Lost Classics: Rachel’s “The Sea And The Bells”

tapem200bThey’re nobody’s buzz bands anymore. But since 1993, MAGNET has discovered and documented more great music than memory will allow. The groups may have broken up or the albums may be out of print, but this time, history is written by the losers. Here are some of the finest albums that time forgot but we remembered in issue #75, plus all-new additions to our list of Lost Classics.

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:: RACHEL’S
The Sea And The Bells // Quarterstick, 1996
Neo-classical? Avant-chamber? Pre-rock? No one has ever been able to determine what genre of music this instrumental Louisville, Ky., collective played. There’s the modern-classical feel of 1995’s Handwriting, the chamber pop of 1996’s Music For Egon Schiele, the minimalist experimentation of 1999’s Selenography and the post-rock beauty of 2003’s Systems/Layers. But Rachel’s—pianist Rachel Grimes, bassist/guitarist Jason Noble, violinist Christian Frederickson and assorted friends and neighbors—were most impressive on The Sea And The Bells. Inspired by a collection of poems by Pablo Neruda, the album features 15 guest musicians, giving Rachel’s the opportunity to venture into full-blown orchestra territory. At turns classical, experimental, jazzy, ambient and avant garde, this hour-long set is unlike anything you’ve ever heard.

Catching Up: After collaborating and staging a multimedia piece with New York City theater company SITI in 2005 and 2006, Rachel’s went on hiatus. Noble plays in Shipping News, and Frederickson has recorded with Mission Of Burma and Matt Pond PA; the two formed the Young Scamels in 2007.

“Rhine & Courtesan”:
http://magnetmagazine.com/audio/RhineAndCourtesan.mp3

Lost Classics: godheadSilo “Skyward In Triumph”

tapem200bThey’re nobody’s buzz bands anymore. But since 1993, MAGNET has discovered and documented more great music than memory will allow. The groups may have broken up or the albums may be out of print, but this time, history is written by the losers. Here are some of the finest albums that time forgot but we remembered in issue #75, plus all-new additions to our list of Lost Classics.

:: GODHEADSILO
Skyward In Triumph // Sub Pop, 1996

godhead390The mid-’90s are often characterized as Sub Pop’s fallow period, a time when the label tried to shield itself from the post-grunge bust by diversifying its holdings. However, its most enduring acts from the era weren’t the ones with the most immediate pop appeal but those embodying a more caustic, confrontational ethos: Six Finger Satellite, Earth and, the most punishing of the bunch, North Dakota duo godheadSilo. Skyward In Triumph’s toxic sludgefests were astonishing not just for their torturous abrasion, but their instrumental economy as well; bassist Mike Kunka and drummer Dan Haugh preached a philosophy of maximal minimalism that’s informed everything from the avant-metal contortions of Lightning Bolt to the thrash disco of Death From Above 1979. But nothing can prepare you for 11-minute monstrosity “Guardians Of The Threshold,” more than half of which consisted of a piercing, repeated note that would have even My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields plugging his ears and begging for mercy.

Catching Up: godheadSilo disbanded following 1998’s less momentous Share The Fantasy. Kunka formed Enemymine (which briefly featured Low’s Zak Sally) before reuniting with Haugh (who was in a band called Dirty Knives) in 2004 to back former Murder City Devil Spencer Moody in Smoke And Smoke. Haugh now plays with Time Promises Power.

“Booby Trap”:
http://magnetmagazine.com/audio/BoobyTrap.mp3

Lost Classics: The Go “Whatcha Doin'”

tapem200bThey’re nobody’s buzz bands anymore. But since 1993, MAGNET has discovered and documented more great music than memory will allow. The groups may have broken up or the albums may be out of print, but this time, history is written by the losers. Here are some of the finest albums that time forgot but we remembered in issue #75, plus all-new additions to our list of Lost Classics.

:: THE GO
Whatcha Doin’ // Sub Pop, 1999

go280Bands from across the globe have pledged allegiance to the Detroit rock flag, but when you need some serious Motor City mojo, you’d better call a local. Which is what Sub Pop did in 1999, signing these Detroit natives on the strength of their incendiary live performances. Featuring guest Jack White, produced by Outrageous Cherry’s Matthew Smith and engineered by Jim Diamond,Whatcha Doin’ slinked and swaggered like a streetwalkin’ cheetah, its live vibe making it a leather-jacketed mash-up of Fun House and Kick Out The Jams.

Catching Up: The Go issued a self-titled LP and the vinyl-only Supercuts in 2003 and Howl On The Haunted Beat You Ride four years later. Robert Pollard handpicked the group to open the final Guided By Voices show in 2004.

“It Might Be Bad”:
http://magnetmagazine.com/audio/ItMightBeBad.mp3

Lost Classics: Number One Cup “Wrecked By Lions”

tapem200bThey’re nobody’s buzz bands anymore. But since 1993, MAGNET has discovered and documented more great music than memory will allow. The groups may have broken up or the albums may be out of print, but this time, history is written by the losers. Here are some of the finest albums that time forgot but we remembered in issue #75, plus all-new additions to our list of Lost Classics.

:: NUMBER ONE CUP
Wrecked By Lions // Flydaddy, 1997

number-one-cup400Unfairly pegged as a junior-league Pavement, Chicago’s Number One Cup distinguished itself from other genre coattail-riders by rocking a little harder and being just a tad more artsy-fartsy. The quartet’s Wire-loving core members—Seth Cohen (guitar, keyboard, vocals), Pat O’Connell (ditto) and Michael Lenzi (drums, vocals)—dialed down some of the overt slack-rock moves on sophomore effort Wrecked By Lions, amping up the power and refining the pop to magnificent effect.

Catching Up: After the release of 1998’s excellent People People Why Are We Fighting?, Number One Cup disbanded. Cohen and Lenzi played together in both X-Vessel and the Fire Show; Lenzi issued three EPs and one full-length as Resplendent; and O’Connell unplugged to a new career as an acoustic fingerpicker.

“So Inclined”:
http://magnetmagazine.com/audio/SoInclined.mp3

Lost Classics: Spain “The Blue Moods Of Spain”

tapem200bThey’re nobody’s buzz bands anymore. But since 1993, MAGNET has discovered and documented more great music than memory will allow. The groups may have broken up or the albums may be out of print, but this time, history is written by the losers. Here are some of the finest albums that time forgot but we remembered in issue #75, plus all-new additions to our list of Lost Classics.

:: SPAIN
The Blue Moods Of Spain // Restless, 1995

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The Blue Moods Of Spain demonstrated what happened when the son of a jazzbo set forth to create a downcast, West Coast take on pure atmosphere. The cover art’s Blue Note quotation and Spain bandleader/bassist Josh Haden’s kinship to Ornette Coleman bassist Charlie Haden put the preconception of “jazz” on the tip of many listeners’ tongues. But Blue Moods was less about improvisational flair than it was about evoking a smoky, confessional vibe. Thankfully, all that ambience was backed up by considerable chops and Haden’s bottom-of-the-bottle baritone. Despite its immersion in the hipster Silverlake scene of the early ’90s (which included That Dog, featuring Haden’s sisters, Petra and Rachel), Spain had little patience for indie-rock preciousness.

Catching Up: Spain released two more albums before disbanding in 2001. In addition to various solo projects, Haden has collaborated with the Blue Man Group, Handsome Boy Modeling School, Donovan and others. Guitarist Merlo Podlewski has appeared on albums by Jack Johnson and Handsome Boy Modeling School. Haden has resurrected the Spain moniker and has plans for a new album and tour.

“Ten Nights”:

Lost Classics: Space Needle “The Moray Eels Eat The Space Needle”

tapem200bThey’re nobody’s buzz bands anymore. But since 1993, MAGNET has discovered and documented more great music than memory will allow. The groups may have broken up or the albums may be out of print, but this time, history is written by the losers. Here are some of the finest albums that time forgot but we remembered in issue #75, plus all-new additions to our list of Lost Classics.

