|Cultural origins||Late 1980s, United States and Japan|
Math rock is a style of progressive and indie rockwith roots in bands such as King Crimson and Rush as well as 20th-century minimal music composers such as Steve Reich. It is characterized by complex, atypical rhythmic structures (including irregular stopping and starting), counterpoint, odd time signatures, angular melodies, and extended, often dissonant, chords. It bears similarities to post-rock.
Math rock is typified by its rhythmic complexity, seen as mathematical in character by listeners and critics. While most rock music uses a 4/4 meter (however accented or syncopated), math rock makes use of more non-standard, frequently changing time signatures such as 7/8, 11/8, or 13/8.
As in traditional rock, the sound is most often dominated by guitars and drums. But drums play a greater role in math rock in providing driving complex rhythms. Math rock guitarists make use of tapping techniques and loop pedals to build on these rhythms, as illustrated by songs like those of 'math rock supergroup' Battles.
Lyrics are generally not the focus of math rock; the voice is treated as just another instrument in the mix. Often, vocals are not overdubbed, and are positioned less prominently, as in the recording style of Steve Albini, or Rolling Stones producer Jimmy Miller. Many of math rock's most well known groups are entirely instrumental such as Don Caballero or Hella.
The term began as a joke but has developed into the accepted name for the musical style. One advocate of this is Matt Sweeney, singer with Chavez, a group often linked to the math rock scene.Another influence is Canadian indie rocker Dan Snaith, who earned a PhD in mathematics from Imperial College London. Despite this, not all critics see math rock as a serious sub-genre of rock.
A significant intersection exists between math rock and emo, exemplified by bands such as Tiny Moving Partsor American Football, whose sound has been described as "twinkly, mathy rock, a sound that became one of the defining traits of the emo scene throughout the 2000s."
The albums Redby King Crimson and Spiderland by Slint are generally considered seminal influences on the development of math rock. The Canadian punk rock group Nomeansno (founded in 1979 and inactive as of 2016) have been cited by music critics as a "secret influence" on math rock, predating much of the genre's development by more than a decade. An even more avant-garde group of the same era, Massacre, featured the guitarist Fred Frith and the bassist Bill Laswell. With some influence from the rapid-fire energy of punk, Massacre's influential music used complex rhythmic characteristics. Black Flag's 1984 album, My War , also included unusual polyrhythms.
The most significant Japanese groups include Ruins, Zeni Geva, Boredoms, Aburadako, Tricot, and Doom. Yona-Kit is a collaboration between Japanese and U.S. musicians. Other Japanese groups which incorporate math rock in their music include Ling tosite Sigure, Toe, Zazen Boys, Lite and Mouse on the Keys. Skin Graft Records and Tzadik Records have released Japanese math rock albums in the United States.
Bands such as Because of Ghosts, The Sinking Citizenship, and My Disco emerged in the early 2000s in Melbourne.
The European math rock scene started in the late 90s to early 2000, including bands such as Adebisi Shank (Ireland), Kobong (Poland), The Redneck Manifesto (Ireland), Three Trapped Tigers and TTNG (United Kingdom) and Uzeda (Italy). Foals (England) was formed in 2005.
Bands from Washington, D.C. include The Dismemberment Plan, Shudder to Think, Hoover, Faraquet, 1.6 Band, Autoclave, later Jawbox, and Circus Lupus. Polvo of Chapel Hill, North Carolina is often considered one of the cornerstones of math rock, although the band has disavowed that categorization.
In California, math rock groups from San Diego include Upsilon Acrux, Drive Like Jehu, Antioch Arrow, Tristeza, No Knife, Heavy Vegetable, and Sleeping People. Northern California math rock bands included Tera Melos, Game Theory and The Loud Family, both of the latter led by Scott Miller, who was said to "tinker with pop the way a born mathematician tinkers with numbers".The origin of Game Theory's name is mathematical, suggesting a "nearly mathy" sound cited as "IQ rock."
By the turn of the 21st century, most of the later generation bands such as Sweep the Leg Johnny had disbanded and the genre had been roundly disavowed by most bands labeled with the "math rock" moniker [ citation needed ]. Bands in the late 1990s and 2000s, such as TTNG and American Football, began combining math rock and emo, creating a much more vocally oriented sound.
