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

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more

2019-02-21
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more

2019-01-31
Keyboardist Ingo Bischof R.I.P. – Keyboard player Ingo Bischof, best known as the longtime keyboard player of German band Kraan, passed away on January 29th, 2019. Bischof was born January 2, 1951 in Berlin-Kreuzberg and joined Kraan in 1975. » Read more

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Gong - Camembert Eclectique – Seminal French space prog band Gong may be best known for their pioneering work in the early to mid 70s, as evidenced by the indispensable Radio Gnome Trilogy of albums: Flying Teapot, Angels Egg, and...  (1995) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues