i love math – “no cymbals allowed”

Recently, I’ve read a few quotes from current indie artists about how drummers can screw up an otherwise good band – Owen Pallett, AKA Final Fantasy, leaps to mind as one who said this.

My experience seeing local or small club unsigned bands is consistent with this. Many drummers feel the need to make their own mark, and they often overshadow the music.

So it was refreshing to see that the mantra for Dallas-based band, I Love Math, is “no cymbals allowed.” Cymbals are, to me, more often than not a jarring sound and has ruined more than one live bootleg that otherwise sounded great.

I Love Math – who, in May, released Getting to the Point is Beside It – lives by this, though, not just because they don’t like them, but because it goes with their larger global philosophy of keeping it simple. Compared to bands like the Kinks, Uncle Tupelo and Johnny Cash (the music, not the voice), I Love Math is stripped down roots rock all the way. But what I really like about them is that unlike most music of this genre, they go beyond simple acoustic chords and add on solo-driven melodies within each song, making them almost seem like instrumentals.

I Love Math is John Dufilho from the Deathray Davies, two other members of the Davies (bassist Jason Garner and keyboardist Andy Lester) and the drummer from the Old 97s (Philip Peeples).

Here’s a homemade video (read: unofficial) for “Something I Might Miss,” one of their more upbeat songs.

And here’s their single, “Josephine Street.”

*For what it’s worth, JFK just walked by my office as I was listening to them and enthusiastically asked “what is that?” (He was referring to the I Love Math CD playing… and I think he liked it.)


1 Response to “i love math – “no cymbals allowed””

  1. August 21, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    I know we’ve discussed this in the past, and I generally agree with the “overactive (often local) drummer” thing (at least with a lot of younger bands), but I realized that it’s not just drummers who do this, it’s pretty much everybody. It’s just as easy to overplay on a guitar, bass or keyboard and ruin the song as it is to do it on drums. In fact, I see it a lot with keyboard players, particularly when they stand up. And on the opposite end, an “overactive” drummer can also totally play TO the song and become an indispensable part of it just as easily as a distraction. Overactive and tasteful are not mutually exclusive. And those are the guys that really become known as great drummers. Examples (in my opinion): Konrad Meissner (particularly his work with the Silos), Peele Wemberly of the Connells and Mark Brzezecki of Big Country. And maybe Neil Peart.

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