Myths of the Deconstruction of Rock

I have been so busy in the past couple months that I haven't had time to update. I have a billion thoughts rolling around in my head about what to post next, but I want to know what you guys want to see on this blog? Do you have any requests? Your comments are what keeps me going when traffic is slow, so give me a shout. I have some great stuff in store for this blog that will hopefully be just around the corner. To tide you over until the weekend, here is a great introduction to the Drag City band US Maple.

US Maple

US Maple are an enigmatic band that began it's aural assault on this unsuspecting world in 1995. They have only recorded five albums during the past decade, but each note on these records is well thought out and meticulously constructed. In fact, even though it seems like they are improvising during their live performances, it couldn't be further from the truth. They practice endlessly to create a live experience which emulates the sound and dynamics of their records as closely as possible. Their music is often described as the deconstruction of rock music filtered through Captain Beefheart circa Trout Mask Replica, but I feel that there is no label which can aptly describe their music. Let's just say it sounds like dynamic, visceral and unpredictable avant math-rock with fractured guitar riffs and slow burning tempos. After listening to them, you will have a newfound respect for music and your ears won't hear anything the same way again.

Lead vocalist Al Johnson barks, grumbles, yelps, and coos to get his point across with barely intelligible words. His off-kilter whoops and wheezes sound like an old drunken vagrant whose voice is shot from smoking too many cigarettes. You don't really care what he's saying, it's how he says it. The rest of the band ably back him up with a mixture of spidery guitar lines and frenetic free jazz drumming. Each song starts, stops, thrills and surprises so much that your mind will literally be blown. They are one of my favorite bands right now. Their 4th album Acre Thrills sends chills up and down my spine everytime I hear it, but all of their records are worth picking up. Unfortunately, they haven't recorded anything since Purple on Time was released in 2003 and seem to be on an extended hiatus.

Here are a couple songs from each record in their discography. I hope you enjoy them!

From: Long Hair In Three Stages [1995, Skin Graft]

US Maple- La Click and Home It's OK
From: Sang Phat Editor [1997, Skin Graft]

From: Talker [1999, Drag City]

From: Acre Thrills [2001, Drag City]

From: Purple On Time [2003, Drag City]

Here is an added bonus for US Maple fans. This show was recorded on 5-22-04 at Dante's in Portland, OR. I was fortunate enough to spot someone in the crowd who was recording the show, and I scored a copy of the show from him.

Addendum: Someone in the comments section named Chenaux alerted me that this show is no longer active, so I have re-upped this link below.


Theo said…
This is really great, i only just got into these guys!
ultravox said…
I tried the links to the US Maple but got thrown over to another page that didn't make any sense, anyone else get that? or something like that...
leitmotif said…
Great blog, Ive only just discovered you. Any chance you can re-up the US Maple live set?

-rob in chicago
Kevin said…

I'm glad you are getting into US Maple. Keep checking back for more avant garde stuff.


The links for the US Maple are down, because they were on Rogepost originally. Rogepost is no longer operating, so the links take you to someone that took over their domain name. Anyway, I'll see if I can locate the US Maple live show to repost the link.


Thanks for checking me out. I will see if I can locate the live show to re-up for you. Just a side-note- I'm from Peoria IL and I've been to Chi-town quite a bit. How's the Chicago music scene right now? Also, do you have any idea if US Maple are defunct, or just on an extended hitaus.

Best to all, Kevin
Chenaux said…
Hey Kevin, I just noticed your post on another blog inquiring about a US Maple show. I have that one, plus a bunch of others, and would like to get this show at Dante's as it is no longer available. send me a mail at

quitarse23 at gmail dot com

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