Tag Archives: Algernon Cadwallader

Day 313: Algernon Cadwallader – What It Is

7 Jan

Motivational Song / Spit Fountain 

Live albums are weird things.  They’ve got to be special—and I mean really special—if they’re going to work.  What’s “special” or not varies immensely from person to person, so like all music, it’s hard to discuss live albums without getting all emotional.  Fortunately, I abandoned objectivity on Day 1, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

I know for a fact that this particular live record won’t work for 90% of my audience.  Last time I checked, you lot don’t really embrace shouty emo tunes, so a live version of the stuff—recorded with mediocre equipment, no less—really won’t fly with y’all.

However, I love this music, and it doesn’t hurt that I’ve been to an Algernon Cadwallader show.  This is the type of band that plays in a basement (without proper ventilation), where crowd surfers are at serious risk of being impaled by some broken pipe sticking out of the ceiling.  There’s no stage, no monitors, no setlists, and no bullshit at these shows. The next band is setting up before the last band has cleared out, and everybody’s just happy to be there.  Including the drunk people, who are out in much smaller numbers than at your average concert. But still, the inebriated ones aren’t even ruining everything.  It’s just a completely different atmosphere than your typical $25-dollar-plus-convinence-fee show.

It’s an atmosphere that shines through on this record, in all of its sweaty glory.  Algernon has built up a dedicated and large fan base, considering the type of music that they put out, so no matter where they play, there are always quite a few people who know every word to every song.  Those fans dominate this album, and are heard through long stretches where you can’t even differentiate the lead singer from the elated masses.  Whether that’s due to the sheer volume, or to the fact that his mic stand was inadvertently knocked over, is up for speculation.  To quote the lead singer himself, “you guys are incredible.  Or retarded.  I can’t tell.”

If you want insight into what I think are some of the most fun rock shows around today, spend a few minutes on the internet, and download Algernon Cadwallader’s What It Is.  (Good luck finding a hard copy—there were only 500 released. All of which were  on cassette).  I’ve given you a starting point, though—none of the recordings from this record have made their way to The YouTubes yet, so I’ve linked to a clip of a performance by the band up top.

I can’t blame you if you don’t like the sound—it’s harsh, abrasive, and most of all, really low in quality. The crappy set up is only exacerbated by a bad camera mic.  Look at all that fun that’s being had, though.  You don’t see that at too many concerts with stages.


Day 91: Algernon Cadwallader – Parrot Flies

30 May

If It Kills Me

Finally.  It’s here.  Algernon Cadwallader’s new album has leaked, and it officially feels like summer.  I don’t know if this is really a “leak” in the classic sense, though. For all I could tell, there was no official release date planned for this record—the band was just going to sell it on their tour when copies of it were made available to them.  I wanted to become familiar with the new stuff before their stop in Chicago, so I didn’t hesitate for a second when I saw that there was a download on the web.

This record has been a long time coming.  Tales of delays, problems, and frustration permeated the Algernon blog over the past couple months, as the band appeared to be struggling to put together something that they really thought of as perfect.  And after a couple of listens, the wait was definitely worth it.

Think of Cap’n Jazz, but with guys who sound like they’re a little nicer, and less angsty.  That’s what you get out of Algernon Cadwallader.  Yeah, there’s plenty of screaming, but it’s not obnoxious screaming.  It has a purpose, you feel so much emotion pouring out of every track, and you can tell that these guys put everything they have into this record, as usual.  And hell, it sounds good.  You’ve got to move past the stigmas that music with a little screaming may have (THIS IS NOT “SCREAMO,” WHATEVER THE HELL THAT IS), and just listen free of bias.  You may find that you like it.

I’m making it sound like screaming takes over this record.  It doesn’t, I promise. In fact, my favorite thing about Algernon’s music is the lyrics that I can actually comprehend. “Exercise your wrists/exercise your fists/exercise common sense” on Pitfall sticks out right now, and I’m sure that there are plenty of other (possibly better) gems that I’ll hear after a few more listens.  Another great record from this underappreciated band.