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Rosemary's Band

(photo by: Lisa Freedenberg)

All of Them Witches unveil their new math at Soundlab

Named after the book given to Rosemary in the horror classic Rosemary’s Baby, it remains to be seen whether or not these guys are actually sons of demons. After listening to All of Them Witches, one has to wonder if they have some otherworldly forces guiding their hands.

Instrumental rockers All of Them Witches comprises just three people: Vic Lazar, guitar (also in Patrons of Sweet); Phillip Freedenberg, guitar (one half of Red Tag Rummage Sale); and Cameron Rogers, drums (A Hotel Nourishing). These are no strangers to odd time signatures and off-kilter song structures, nor to bending space and time to serve their own musical designs.

Drawing influences from Yes and Steve Howe as much as groups like Don Caballero and Pele, All of Them Witches successfully break down the barrier between math-rock and its elder sibling, prog-rock, creating music with a myriad of sonic detail yet still giving top billing to the word “rock” rather than to “post,” “math,” or “prog.”

While angular to say the least, their music is far from inaccessible. The songs come across as captivating and thoughtful. It is all too easy for instrumental groups to fall into the traps of redundancy and self-indulgence, but All of Them Witches never seem to lose their focus. “Structurally, the songs are concise compositions regardless of the seeming complexities and obtuseness of the riffs,” says Vic Lazar. “I like to think that what sets us apart from other math-rock bands is that we’re not complex just for the sake of being complicated.”

Within the maelstrom of knotty and circular guitar lines, Cameron’s tight-knit drumming is the perfect complement to the ridiculous chemistry between Vic and Phil—a relationship undoubtedly cemented while playing together in the now-defunct Knife Crazy. “In All of Them Witches there is more of a spontaneity in creating the songs, and it highlights all of our musical growth since Knife Crazy,” Lazar says. “Obvious differences are that there are no vocals, and the guitars and drums have a tighter syncopation, whereas Knife Crazy was more groove-oriented. Similarly, All of Them Witches manages to make full-sounding compositions without the use of bass guitar and as many effects.”

It takes talent to play this kind of music. All of Them Witches maximizes the virtuosity and skill level of all parties involved. This is a band that thrives on pushing each other, without any possibility of a comfort zone. This collective ideal proves to make All of Them Witches one of the most engaging live acts in the city.

In a nutshell: Fans of intelligent, relentless, and frenetic rock music need to take note of All of Them Witches. Honest and challenging while being completely devoid of pretense: If that isn’t rock and roll, then I don’t know what is.

Look out for their debut album, Where’s the Song?, to be released in the incredibly near future. In the meantime, you can catch All of Them Witches live at Soundlab on Wednesday, January 27, opening for Thrill Jockey’s Mountains and Swedish experimentalists Tape.

eric kendall

Find this and other listings at Soundlab on the Artvoice Calendar.

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