:: SPACE NEEDLE
The Moray Eels Eat The Space Needle // Zero Hour, 1997

spaceneedle360During its 1994-97 existence, this Long Island outfit only mustered two albums before falling victim to label ineptitude and commercial indifference. Space Needle seemed disorganized, at one point overlapping with Reservoir (drummer/vocalist Jud Ehrbar’s solo vehicle) and Varnaline (guitarist/vocalist Anders Parker’s extracurricular gig). Yet by the time of The Moray Eels, Ehrbar, Parker and guitarist Jeff Gatland had achieved a visionary, vision-inducing sound. Gone was the lo-fi bedroom prog of 1995’s Voyager; in its place were 13-minute skronk fests, Frippertronic-esque reveries and violin-laced indie pop. That The Moray Eels was delayed for a year while Roger Dean dithered over sleeve art depicting dragons flying over a moonscape, though, seemed emblematic of Space Needle’s fortunes.

Catching Up: Ehrbar recorded two Reservoir records and played on most of Parker’s releases, but he’s been quiet of late. Parker issued four albums as Varnaline and two under his own name and collaborated with Son Volt’s Jay Farrar as Gob Iron; he has four new albums in the can awaiting release details. A Space Needle retrospective, Recordings 1994-1997, was released in 2006.

“One Kind Of Lullaby”:
http://magnetmagazine.com/audio/OneKindofLullaby.mp3

Lost Classics: Ex Models “Other Mathematics”

tapem200bThey’re nobody’s buzz bands anymore. But since 1993, MAGNET has discovered and documented more great music than memory will allow. The groups may have broken up or the albums may be out of print, but this time, history is written by the losers. Here are some of the finest albums that time forgot but we remembered in issue #75, plus all-new additions to our list of Lost Classics.

:: EX MODELS
Other Mathematics // Ace Fu, 2001

ex-models350bFor all the hype surrounding Brooklyn’s jittery post-punk revival after the turn of the millennium, breakout band the Yeah Yeah Yeahs turned out to sound pretty normal. Ex Models, on the other hand, jabbed in all directions: speed-metal drumming, hairpin tempo turns, skronky thrash guitar and Shahin Motia’s Devo-like yelped vocals. And despite the tightest, loudest live set this side of Shellac, Ex Models couldn’t compete with budding scene personalities Karen O and Angus Andrew (Liars). Other Mathematics, the trio’s debut, featured 13 songs—most under two minutes—that sounded like a metallic blitzkrieg on the Talking Heads’ catalog. It was either a migraine or an adrenaline rush.

Catching Up: Ex Models issued two subsequent albums, 2003’s Zoo Psychology and 2005’s Chrome Panthers, and a tour documentary about the band is in the works—view the trailer. Three Ex Models (Shahin and Shahryar Motia, plus drummer Zach Lehrhoff) also record and perform as noise-metal outfit Knyfe Hyts; two of the group’s self-released CD-Rs are being reissued by Jagjaguwar on vinyl, and three new Knyfe Hyts singles are due soon. Lehrhoff is currently playing bass in Pterodactyl, whose sophomore album, Worldwild (Brah), will be released April 21.

“Girlfriend Is Worse”:
http://magnetmagazine.com/audio/GirlfriendIsWorse.mp3

Lost Classics: Velocity Girl “Copacetic”

tapem200bThey’re nobody’s buzz bands anymore. But since 1993, MAGNET has discovered and documented more great music than memory will allow. The groups may have broken up or the albums may be out of print, but this time, history is written by the losers. Here are some of the finest albums that time forgot but we remembered in issue #75, plus all-new additions to our list of Lost Classics.

