Don Caballero 2 (1995)
Though Don Caballero hate being called math-rock, it is their work which has become the definitive sound of the genre. I would even go so far as to say that all instrumental rock bands with off kilter time signatures and electric guitars sounds kind of like Don Cab. I'd even go a step further and say that no mathematically minded instrumental rock band has broken free of that comparison. So great was Don Cabs contribution to confusingly dense rock that it will be years yet before someone comes along and we can describe them without having to mention their forefathers in Pittsburgh.
So, I am sure some of you are saying, "Well, theres Hella". Yeah, theyre good. they sound like Don Cab. "Well, what about Pele?". Yeah theyre god too. Like Don Cab lite.
"Okay, Fine. What about the current crop of math rock bands, Piglet, Giraffes? Giraffes! and SWIMS? Huh?!". Oh, I love those bands. They have that Don Cab sound that I love! "Fuck man, well what about the Russian Circles, huh? They dont sound like Don Cab". True, but only when they are post-rocking it up. As soon as they land in a heavy riff with some choppy drumming, its back to Don Cab. Except none of those bands has Damon Che as a drummer. Ha!
Anyway. Heaps of praise on Don Cab. Damon Che is a certified octopus. He actually has eight arms and plays two drums sets at a time. Ian Williams, guitar (now in Battles), plays the guitar like its a piano, gettin all Thelonius up in this shit, throwing out block chords and the strangest progressions. Mike Banfield must also be commended, as an original member he is doubtless a big part of the Don Cab sound.
Don Cab 2 is where it all came together for them. They stretched out their compositions, adding more experimentation, specifically in the way Ian plays his guitar, which is mostly a finger tapping technique used in Metal guitar solos. None of the music is improvised and is all, in fact, completely arranged, which goes to show the tightness of the unit as a whole. That they could actually write out these hulking, angular pieces is testament to the influence of Math on Music. The bands humour is evident in song titles such as No One Gives a Hoot About Faux-Ass Nonsense, or my favorite, Rollerblade Success Story. This is a trend that they continued til the present.
Don Cab 2, What Burns Never Returns and American Don are all incredible classics. Even the most recent Don Cab, World Class Listening Problem, is a great listen. Damon Che is now the only member left, reforming Don Cab with members of Creta Bourzia, a band who was clearly influenced by the great Don Cab. Find all of their records on Touch and Go and look out for live shows. They wont be as incredile as the original line up, but you can still see Damon Che flailing like a coked-up cephalopod.