Rodan, Upsilon Acrux, Hella

Song #1

Rodan isn't so much obscure as ignored. It's easy to namecheck general favorites Slint on your top 50 list, but Rodan was simply a better band. There's no doubt that you'll find similarities between the fellow Kentuckians' projects, but it would be hard not to be influenced by Slint to some degree in 1991 if you live in the same town. "Gauge" is probably my favorite track on their only proper release, Rusty, with much more interplay between the band's vocalists than all of the other tracks. It's too bad Rodan didn't hang together long enough to make more records, but Rusty is alright on it's own.

Please tell me if you ever see a proper copy of this around, because I sure couldn't find it the last time I was in Louisville.

Rodan - "Gauge"

Song #2

Upsilon Acrux's heavily video game influenced 2004 album Volucris Avis Dirae-Arum was one of my favorite releases last year. Without falling into nostaligia, Upsilon Acrux genuinely do sound like early 90's era video game music and not by electronic bleeping and blooping or retro sound chips. Their songs actually hearken back to that sort of Japanese composition technique of repeated and similar melodies that was popular due to the limitations of NES sound. It's no coincidence that the themes from Rygar and Castlevania stick in your head after all these years, because they are obviously very catchy and unique. Just listen to this and you'll understand what I'm talking about.

Upsilon Acrux - "Night of the Goblin"

Song #3
Hella are similar in some ways to Upsilon Acrux, but instead of playing tight and melodic, Hella play fast and loose, in sometimes a such a haphazard way that it keeps them from being pegged as gimmicky math-rock. Hella are actually more like a version of Lighning Bolt for dorks. It's not as noisy but probably twice as strange. Their 2004 effort The Devil Isn't Red is just a damn fun record to take a walk to.

Hella - "Top Twenty Notes"


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