In the mid-2000s, many math rock bands enjoyed renewed popularity. Slint and Chavez embarked on reunion tours, while Shellac toured and released their first album in seven years. Don Caballero reunited with a new lineup and released an album in 2006, while several of its original members joined new projects, such as the band Knot Feeder.
... its seven-minute Metal dirges and Fusion-style time signatures confused many fans.
Progressive metal is a broad fusion music genre melding heavy metal and progressive rock, combining the loud "aggression" and amplified guitar-driven sound of the former with the more experimental, cerebral or "pseudo-classical" compositions of the latter. One of these experimental examples introduced to modern metal was djent. The music typically showcases the extreme technical proficiency of the performers and usually uses unorthodox harmonies as well as complex rhythms with frequent meter changes and intense syncopation.
Indie rock is a genre of rock music that originated in the United States and United Kingdom in the 1970s. Originally used to describe independent record labels, the term became associated with the music they produced and was initially used interchangeably with alternative rock or "guitar pop rock". In the 1980s, the use of the term "indie" started to shift from its reference to recording companies to describe the style of music produced on punk and post-punk labels. During the 1990s, grunge and punk revival bands in the US and Britpop bands in the UK broke into the mainstream, and the term "alternative" lost its original counter-cultural meaning. The term "indie rock" became associated with the bands and genres that remained dedicated to their independent status. By the end of the 1990s, indie rock developed several subgenres and related styles, including lo-fi, noise pop, emo, slowcore, post-rock, and math rock. In the 2000s, changes in the music industry and a growing importance of the Internet enabled a new wave of indie rock bands to achieve mainstream success, leading to questions about its meaningfulness as a term.
Alternative rock is a category of rock music that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1970s and became widely popular in the 1990s. "Alternative" refers to the genre's distinction from mainstream or commercial rock or pop music. The term's original meaning was broader, referring to a generation of musicians unified by their collective debt to either the musical style or simply the independent, DIY ethos of punk rock, which in the late 1970s laid the groundwork for alternative music.
Slint was an American rock band consisting of Brian McMahan, David Pajo (guitar), Britt Walford, Todd Brashear, and Ethan Buckler. They formed in Louisville, Kentucky, United States, in 1986. Slint's first album Tweez was recorded by engineer Steve Albini in 1987 and released in obscurity on the Jennifer Hartman Records label in 1989. It was followed two years later by the critically acclaimed Spiderland, released on the independent label Touch and Go Records.
Polvo is an American indie rock band from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The band formed in 1990 and is fronted by guitarists/vocalists Ash Bowie and Dave Brylawski, with Steve Popson playing bass guitar and Brian Quast playing drums. Eddie Watkins was the band's original drummer, but did not rejoin the band upon its reunion in 2008, after breaking up in 1998.
Screamo is an aggressive subgenre of emo that emerged in the early 1990s, emphasizing "willfully experimental dissonance and dynamics". It was pioneered by San Diego bands Heroin and Antioch Arrow and developed in the late 1990s mainly by bands from the East Coast of the United States such as Orchid, Saetia, and Pg. 99. Screamo is strongly influenced by hardcore punk and characterized by the use of screamed vocals. Lyrical themes usually include emotional pain, death, romance, and human rights. In the 21st century, the term "screamo" has often mistakenly been used as an umbrella term for any music that features screamed vocals.
Spiderland is the second and final studio album by the American rock band Slint. Touch and Go Records issued the album on March 27, 1991, as the band's first release on the independent label. Slint's lineup featured Brian McMahan on vocals and guitar, David Pajo on guitar, Todd Brashear on bass guitar, and Britt Walford on drums. Walford also performed lead vocals and guitar on the track "Don, Aman". Brian Paulson engineered the album, which comprises six songs across approximately 40 minutes.
Post-hardcore is a punk rock music genre that maintains the aggression and intensity of hardcore punk but emphasizes a greater degree of creative expression initially inspired by post-punk and noise rock. Like post-punk, the term has been applied to a broad constellation of groups. Post-hardcore began in the 1980s with bands like Hüsker Dü and Minutemen. The genre expanded in the 1980s and 1990s with releases by bands from cities that had established hardcore scenes, such as Fugazi from Washington, D.C. as well as groups such as Big Black and Jawbox that stuck closer to post-hardcore's noise rock roots. In the 2000s, post-hardcore achieved mainstream success with the popularity of bands like My Chemical Romance, Dance Gavin Dance, AFI, Underoath, Hawthorne Heights, The Used, At the Drive-In and Senses Fail. In the 2010s, bands like Sleeping with Sirens and Pierce the Veil, both of which being labeled as post-hardcore, achieved mainstream success. Meanwhile, bands like Title Fight and La Dispute experienced underground popularity.
