Friday, August 1, 2008

The Raymond Brake & Rebar

Today, after a delay longer than what I would have liked, I bring you three singles by two of the greatest bands to come out of the early-90s scene in Greensboro, NC: The Raymond Brake and Rebar. My brother Bart is currently a musician in G'boro (see this site) and when I was first telling him about these bands I was surprised to hear how forgotten they seem to be there... even though it sounds like the houses that these records were produced out of (208 Wilson and 908 Spring Garden) are still rocking on. So this post goes out to Bart and to all the young musicians still playing in Greensboro. Hope you dig it.

The Raymond Brake, 7", 1994
A1: Shallow (4:17)
A2: Healthy As You Feel (3:02)
B: Kilo (6:21)

This self-titled single is I believe the first release by The Raymond Brake, on D-Tox records (number 17), recorded December 1993 and released early in 1994. D-Tox also put out the great Pyloric Waves CD compilation, which I may post at some point. The Raymond Brake were part of the same "Math Rock" movement that spawned Polvo, Trans Am, etc. (though I prefer them to either of those better-known bands), meaning that there are lots of discordant guitars, sudden angular shifts of direction, and so on. After releasing this single, the band went on to sign to Arlington, VA's Simple Machines Records, which put out a CD and a single in 1995 (still available here) and toured the country with Archers of Loaf, Karate, and Liquorice in 1996. What would ultimately be their last release, an EP titled Never Work Ever, came out on Hep-Cat Records the next year. The band split in 1998. It consisted of:

Andy Cabic: guitar, vocals
Joel Darden: drums 
Peder Hollinghurst: bass (replaced by Matt Houston in 1997)
Ryan Stewart: guitar, vocals

According to a post last year by Darden at Used Bin Forever (here), after the band split, Cabic moved to San Francsico and formed the band Vetiver, Hollinghurst is in NYC, Houston's in Austin doing music and design work, and Stewart is a chef in Durham. Darden himself still lives in Greensboro, where he teaches high school US History.

Rebar, 7", 1995
A1: The Burn That Is On Me (3:36)
A2: Blanch (3:19)
B: Acquaintances (3:58)

Rebar's history seems to have been marred by mishaps that prevented them from releasing anything beyond the singles posted here, plus one compilation track. This, their first single, was released on Crunchy Record Stuff (number 001) in 1995. Most of the information I have about the band comes from this half-functioning semi-defunct website. Since you can explore that on your own, I'll just say this is a great single--great sounding, great looking (transparent yellow vinyl, ooh la la)--along the lines of The Raymond Brake but much heavier and intense. The band when this was recorded consisted of:

Brent Dunn: bass
Greg Sigmon: guitar (later replaced by Masa Koyama)
Jae Skaggs: drums

Sanders Trippe: vocals, guitars

Trippe and Dunn went on to form Vetiver with Andy Cabic from The Raymond Brake. Skaggs later played in the bands Ch'rora, Sclix, and Great Harvest Murder Company. Not sure what happened to Sigmon or Koyama, other than that Koyama apparently had to move back to Japan, presumably bringing Rebar's run to an end.

Rebar/The Raymond Brake split 7", 1995
A: The Raymond Brake - Davliks (3:17)
B: Rebar - Transparent (7:02)

Nothing much more to say about this, other than that it is a split single between the two bands, put out on Crunchy Record Stuff (002) in 1995 on glorious transparent red vinyl. Kudos to Rebar for using the maximum space available on a 7" by recording their side at 33rpm and playing until they literally ran out of room--the song really does end that way, it's not a ripping malfunction.

OK, enough from me. Get all three singles here. Enjoy, and hopefully I'll have more for you soon.