Posts Tagged ‘Faye Records’

The Great Brain

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Ray / Half-Decayed 7″
Faye Records, 1995

We live in weird times. Record shops close by the dozen, but there’s vinyl at your local Best Buy and nearly every obscure, fractionalized sub-genre that sputtered through speakers for a few brief moments over a decade ago in maddeningly short supply gets resurrected and posted by one of a handful of people who remember or at least give a shit. So while I mourn the closing of many record stores and often long to flip through the stacks of those long-gone music mini-meccas, I’m also grateful to live in a day and age when a lazy Google search or bumbling web surfing yields a score that many years of crate digging never procured. Such is the case with this long lost math rock group, The Great Brain, whose Algorithm CD I came across while catching up on some of the fine postings over at Built On A Weak Spot. For years, I anxiously awaited an album by this Chicago group after hearing this 7″ release, but I never kept tabs on them in those dark, pre-internet days, so I never even knew that they’d managed to get an album out. At the time, the midwest was full of math rock bands usin’ their noggins to complicate and control the energy of hardcore punk with deconstructed riffs precisely arranged and played with a musical virtuosity that most punk bands couldn’t (or wouldn’t) achieve. What makes The Great Brain noteworthy is that they were able to keep a frayed, loose edge to their sound that most bands of similar ilk would smooth and/or polish over. Their sound has a gut-level umph to it that many bands of the genre lacked. “Ray” falls somewhere in between the loose jangle of Pavement and the jazzy aggressiveness of St. Louis greats The Dazzling Killmen, pairing catchy choruses with shouted bursts of nervy noise. The flipside, “Half Decayed,” completely ditches any hint of math rock with wavering twangs of oddball guitar that simmer into a straight-up, collegiate guitar rager. Check ‘em out, and if you’re ready to hear The Great Brain get Captain Beefheart weird on you, give their Algorithm CD a spin…

The Great Brain – “Ray”
The Great Brain – “Half-Decayed”

The Great Brain’s Algorithm at Built On A Weak Spot