Monday, April 23, 2007
Polvo - Today's Active Lifestyles (1993)/Oxford Collapse - Remember the Night Parties (2006)
What's this? A double post?!! That's right. 1 album from 1993 + 1 album from 2006 = Math Rock then and now. Polvo were one of the foremost exponents of the Math Rock subgenre in the mid 90's, as well as a crucial part of the fertile Chapel Hill, NC indie scene. Their layered guitars, odd time signatures, dissonant chord structures, and predisposition for noisy (albeit melodic) songs, built them a cult following in the underground art/indie rock scene. Today's Active Lifestyles is Polvo's second LP, and for the adventurous listener it's well-worth hearing. There is a bit of something for "everyone", from the clattering, distorted guitar jabs of opener "Thermal Treasure", to the loping, quasi-psychedelic ramblings of "Lazy Comet".
Oxford Collapse is a band of young men from Brooklyn (of course). This is their third album, and first for the almighty Sub Pop label. Though Oxford Collapse is by no means a Math Rock outfit first and foremost, there are moments throughout this excellent album that recall the off-kilter explosiveness of those bands. "For the Khakis and the Sweatshirts" bears the imprint of bands like Polvo, with its vaguely Eastern, winding guitar lines, and heavily accented rhythms. There are also whiffs of another Chapel Hill group: The indie rock heavyweights and Tigers-of-Love-approved Archers of Loaf . Times being what they are, though, this record is much more pop accessible than most 90's Math Rock. The single, "Please Visit Our National Parks", is built on a insistent guitar riff that gives way to catchy hook and sing-a-long chorus. Check out the video for this song, featuring sheep and a seriously malfunctioning walkman: Here. This is a band to watch, as they only seem to get better with each album.