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

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

NoVox - NoVox – First off, this disc has to have one of the weirdest and most provocative cover images ever! Now beyond the graphics and on to the music. Some may remember the Dutch quartet Cliffhanger who put out...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues