Math and Physics Club

Last updated
Math and Physics Club
Origin Seattle, Washington, United States
Genres Indie pop, twee pop
Years active2004-present
LabelsMatinee, Tragadiscos
  • Charles Bert
  • Ethan Jones
Past members
  • James Werle
  • Kevin Emerson
  • Saundrah Humphrey
  • Andrew Blakehall

Math and Physics Club are an American indie pop band based in Seattle, Washington, United States. Its members are Charles Bert (vocals, rhythm guitar) and Ethan Jones (bass, keyboards). James Werle played lead guitar until he died in 2018. [1] Kevin Emerson (drums) continues to play on recordings though no longer a full time member of the band. [2] The band has released three EPs and four full-length albums on Santa Barbara-based Matinee Recordings, with UK distribution on Fika Recordings. [2] They are often associated with Australian labelmates The Lucksmiths [2] and twee pop band Tullycraft, and Pitchfork Media described their work as "music to hold hands to" [3] after The Lucksmiths' song on the album "Why That Doesn't Surprise Me".



Math and Physics Club began as a basement project for longtime friends Charles Bert (vocals) and James Werle (guitar). Their first release was a digital-only single on Comfort Stand Recordings which featured an early version of the song "Graduation Day", along with a b-side titled "Everybody Lies". Both songs featured keyboards by early collaborator Andrew Hall, according to the Comfort Stand web site, and who is also credited with playing keyboards on two songs on their first EP, and is credited as a co-writer with the band on the song "Nothing Really Happened" on their third EP. By mid-2004, the band's lineup featured Kevin Emerson on drums, Saundrah Humphrey on violin, and Ethan Jones on bass. The band's initial demo attracted the attention of both Jimmy Tassos of Matinee Recordings and the influential KEXP DJ John Richards. As they played their third show in December, they were already receiving considerable attention, including frequent spins on KEXP.

The four-song EP Weekends Away was released in February 2005 and received heavy radio play on stations such as KEXP and WOXY, picking up several reviews from the indiepop press. By late spring the band finally had a handful of shows under its belt, including a few West Coast stops with new labelmates The Lucksmiths, and an appearance at the annual Sasquatch! Music Festival (headlined by the Pixies). The Movie Ending Romance EP was released in July 2005 to further reviews and growing live audiences. The audience at the San Francisco Pop Festival saw them perform 'A is for Alphabet' with Razorcuts leader Gregory Webster on vocals.

In September 2005, the band enjoyed playing to a packed crowd at Seattle’s Bumbershoot music festival. Shortly afterward, the band began recording their debut LP Math and Physics Club which was released a year later in October 2006, meriting a favorable review from Pitchfork Media [3] and named "Best Indie Pop Album of 2006" by PopMatters. [4] The band's third EP Baby I'm Yours was unveiled on October 1, 2007 with a short tour through southern California. Saundrah left the band in late 2007, and drummer Kevin Emerson left the band officially shortly thereafter, although he has continued to drum on their recordings. In the summer of 2009, they began recording their second full-length album at Jupiter Studios in Seattle with producer Martin Feveyear (Mark Lanegan, Presidents of the USA), which emerged in June 2010 as I Shouldn't Look As Good As I Do. Bassist Ethan Jones toured with indie-rock three-piece Eux Autres briefly between 2010 and early 2011, playing shows supporting Wild Flag on the West Coast of the US, and touring the UK, France and Italy.

In the Summer of 2011, Math and Physics Club toured the UK for the first time, with stops in Glasgow, Manchester, London, Nottingham and at the Derby-based Indietracks festival. In August 2012, they began recording their third LP in at K Records' Dub Narcotic Studio, with Bob Schwenkler engineering. On January 23, Matinee Recordings announced on their Facebook page that this material would be released in 2013 as Our Hearts Beat Out Loud. The group's fourth album, Lived Here Before, was released on January 26, 2018. [5]

Bert and Werle were both raised in Olympia, Washington, home of K Records and Kill Rock Stars, and they soaked up a thriving indie music scene. [6] Before convening Math and Physics Club they were in a band called Drive Car Girl (named after a Beat Happening song). They played about a dozen shows at local clubs and coffee houses with a set of 12-15 original songs, along with covers of songs by REM, Nancy Sinatra and Kraftwerk. Former members of Drive Car Girl include Brent Cole Whats Up Magazine and Sean Berry Double Crown Records. Elsewhere, Ethan shared guitar chords with high school friend Carrie Brownstein and later, as a student at The Evergreen State College featured in Jenny Jenkins' musical "Love Is Stupid" opposite Mirah. Ethan also began the Internet's first Beach Boys related mailing list, called "surfsup", in January 1994. [7]

James Werle died of cancer in September 2018. [8]


Math and Physics Club can be seen as musical descendants of C86 and Sarah Records although no formal connection exists. They are also influenced by The Softies, The Smiths, The Stone Roses, The Posies, Belle and Sebastian, Beat Happening, and The Lucksmiths.






Related Research Articles

Twee pop is a subgenre of indie pop that is thought to originate from the 1986 NME compilation C86. Characterised by its simplicity and perceived innocence, some of its defining features are boy-girl harmonies, catchy melodies, and lyrics about love. For many years, prominent independent record labels associated with twee pop were Sarah Records and K Records.

The Lucksmiths

The Lucksmiths were an Australian indie pop band formed in March 1993 by Marty Donald on guitar, Mark Monnone on bass guitar and Tali White on drums and lead vocals. Louis Richter joined on guitar in 2005. They released eight studio albums, First Tape, The Green Bicycle Case, What Bird Is That?, A Good Kind of Nervous (1997), Why That Doesn't Surprise Me, Naturaliste, Warmer Corners and First Frost (2008), before disbanding in August 2009.

