Over the summer, Permanent Records here in town announced that they would release an extremely limited LP by Black Math. They only pressed 100 copies, and in their awesome newsletter, they stressed that they would be gone soon. The next day, I took a bus down Chicago Ave. and bought one. I’d never heard the band before, so I don’t know why I bought it. Blind devotion, I suppose.
When I got home, I wasn’t ready for what I heard when I dropped the needle. The Chicago band had created an album that was a deep, drone-filled, haunting series of recordings that sound like the simplest, most primitive elements behind what Robert Smith or Siouxsie Sioux were doing. They’re exactly what I’d come to expect from a band with a release on Permanent: spooky, weird, and surprisingly brilliant. I hope they make more pressings of that thing. It needs to be heard.
Black Math – “Part of Me” (from Black Math EP)
Black Math will be at The Hideout on Saturday (Nov. 21) with Cave, Cacaw and Mako Sica to celebrate the 3rd Anniversary of Permanent Records. They’re also playing at WNUR at 4 p.m. that day. Here’s their list.
1) OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark) – “Messages” (single) – “This is the band who did ‘If You Leave’ from the Pretty in Pink soundtrack. I don’t know if this is my favorite OMD track, but for a long time it was; when those drums come in it’ll put a smile on your face.” – Jimmy
2) R. Stevie Moore – “Forecast” (from Phonography) – “Don’t know a whole lot about R. Stevie Moore really, but I’ve got a handful of great little pop songs from him. This one has been coming up lately and sounding good. I always like hearing the line about the local Nashville weatherman Bob Lobertini freezing his….uh…weenie.” – Andrew
3) Out Hud – “Hair Dude, You’re Stepping on My Mystique” (from S.T.R.E.E.T.D.A.D.) – “The songs on this instrumental album are fun and catchy but also have that good kind of harshness that keeps the music interesting. Because this album is the perfect mixture of electronic, dance, and experimental rock (and has electric cello!), it is one of my seminal albums – and the only instrumental album that I hold so dear. The cello playing on this album exposed me to how subtle cello riffs could emulate synthesized sound effects, which really adds a simple and necessary layer to each song. I chose the most upbeat track of the bunch here and I usually choose this one when I make mix tapes for people because it’s such a fun dance number and the electric cello does rock on this one. – Xina
4) Guided By Voices – “Motor Away” (from Alien Lanes) – “Currently reading a Guided By Voices biography has caused me to go back to my favorite album they recorded, Alien Lanes, for a soundtrack. I love how this song begins. The first chord hit makes it sound like someone dropped the song on a table in front of you. It’s such a solid, triumphant, power chord pop song with wonderfully nimble vocals- or as Robert Pollard describes it: It’s another one of those ‘fuck you’ songs.” – Andrew
5) Siouxsie and the Banshees – “Arabian Knights” (from JuJu) – “‘I heard a rumour, what have you done to her?’ Probably one of the creepier/catchier lyrics we’ve ever had stuck in our heads. Siouxsie Sioux is a force and an international treasure!” – Jimmy/Xina
Black Math – from their blog