Tera Melos to release Patagonian Rats
Tera Melos are up to something different... something devious... something infectious: the long-running Sacramento punk-jazz trio are unleashing rats this fall. Not literally, but Patagonian Rats the band's first proper full-length, which is packed with wily melodies and scurrying rhythms.
Artist: Tera Melos
Title: Patagonian Rats
Release date: 09/7/10
Label: Sargent House
Buy at: Amazon
Have Tera Melos gone pop? Well, no....but yes. Much like the band's intricate and complex song structures, it's not quite that simple. Tera Melos' songs have traditionally been densely packed with so many wild shifts of time signature and chord structures that guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Nick Reinhart jokes they were sounds that, "only wizards could decipher."
Patagonian Rats is packed with melodic hooks and jabs that on paper might seem to defy the band's experimental edge. There's even clear and distinct vocals throughout -- a first for the band, where vocals, if any, were previously awash with distortion and layered in the mix. But, particulars aside, Patagonian Rats is the type of album that sticks with you.
Occasionally, "pop" music has really meant daring music. Like the Beach Boys in the late 60s, The Clash in the 70s, Devo in the 80s, Flaming Lips in the 90s -- the greatest artists have dared to make music that is hooky while also being groundbreaking. Patagonian Rats evokes images of bizarre and fantastic alternate realities. Think about the first time you heard "Good Vibrations" by the Beach Boys; jarring collisions of a cappella harmonies, tremolo-washed bass and chirping theremin. The key is not to understand it, but to let the music transform everyday reality into something new. And, that is the essence of Patagonian Rats.
The album opens with whispered vocals and waltzing organ notes of 35-second intro, "So Occult" that just barely settles in before abruptly tumbling into the blitzkrieg haunting refrain of "Kelly". The latter a simple, ascending riff of phased-out guitar, reverb-drenched vocals and marching rhythms that plays out like that single line from a favorite pop song that gets stuck in your head, constantly on repeat. "The Skin Surf" juts in to the proceedings, quickly shifting to a frenetic Black Flag-meets-the-Ventures wrestling match that truly showcases the impeccable musicianship of Reinhart, bassist Nathan Latona and drummer John Clardy. "All my friends will try and say," Reinhart sings -- not so much with foolhardy bravado, but rather as if from the view of eternity. Elsewhere, "Trident Tail" evokes Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd; the music is studious and deliberate, while also infectious and hummable.
Tera Melos formed in 2004 as a quartet, releasing their first self-titled disc in 2005 (later re-released by Sargent House in 2008). The band became a trio in late 2006, releasing the all-instrumental Drugs to the Dear Youth EP early the following year. A split disc with By The End of Tonight (2007) on Temporary Residence and an EP of cover songs, Idioms, Vol 1 followed in 2009. In the meantime, Reinhart collaborated with prolific drummer Zach Hill under the band name bygones, releasing the by- album in 2009 and Spiritual Bankruptcy EP in 2010, both on Sargent House. Clardy has also recently spent downtime as the touring drummer with guitar goddess Marnie Stern.
Patagonian Rats will be available everywhere via Sargent House on September 7th, 2010.
Patagonian Rats Tracklisting
01. So Occult
03. The Skin Surf
05. Trident Tail
06. Frozen Zoo (MP3) (any file format)
07. In Citrus Heights
09. Party With Gina
10. Another Surf
11. Westham United
12. A New Uniform/Patagonia
"Patagonian Rats" by Tera Melos - release date: 09/7/10..