The Raymond Brake


Andy Cabic: guitar, vocals
Ryan Stewart: guitar, vocals
Peder Hollinghurst: bass 1994-1996
Matt Houston: bass 1997-1998
Joel Darden: drums


photo by Pat Graham 1995

 
 
 

Patti Smith once wrote, "The perfect noise exists between everything and nothing".

Some bands are everything: the naked object, they rock in capital letters according to the most recent, successful examples in their field. They are all flash pots, angst and compression. At the other extreme bands exist as nothing: living science projects that embrace calculation over result, they remain forever all math and no magic.

The Raymond Brake existed precariously in between these two extremes. They did not state facts or obscure them with detail, they inferred. At their best they implied or divined and you, as listener, did the work to meet them in the middle at the perfect noise.

Hailing from Greensboro, NC, the Raymond Brake was in a unique position at a remarkable time. With access to the "young rock" that was pouring out of nearby Chapel Hill from Superchunk, Polvo and Archers of Loaf, you might think that they'd just have become another indie rock band. But they didn't fall into such an easy trap. Greensboro is a small town, and the Raymond Brake boys wrote incredibly complicated songs that showed their influences but mimicked none. They didn't have the luxury of being caught up and brought down as the poster children of any useless hypothetical movement. They didn't sound like another local older band that kicked ass...because there wasn't one.

Their other undeniable asset: they weren't afraid of melody. Hey, don't worry. These boys grew up on the best of American math rock...Grifters, Polvo, Sonic Youth, even the "P"-word. If there's a strange tuning or rythym in the world they tried it, but that doesn't mean you should get out your calculators. Melody is the glue in a Raymond Brake song and just because "sing" has become a four letter word in most of the rest of the indie-world, but that doesn't mean you won't find it here. The extremes of both musical innovation and simple melody co-exist with genuine depth but in a surprisingly catchy way. This is the very essence of great songwriting. The perfect mixture of freshness and familiarity.

When the Raymond Brake recorded these releases, they were all barely old enough to get in the venues they were playing. Touring was fun, recording was fun, playing was fun, and it shows all over their music. It's not cuddle-core mind you... there's nothing naive or twee about The Raymond Brake. But just the same, they're not punching the rock-n-roll clock. These boys wrote great music and they enjoyed playing it.


Simple Machines Releases

SMR 37 The Raymond Brake
New Wave Dream 7"
1995
7": $3.50

These young rockers learned to play guitar listening to the Polvos, Pitchblendes and Grifters of the music canon - strange tunings/strange timings - yet at the same time they aren't afraid of their Top 40 radio roots and they know melody reigns supreme. They look great, they sound great and they write great songs. This is their second 7", a taste of what you can also find on their debut full-length, Piles of Dirty Winters.

Review

SMR 41 The Raymond Brake
Piles of Dirty Winters CD
1995
CD: $11

Piles of Dirty Winters is an incredible record. Not just because it is a debut effort by 20-21 year olds (which it is). Not just for the huge variety of styles, running the gambit from catchy songs with hooks, to tragic songs with sadder hooks, to home-recorded country songs, to strange instrumentals, and even screaming indie-rockers (which it has). Nor is it just for the refreshing absence of all cliches - lyrical, musical, conceptual or any other sort (which they have avoided). The record is incredible simply because The Raymond Brake were a remarkable band.

Review

The Raymond Brake Discography

1994

Debut 3-Song 7"

Detox

out of print

1995

New Wave Dream 7"

Simple Machines

available

1995

Piles of Dirty Winters CD

Simple Machines

available

1995

Raymond Brake/Rebar split 7"

Crunchy Records Stuff

out of print

1996

Cognitive Mapping comp CD

Friction Media

 

1996

Never Work Ever CD

Hep Cat

 

You can get any of the Raymond Brake titles listed as available from Dischord mailorder.

 

 


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