Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

Ass-kicking Math Rock from Craw

Cover art as inscrutable as most of the lyrics

Cover art as inscrutable as most of the lyrics

It’s been a few weeks since I posted any metal or hard rock, and today I’m pulling out all the stops. If you’re in the mood for a nosebleed, check out Craw. These guys from Cleveland, OH entered the music scene in 1989, when Math Rock was first emerging. The early days of the Math Rock movement produced a lot of music that I found too chaotic and noisy, with pounding drums, screamed vocals, and wildly shifting time signatures. Of course, as they say, people who like that sort of thing will find it the sort of thing they like.

Over time, many Math Rock pioneers have matured and the sound has finally brought me in. Tool is a good example of a band who was hip deep in the early days of the movement, but whose sound has become less experimental and more accessible. Battles (comprised of former members of Helmet and Don Caballero) is another. Craw‘s early work was deep and technically complex, but a little too outside for me. In 2002, however, they released the brilliant Bodies for Strontium 90.

The complexity and raw edge are still there in spades, but there is more structure. The musicians invite listeners along for the ride, rather than just doing tricks for gaping spectators. As I listen to this disc, I am struck by the great intelligence and sheep sheer power (Now that’s a funny typo) they force into every bar. I have pulled 5 tracks off this disc. Check them out.

  • Caught My Tell – This could be the soundtrack to a back alley brawl. The hammering drums and bass keep you on your heels while the guitar jumps in for jab after jab. About three minutes in, Joe McTighe’s vocals bust a trash can over your head and pummeling begins in earnest.
  • Chop Shop – The narrator has fried his organs with substance abuse, but fortunately, just $25,000 will buy him all new equipment at a Chinese chop shop. Guitarist Rockie Brockway plays this so hard MY fingers have blisters. The entire song streams on their MySpace page.
  • Space Is the Place – There are 15 different time signatures in this song, but the down beat usually falls in the same place so you can bang your head in unison with the music.
  • Is It Safe? – Again, lots of time signatures with prime numbers in them, but the rhythmic attacks are repeated with awesome precision. Joe McTighe may need to hit the Chinese chop shop for new vocal cords.
  • Cars – This is one of the more chaotic tunes on this disc that I still like. I can’t imagine how musicians write songs of such complexity, much less perform them, but this one is executed flawlessly.

The songs don’t appear to be available for download at the moment. Not long ago, MP3s of all their songs were available for free download from their website. The archived site still loads, but images and song files are gone. You can listen to entire songs on their MySpace site, but I encourage you to buy the disc.


April 9, 2009 - Posted by | Alternative, Hard Rock, Metal, Rock


  1. Six years later, my twin was born….it never gets old.
    And if I never friended the Craw Myspace, I wouldn’t be the happy girl that I am now.
    Crazy time changes and all.

    Comment by susie | April 9, 2009 | Reply

  2. craw lost their domain craw.com through neglect and idiocy. However they have secured craw.fm, which hopefully will be up in the next few weeks and will once again have everything they ever recorded available for free download.

    Comment by Uncle Rockie | April 14, 2009 | Reply

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