Exposé Online banner

Vacuum Tree Head — Thirteen!
(Pest Colors 42.13, 2010, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2011-06-01

Thirteen! Cover art

Once one of the most prolific outfits around (when the band was based in San Jose, California, they put out no less than 10 CDs between ’93 and ’99), their output has slowed down considerably in recent years – possibly because the members are now separated geographically across the country – but the quality is as good as ever. The album at hand evolved over a period of seven years, and it may well be their best effort to date. Mainstays Jason Berry (keyboards, woodwinds, electronics, etc.) and Michael De Le Cuesta (mostly guitars) along with guitarist Charles Llloyd and drummer Justin Markovitz are joined by a large cast of additional players and vocalists, track depending, for this interesting and compelling brew of diverse and highly energized avant-garde rock, with lyrics split between English, Spanish, and Filipino. The compositions are tightly arranged, condensed into a short song format, seemingly informed by punk, RIO, psychedelic rock, world-pop, and just about anything else one can think of. Few of the fifteen cuts last longer than two minutes (with several under one minute), but almost any of them can get stuck in your mind for days after hearing them even once! Singers Sylvia Gordon and Lucy Foley appear (separately) on many of the cuts herein, and their vocal presence adds a touch that might occasionally remind the listener of Thinking Plague – well, just a little; Vacuum Tree Head really has their own thing going, and this latest release is definitely worthy of your attention.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 39, 2010 releases

Related artist(s): Vacuum Tree Head

Latest news

2018-05-14
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more

2018-04-05
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more

2018-04-04
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more

2018-03-01
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

2018-02-26
Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Jack Lancaster & Robin Lumley - Marscape – Lancaster is the former sax player in Blodwyn Pig, but this album is better-known for its side-players: Robin Lumley, John Goodsall, Percy Jones, Phil Collins, Morris Pert... in short, Brand X! Fans...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues