Exposé Online banner

Alex's Hand — Alex's Hand Presents: The Roaches
((Not on label) no#, 2014, DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2014-04-17

Alex's Hand Presents: The Roaches Cover art

You read a lot these days about the rise of American "foodie culture" — Americans are getting much more diverse in their eating habits, and restaurants all over the place are finding customers willing to eat tripe, marrow, fruits and vegetables that were unheard of a decade ago, and any number of seasonings that don't have a history in European cuisine. Similarly, the rise of microbreweries and craft distilleries has corresponded with the willingness to drink things that would have just seemed bizarre not so long ago: wasabi vodka, pine liqueur, yuzu beer, and so on. Some attribute these changes to the rise of media outlets like the Food Network. Maybe so, but there has not been any similar change in public music taste. Most people remain stuck in age-old perceptions about what constitutes acceptable music, and this is generally true even among self-professed music nerds who flock to the latest indie darlings anointed by Pitchfork (or whoever's cool at the moment). This situation can be frustrating to musicians whose inclinations lead them outside the norms of three-to-five-minute length, hummable melodies, steady 4/4 beat, common chord progressions, lyrics on the level of junior high poetry, and so on. Alex's Hand is a band that has never fit into that box, and years of frustration trying to get noticed by Seattle media and clubs have led to this: a concept album about how hard it is to go against the musical grain. They tell the story of a fictional band called The Roaches, whose situation closely parallels that of the Hand itself. The names have been changed to protect the guilty, and there's a lot of guilt to go around, from hipster DJs drunk on their power to dictate who joins the "cool band" club, to local writers who know nothing about music but what their friends tell them. Musically, they walk their talk, with six tracks in the nine to 18 minute range scattered among numerous short sketches of dialog, sound effects, and miscellaneous strangeness. The style jumps around wildly, maybe something like Mr Bungle doing a Zappa homage. And while this studio recording may have any amount of splicing and dicing, anyone who's seen them live knows they can play this stuff — not that they would, exactly, since every show is different. In the end, The Roaches, just like Alex's Hand, decide to pack up and get out of town, seeking their musical destiny outside the US. Music this creative deserves an audience, and the minds that conceived it deserve to be encouraged. Now if they could just afford to eat...


Filed under: New releases, 2014 releases

Related artist(s): James DeJoie, Dennis Rea, Alex's Hand

More info
http://alexshand.bandcamp.com/album/alexs-hand-presents-the-roaches

Latest news

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more

2018-06-13
Jon Hiseman RIP – One of the great drummers of the rock era has died. Jon Hiseman was a veteran of such ground-breaking groups as Colosseum (I and II), Tempest, John Mayal's Bleusbreakers, and was a founding member of the innovative large band United Jazz + Rock Ensemble. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Slava Ganelin and Ned Rothenberg - Falling into Place – Pianist and composer Slava (Vyacheslav) Ganelin is known for his assertive power trio in Russia and his leadership within the Israeli free jazz scene since emigrating there in 1987. In contrast, New...  (2005) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues