievement fulfilled on behalf of mankind. Seconds into this half-hour long CD may seem like an incomprehensible mess of clangy guitars and close-mic drums. But by record's end the listener may in fact conclude that Cryptooology was created under the rules of another sort of civilization, one vastly different than the one we're used to, the one that includes, let's say, the Nuge or Rivers Cuomo.

It may at first feel like some nonsensical, improv free-jazz, but you will discover upon dissection that it is actually very precise and very deliberate. There are definite structures to the songs, though none of them at all are immediately recognizable. The two guitars are coordinating in some way, but that way is possibly not musical. It seems beyond musical. Perhaps meta-musical. You might think at points that there is no logic to any of it, but keep at it and the drummer will assure you, he knows exactly what is happening. He is so dead-on and so precise that you feel embarrassed to have ever attempted to tap your foot to anything audible in your life.

After a few listens you really begin to think about how the three-piece went about writing this album. Crafting it part by part, and then piecing it all together seems like an enormous task, and for that alone Cryptooology is admirable. But the record also boasts some more important qualities. It really conveys such a sense of other-worldliness and appears so devoid of human fingerprints that it must be some sort of milestone of creativity for the sub-genre at least, if not music as a whole. Perhaps that is egregious flattery, but until some new record convinces me otherwise, Cryptooology is as creative as it gets.

Here is the first track:

And a Myspace page.

Monday, June 11, 2007


Songs on Love, nos. 48602-48608 (1997)
Baltimore, MD
Where ever it is that Haberdasher exists in space-time, it is at the onset, or Day 1, of my exposure to eclectic and innovative guitar/bass/drums music. I was 17 in 1997, still a very impressionable age, when I saw them live. And although it took years to fully ferment, it is clear now, that an incurable poisonous seed was sewn that night, a decade ago.
While still not entirely certain that I had understood what I had just seen, I remember finding the drummer after their set, caked in sweat and bleeding. His hands were shaking wildly, as I tossed some bills on the table and grabbed their CD. Songs on Love nos. 48602-48608. All the tracks were numbers:
The record begins with drums that sound like the stumbling of a dying man from a pool of his own blood. It's a slow spooky burner that builds itself over the course of five minutes to resemble some sort of out-of-control machine that either must engulf or destroy everything in it's path before it erupts in it's final cacophonous seconds. The next few tracks have all the themes of a classic odyssey, enriched by cold, eerie, guitar structures (that perhaps owe a small debt to Spiderland), and hemmed with a bit of poetry. There are brief moments of light on this record that can often be found snaking between the darker things. But these rewards will only reveal themselves when the listener decides to listen vigilantly, as it seems the album relies on it's subtlety as much as it relies on it's drama. From beginning to end, the instrumentation on the record achieves a level of restraint where most albums fail. All the instruments are all equally focused on their common agenda and loyally march towards it as one.
Sadly, this was Haberdasher's only full length LP. There are still available a 7" (the 'Quarry' 7") and a few tracks off of some old compilations, but Songs on Love is clearly the desired intention of the brief project that was Haberdasher. The band split up not long after this release. 3/4 of this outfit went on to become the whole of More Dogs, while 1/4 went on to become 1/3 of OXES.

Monday, June 4, 2007


S/T (2000)
Box Factory Records

Out of print.

Not too much information is available on Lynx. I've been able to establish that the band had it's origins in Boston and subsequently moved to Chicago possibly aspiring to latch on to the tail end of the area's Math-rock "scene". They released one self-titled album, recorded by Bob Weston, and an EP (though I've never seen it) on the now defunct label Box Factory Records, which put out material by the likes of Emperor Penguin, Oxes, and The 90 Day Men.

Dave Konopka, Paul Joyce, Dale Connolly, Mike Hutchins.

Lynx has experienced a mild resurgence of attention lately with the recent successes of Dave Konopka's newest project, Battles, alongside ex-Don Cab member Ian Williams. I've not been able to dig up any post-Lynx material by the other three.

The album is entirely instrumental, but retains a narrative throughout. Similar to a Don Cab record like American Don in the sense that it offers a pleasant mix of mathy elements and melody. Yet unlike Don Cab, Lynx never loses focus of its themes, and never becomes so cluttered. It is a clean math album. It is deliberate. There are angular and dissonant moments, but they are rare and brief. It is a math record mostly on it's creative and versatile use of rhythms, driven by excellent drumming. From beginning to end it is an ideal illustration of the limitless capacity of the guitar/bass/drum genre, composed with a vengeful sense of discipline to achieve epic ends. One of my favorite records.

This track "Mrs. Lynx" is featured both on the EP and the full-length. This recording is taken from the EP, and is a fair representative of the band's tone and mood. In the opening minutes, the instruments will flex their muscle, showing you what they are capable of. From there, the track begins its slow evolution into an anthemic climax.

Mrs. Lynx

Other Mp3's are available here. The CD is normally available at Amazon or Ebay. Sometimes as much as $50.00 sometimes as little as $2.50. Or if you email me I'll send you a link

Edit: A Myspace page.