It’s wild for me to think about all of the bands I have written up since joining Heavy Blog in 2014, especially when it comes to the post-rock realm. I knew quite a bit coming into the group, but since then my knowledge has grown exponentially as I’ve been exposed to a wider spectrum of incredible music under the “post-” banner than I ever thought possible. And yet it’s perhaps just as remarkable how certain things haven’t changed and have only echoed or been reinforced since then. sleepmakeswaves released their seminal Love of Cartography a few months into my time at Heavy Blog, and this past week they just capped off the final EP of a possibly equally seminal release.
Another band who I became aware of shortly after starting here, LA’s Arms of Tripoli, have also been a constant over the past 6 years. Their sophomore album, Dream In Tongues was a revelation for me then for its deceptively complex mixture of jazzy instrumental post-math rock. A few years later they returned with the heavier and darker (but equally satisfying) Daughters. And now they’re back again with another killer collection of tunes called One Way Plastic, which we are proud to be premiering in total today.
Now a quartet of Allen Porter (guitars, keys), George Tseng (drums), KC Maloney (guitar, keys), and Michael Bouvet (bass), the band have seemingly only leaned more into heavier and jammier tendencies as they’ve pared themselves down from 6 to 5 to now 4 over the past few albums. Opener “Edwards Edward” is just a ripper through and through, strongly calling to mind the heavier and grungier side of compatriot post-math/prog groups like The Physics House Band. As usual, the band excels at casting about a wide net of lines and roles for each of its members, with sticky guitar riffs, burning bass lines, and deft and acrobatic drumming interlocking to form a mechanical aural beast. Perhaps what has changed is the band becoming more comfortable with the kind of looser and more long-form songwriting typically seen on the more cinematic/crescendo-core corner of the post-spectrum. Closer “Lander” is the band’s lengthiest track to date at 11 minutes, and it is an incredible trip.
What hasn’t changed though is the band’s goofy sense of humor seen throughout their song names (“Edwards Edward,” “She’s Onion,” “Nude Hawaii”) and promotional materials. Here’s a taste of what the band have to say about One Way Plastic.
Originally a collection of dad rock, garage band covers of Alice Cooper, Boston and Lynyrd Skynyrd, over the next 3 years through creative mixing and digital editing “One Way Plastic” became the post-rock masterpiece it is today. Nary a remnant of those original covers remain. When they were set to release the EP they realized that there was already someone named Lisa Loeb who had a hit in the 90’s with the coffeehouse rock song “Stay (I Missed You)”. Visibly distraught, they resigned to calling the band Arms of Tripoli. That’s when they were met with more bad news. Apparently there was already a post rock band in Los Angeles called Arms of Tripoli that had been releasing high quality music since the early 2010’s and they were notoriously litigious. All seemed lost and they considered changing their name to Fake, Fanciful, Beautiful: The Hunger Remainz. But as fate would have it, George Tseng ended up winning $43,000 on a slot machine in Laughlin, NV. Using these funds they came to an agreement to buy the name Arms of Tripoli from the existing band (which included ownership of their 3 previous releases “All The Fallen Embers”, “Dream In Tongues” and “Daughters”). They even had a little bit of money left over which they used to fund a group trip to Raging Waters water park in San Dimas, CA!!
Not to beat a dead horse here, but as I’ve been saying for over 6 years now, listen to this damn band. They belong in the conversation of great post-math acts operating in the American scene. One Way Plastic is out July 24 through Fluttery Records, and while you’re checking out their Bandcamp go listen and buy their other equally impressive records!