Mathcore is a subgenre of hardcore punk and metalcore influenced by post-hardcore, extreme metal and math rock that developed during the 1990s. Bands in the genre emphasize complex and fluctuant rhythms through the use of irregular time signatures, polymeters, syncopations and tempo changes. Early mathcore lyrics were addressed from a realistic worldview and with a pessimistic, defiant, resentful or sarcastic point of view.
Melodic hardcore is a broadly defined subgenre of hardcore punk with a strong emphasis on melody in its guitar work. It generally incorporates fast rhythms, melodic and often distorted guitar riffs, and vocal styles tending towards shouting and screaming. Nevertheless, the genre has been very diverse, with different bands showcasing very different styles. Many pioneering melodic hardcore bands, have proven influential across the spectrum of punk rock, as well as rock music more generally. The term "melodic punk" is often used to describe both melodic hardcore and skate punk bands.
The White Birch is the second and final album by the New York City band Codeine. Released in April 1994, the album is considered by many to be the band's best album and a clear influence on Low, among other bands.
Brian Paulson is an American musician, record producer and audio engineer from Minnesota, best known for recording albums by Slint, Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt and Wilco.
Emo pop is a fusion genre combining together emo and pop punk. Emo pop features a music style with more concise songs and hook-filled choruses. Emo pop began in the 1990s with bands like Jimmy Eat World, the Get Up Kids, Weezer and the Promise Ring. The genre became mainstream in the early 2000s with Jimmy Eat World's album Bleed American, including the album's song "The Middle". In the 2000s, other emo pop bands that achieved mainstream success included Fall Out Boy, the All-American Rejects, My Chemical Romance, Panic! at the Disco and Paramore. The popularity of emo pop declined in the 2010s, with some prominent artists in the genre either disbanding or abandoning the emo pop style.
The following is a comprehensive discography of Slint, an American math rock band which formed in 1986. The band has released two studio albums and one EP.
Tera Melos is an American band from Sacramento, California formed in 2004. They incorporate many styles of rock, ambient electronics and unconventional song structures. They are currently a three-piece, consisting of guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Nick Reinhart and bassist Nathan Latona, as well as drummer John Clardy who joined the group in 2008. Tera Melos play a brand of music characterized by quickly alternating rhythmic patterns, start-stop dynamics, improvisation, two-handed tapping on the guitar, extended open-ended bridges, and the use of effect pedals and samplers. Though the band has typically eschewed the label of math rock, they are considered recent innovators of the genre.
The emo revival is an underground emo movement which came about in the early 2010s. Groups of the emo revival largely abandon the style of mid 2000s emo in favor of a style influenced by that of 1990s emo acts.
Midwest emo refers to the emo scene and/or subgenre that developed in 1990s Midwestern United States. Employing unconventional vocals stylings, distinct guitar riffs and arpeggiated melodies, Midwest emo bands shifted away from the genre's hardcore punk roots and drew on indie rock and math rock approaches. According to the author and critic Andy Greenwald, "this was the period when emo earned many, if not all, of the stereotypes that have lasted to this day: boy-driven, glasses-wearing, overly sensitive, overly brainy, chiming-guitar-driven college music." Midwest emo is sometimes used interchangeably with “second-wave emo”.
Breadcrumb Trail is a 2014 documentary film directed by Lance Bangs on the Louisville, Kentucky band Slint.
Emo rap is a fusion genre of hip hop and emo that originated in the SoundCloud rap scene in the mid-late 2010s. The genre fuses characteristics of hip hop music, such as beats and rapping, with the lyrical themes, instrumentals, and vocals commonly found in emo music. The genre also takes influence from genres of rock such as indie rock, dream pop, grunge, pop punk and nu metal as well as hip hop elements from trap music, cloud rap and alternative hip hop. The term is sometimes conflated with "SoundCloud rap".