Darren Hayman British singer-songwriter

Darren Hayman is an English singer-songwriter and guitarist. He is best known as the writer, lead singer, and guitarist in Hefner. Since Hefner disbanded in 2002, Hayman has embarked on a prolific solo career releasing twelve albums under his own name and appearing on albums by Papernut Cambridge, Rotifer and The Great Electric. He has regularly worked with The Wave Pictures, producing an album for them, directing three of their music videos and briefly employing them as his backing band. In January 2011 Hayman recorded and released a song every day in the month of January, working with many collaborators. Hayman also paints and has exhibited his work at exhibitions about animals in space and racing dogs.

Three Imaginary Girls is a Seattle-based website that showcases the music of the Pacific Northwest. Self-described as "Seattle's sparkly indie-pop press", since its founding in 2002, the site has featured hundreds of reviews of albums, live music, film, theater, interviews, political commentary, and even love advice, in Seattle and beyond.

Bunnygrunt are an American indie pop band from St. Louis, Missouri composed of guitarist/vocalist Matt Harnish and drummer Karen Ried.

Tender Trap

Tender Trap are an indiepop/twee pop band, based in London (UK), formed in 2001 by three of the five members of Marine Research - Amelia Fletcher, Rob Pursey, and John Downfall.

Sera Cahoone American singer-songwriter

Sera Cahoone is an American singer-songwriter from Seattle, Washington. Cahoone's music combines elements of classic country-western and modern indie rock and lo-fi music. She is also well known for her work as a drummer, especially with the bands Carissa's Wierd and Band of Horses.


Tullycraft is an American indie pop band from Seattle, Washington, United States, who formed in 1995. They have been associated with the genre of twee pop; in fact, they are considered to be one of the true pioneers of the American twee pop movement. They are known for their DIY ethic, only releasing albums on independently owned and operated record labels.

Institut Polaire were an indie band originating from Perth, Western Australia.

The Guild League were an Australian indie pop band which included material from rap style to a cappella works. They were led by Tali White on lead vocals, initially as a side project, from 2001. They released three albums Private Transport (2002), Inner North (2004) and Speak Up (2008). In 2012 the group disbanded but occasionally reformed for one-off performances.

The Little Ones is an indie pop band based in Los Angeles, California. The music of the band, which features tambourines and handclaps, has garnered comparisons to 1960s pop bands such as The Beach Boys, The Zombies, The Kinks, modern-day pop group The Shins, and the Elephant Six collective.

The Lonely Forest is an American indie rock band from Anacortes, Washington with two EPs and four studio albums. In 2011 lead singer, John Van Deusen, was selected for Seattle Weekly’s best male vocalist award and the band appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. The group went on indefinite hiatus in 2014.

Math and Physics Club is the self-titled debut album from Seattle, Washington indie rock band Math and Physics Club. The album was recorded over two days in early June 2006 at Seattle's Avast! Recording. Kevin Suggs, known for his work with Cat Power and The Walkabouts, as well as for engineering live sessions for KEXP, engineered and co-produced the sessions.

<i>Baby Im Yours</i> (EP) 2007 EP by Math and Physics Club

Baby I'm Yours is the third EP from Seattle, Washington indie pop band Math and Physics Club.

Movie Ending Romance is the second EP from Seattle, Washington indie pop band Math and Physics Club. Released in July 2005, it followed their debut EP Weekends Away by just five months.

<i>Weekends Away</i> 2005 EP by Math and Physics Club

Weekends Away is the first EP from Seattle, Washington indie pop band Math and Physics Club and was released in February 2005.

Cher Doll Records is a small independent record label founded in Seattle, Washington, by Nancy Ostrander in 1993. The label released records for several indie-pop bands, including Neutral Milk Hotel's first single.

The Blakes

The Blakes are an American indie rock band from Seattle, Washington. The band had several independent releases before signing to Seattle record label Light In The Attic, and then had two more studio releases: The Blakes LP and Streets EP. After that they had two more independent releases in 2009: Lights On EP and Souvenir LP.

<i>Lost in Light Rotation</i> 2013 studio album by Tullycraft

Lost in Light Rotation is the sixth studio album from indie pop band Tullycraft. After a three-year hiatus, the album was the band's first since Every Scene Needs a Center in 2007.

Blooper is an American indie and garage rock band from Seattle, consisting of Adriano Santi, Chris Mac and Chris Quirk. The band plays a style of garage rock with strong surf music and powerpop influences. Blooper was formed in 2011 and have so far released 4 EPs.


  1. Headley, Janice (September 24, 2018). "R.I.P. James Werle of Math & Physics Club". KEXP.
  2. 1 2 3 Asher, Tizzy (2006-11-17). "Math and Physics Club". Seattle Post-Intelligencer . p. 18.
  3. 1 2 Hogan, Marc (2006-12-05). "Math and Physics Club". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on 2008-04-07. Retrieved 2008-06-10.
  4. Heaton, Dave (2006-12-13). "Best Indie-Pop of 2006". PopMatters . Retrieved 2008-06-10.
  5. "Lived Here Before, by Math and Physics Club". Fika Recordings. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  6. Asher, Tizzy (2005-07-22). "Night life: The club scene". Seattle Post-Intelligencer . p. 5.
  7. "PSML: Pet Sounds Mailing List". Archived from the original on October 30, 2001.
  8. Headley, Janice (September 24, 2018). "R.I.P. James Werle of Math & Physics Club". KEXP.