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:: VELOCITY GIRL
Copacetic // Sub Pop, 1993

Just when young, disaffected males had cornered the market on angsty yowling and bad clothing, Velocity Girl—a group of sun-drenched, pop-rock heroes fronted by Sarah Shannon—emerged. Dripping her sweet, wiry alto over tinny, feedback-laden guitars, Shannon charmed fans by commanding the middle ground between straight-up garage rock and saccharine twee pop. 1993’s Copacetic was, at the time, the second-highest seller in Sub Pop history behind Nirvana’s Bleach, helping to nudge the label out of its rather snug-fitting niche and giving a generation of young female rock fans a strong, sexy role model.

Catching Up: The band split in 1996 after two more albums. Shannon founded the short-lived Starry Eyes before going solo; her latest LP, City Morning Song, was issued in 2007. Guitarist Archie Moore was in the Heartworms from 1994 to 1998, and his current band, the Saturday People, most recently issued a self-titled EP in 2003. Drummer Jim Spelllman fronted Julie Ocean and got Tasered on CNN.

“Crazy Town”:

Lost Classics: The Glands “The Glands”

tapem200bThey’re nobody’s buzz bands anymore. But since 1993, MAGNET has discovered and documented more great music than memory will allow. The groups may have broken up or the albums may be out of print, but this time, history is written by the losers. Here are some of the finest albums that time forgot but we remembered in issue #75, plus all-new additions to our list of Lost Classics.

glamdsa544c:: THE GLANDS
The Glands // Capricorn, 2000

There was a brief window in the early aughts when The Glands seemed to have legs. College radio had taken notice, and the Shins were in the midst of their unlikely ascent, giving smart, detail-oriented pop groups hope of hitting similarly modest pay dirt. It wasn’t to be, of course, but not for want of hooks. Frontman Ross Shapiro’s dry wit and languid delivery couldn’t hide the giddy spark on these traditionally structured but entirely non-formulaic creations. The Glands’ sophomore album rocked convincingly, lilted winningly, grooved unabashedly and serenaded inscrutably. There was little the Athens, Ga., group couldn’t do, except perhaps find a stable record company. The first issue of The Glands was on soon-to-fold Capricorn. The next stab was via non-starter Velocette. There were a few tours, rumors of a follow-up and, finally, sustained silence.

Catching Up: The Glands partially recorded a third album but are on a prolonged hiatus. Evidently, they are missed.

“Swim”:
http://magnetmagazine.com/audio/Swim.mp3

Lost Classics: Chavez “Ride The Fader”

tapem200bThey’re nobody’s buzz bands anymore. But since 1993, MAGNET has discovered and documented more great music than memory will allow. The groups may have broken up or the albums may be out of print, but this time, history is written by the losers. Here are some of the finest albums that time forgot but we remembered in issue #75, plus all-new additions to our list of Lost Classics.

:: CHAVEZ
Ride The Fader // Matador, 1996

chavez380“It was the worst experience of my entire life,” said Chavez frontman Matt Sweeney in a 1996 interview with MAGNET about the recording process behind Ride The Fader. The sessions for the band’s second album were strained by proximity issues (bassist Scott Marshall was often unavailable, due to his other career as a director/actor), but more profoundly by lengthy and unrewarding sessions with producer Bryce Goggin. Though two of Goggin’s tracks wound up on the album, the bulk of Fader emerged from a 10-day stint with John Agnello. The result was a fiery and disjointed album, destined to reward the men of Chavez with the fame the indie press had advocated for them. Alas, it wasn’t to be. The band’s brief tours were fiscally and psychologically draining, leading to the conclusion that Chavez just wasn’t worth continuing.

Catching Up: Fader and 1995’s Gone Glimmering were repackaged together by Matador in 2006 as Better Days Will Haunt You, and Chavez has played live as recently as three years agoSweeney has collaborated with Neil Diamond, Dave Grohl, Billy Corgan, Will Oldham, Cat Power and others; Marshall, despite directing 2007 Jessica Simpson bomb Blonde Ambition, still works in Hollywood; guitarist Clay Tarver co-wrote 2001 film Joy Ride; and drummer James Lo has played with Baby Dee.

“Unreal Is Here”:
http://magnetmagazine.com/audio/UnrealIsHere.mp3