Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Do the Math: Kidcrash

In this age of genres and sub genres Math rock has got to be my favorite. At its core this genre is nothing more than an updated version of the same music Frank Zappa and the prog rockers of the 1970's were playing. Kidcrash certainly incorporate elements of Zappa's music into their own. They also follow the same noisy path as At The Drive In/The Mars Volta/Sparta to whom they compare favorably.

Math rock is a guitar & drum based style that flows along a complex jazz like groove. The drums are more prominent in this style, with the interplay between the drummer and guitarists the foundation of the sound. It's the stylistic difference between it and other styles, vocals and lyrics are just a small part of the mix. Unlike, Shoegaze or Emo-Screamo which tend to showcase the singers with the band doing little more than laying down a backing track. 

Math rock is today's thinking man's rock music, which was the role of musicians like Frank Zappa, King Crimson, Gentle Giant etc. in their day. It's defined by hard rock instrumentation, complex stop and go rhythmic changes, with the instrumental interplay carrying the melody rather than the vocals. The most devoted Math Rock bands don't even bother with a singer, preferring the instrumental approach. 

The genre's name comes from the (mathematical) complexity of the music, its asymmetrical time signatures and syncopated meters. Or, you can believe Matt Sweeney, singer for math rock pioneers Chavez.  He claims that a friend of his would bust out a calculator and start calculating just how good he thought their music was... as a way of making fun of them. 

Complicated like algebra and mind boggling like trigonometry, but you don't need a calculator to know how good Kidcrash is. They are an experimental post hardcore / emo / screamo / math rock / mathcore band..(say that three times and Cedric Bixler-Zavala will magically appear)  Kidcrash started out in Santa Fe in 2000 (they're now based in Portland) Over the years they've maintained the same line-up. (Alex Gaziano, John Gee, Kevin Brouse & Buster Ross) This stability shows in their music, they are fucking tight, both in the studio and on the stage. 

Alex is also known for having recorded an ep with Zach Condon "Small Time American Bats" shortly before Kidcrash was formed. A recording that didn't offer any clues as to the direction both would take.  Much has been said about the band's change in "sound" after the "New Ruins" album in 2004. Which was more a result of their label Lujo Records screwing them over than any artistic differences. The dispute over I-Tune sales forced the band to ask fans not to buy the mp3 tracks, but rather download the entire album from their website. To this day all of the band's music is available for download either for free or for a donation... by all means please donate.

Kidcrash went from emocore to math rock, the band's subsequent releases Jokes (2007) and Snacks (2009) showed the band evolving into a cohesive and mature unit. It gets harder to pull off the whole Emo thing as you get older, what with beer guts sagging over skinny jeans, porn star mustaches and full beards.  Plus, no matter what anybody thinks Chuck Taylors look stupid on men pushing 35 (I'm looking at you Jim Ward) With this in mind, Kidcrash have grown up, they've put their sad eyed ways behind them, even if their fans haven't.    

this ain't your typical pretty boy emo band