For about 18 years, Pittsburgh, PA’s Microwaves have been melting faces with an aggressively mathy, aggressively tricky, just plain aggressive noise rock attack that variously or simultaneously recalls Voivod, technical death metal, prog, and Waves No- and New-, played with an emphasis on chaos and catharsis, as easily evoking the Load Records catalog as King Crimson. And they may have one of the more accidentally amusing overviews on AllMusic:
The band formed at the turn of the century around the core of drummer John Roman (late of storied spazz-punks The 1985) and guitarist Dave Kuzy. Lineup roulette ensued, starting with bassist Steve Moore (now of electro space-prog cosmonauts Zombi), with longest-serving and current bassist Johnny Artlett joining in 2012. They’ve released 5 albums on boutiquey labels like ugEXPLODE and New Atlantis, but their forthcoming 6th LP, Via Weightlessness, could and should reach far more ears, as it’s being released on Three One G, the record label and publishing imprint run by The Locust’s Justin Pearson. Among its 12 tracks, it sports a reverent, if somewhat truncated, cover of Alice Cooper’s “Refrigerator Heaven,” and New Noise shared the title track a couple of weeks ago:
Though Via Weightlessness’ dozen songs clock in at under 30 minutes, the album is the result of a three year writing process, which drummer John Roman discussed with us:
A lot of what we do starts with Dave’s guitar parts. This isn’t obvious but he’s really influenced by Queen and Bowie. I’m more the metal guy, pushing things into that heavy direction, nudging everything that way. Johnny fills in the gaps, though there are a few songs on the record that he’s largely responsible for, where the guitar came last. But whoever starts a song, there are lots of ways they can go. What I do from song to song is typically based on having an idea for an album when we write, and pushing towards things I feel like are missing from the album in my mind.
Via Weightlessness took such a long time because there were little pieces of songs we were picking away at, and it was all recorded in a couple different sessions. We would go maybe record 6 to 9 songs, feel pretty good about them, then realize that, oh, maybe these two songs could be a lot better, so we’d go back and re-write a lot of the parts. Or maybe even shorten something—it seems like one of the ways we write became like, if a part was giving us a problem, we’d just throw it out of the song and make it a shorter, more direct statement. And if the songs are shorter, you can play more of them live. We don’t want to write six or seven minute songs, I never got that.
It’s DM’s pleasure to debut the album track “Love Catheter” for you today, and while we had John on the phone anyway, we picked his brain about it.
“Love Catheter” was initially one of the more difficult songs to play and keep together, but it’s become one of the more fun songs to play. It’s one of the songs that took a while to put together, and turned out way shorter than we thought it was going to be. It’s also kind of a turning point on the album as far as our writing goes. A lot of the new stuff we’re working on since the album, that no one’s heard yet is like “Love Catheter.” There’s a good chunk of the songs that start off as like a pop structure, even though it might not seem like pop sounds, then we go mess with that structure once it’s there. Whereas in this song, it seemed like it had more parts, and all of them were more abbreviated, like a half dozen really short parts before anything repeats, just a lot more ideas going into the same length of song.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Stream the new album from Retox featuring Justin Pearson of the Locust, a Dangerous Minds exclusive
Dazzling Killmen: Meet the most twisted and punishing math metal group of the 1990s
Stream the ‘scary’ & ‘demented’ new album by Doomsday Student, with ex members of Arab on Radar