“You’ve Been Duplicated” live review, Phoenix New Times, August 2007
“Revenge of the Nerds” feature, San Francisco Bay Guardian, June 2007
5 questions from Superstarcastic, January 2007
Feature interview in Light up the Sky #8, September, 2004
Feature interview in Tablet magazine, Seattle, Sept 30th 2003
Splendid e-zines Pointless Questions with Replicator
Holiday Wishes from Ben and Conan for Splendid
Holiday Wishlist for the San Francisco Bay Guardian for Conan
A feature interview with Ben Adrian in Nuvo from Indianapolis, IN
An feature interview with the SF Weekly – 7/4/2001
from Misterridiculous.com (Now, Sincere Brutality)
Speck Fanzine interview
Saturday March 10th, 2007: Hemlock Tavern, San Francisco, CA
From Grenadine Marmoset
When the Hemlock is good it’s really good. When the Hemlock is a mess, it’s a nightmare. The show was late cuz the bands were late. They don’t presell tickets, so there was just a mass of people waiting by the back door to make sure they got in before the show sold out (which it did). “Oh lucky me!” I thought, after crawling through the line, around the pool table, in front of the bathrooms and to the door, and realizing that I’d get a ticket. Funny thing about luck…This was my first time seeing Replicator, an Oakland band with an indie/punky sound that constantly reminded me of Steve Albini (no idea if they’d appreciate that comment or not. hrm). Anyway, they were really good. They were totally worth the price of admission (thankfully). I’d see them again.
5 stars out of 7
Saturday February 17th, 2007: 12 Galaxies, San Francisco, CA
at 12 Galaxies
From Groucho Suave
Replicator: if “power trio” is an over used phrase, I still really don’t care; these guys bring a lot to the table: songs about robots, time travel, machines and encryption from WWII. Totally dork-tacular. The bassist and lead guitar/singer had the square glasses and all I was wondering was “Which one onstage knows FORTRAN?” I was screaming “IF THEN, GOTO, REPEAT % END STRING !!” to egg them on. In the middle of their last tune, “Log In With My Fist,” dork #2 (who we learned after the show while chatting with them, goes by the name of “Conan” while in the analog fleshly realm) finished most of the verses while jumping off the stage and milling throught the proto/mill-about pit in front of the stage. Go to their shows and give them something: at least a handshake and a “thank you.”
Saturday February 17th, 2007: 12 Galaxies, San Francisco, CA
at 12 Galaxies
From the SF Flavorpill
Babyland, LA’s beloved junk-punk duo, is known to get sparks flying — literally — in their industrial freak-outs. Oakland’s own Replicator plays intellectual political noise-rock tirades with fractured riffs and stop-and-go beats.
Saturday August 19th, 2006: Uptown Nightclub, Oakland, CA
From the Playing in Fog
The Uptown is a new venue in Oakland (or at least new to me) that is now booking rock shows much to my delight. If this show is a sign of the booking to come, then color me very, very excited.
I got there during the last couple of minutes of Moggs final song, much to my tardy chagrin. They always rule and I missed it, curses to my poor time management! But this early downturn of the evening was quickly remedied when Replicator fired up their engines. I always enjoy a good set by them; this one included a lot of new songs that will be featured on an album to be released in the near future, or so I’ve been told. They have been harangued with the Shellac comparisons for years, but at this point I’ve heard so much of these guys it’s as much a “Replicator” sound as anything else. Much of their new material seems much more straight-forward rocking in a Jesus-Lizard-minus-the-naked-singer way. Anyways, good outing by the local boys, no technical issues as are often the foil to this crew’s master plans…a rockin’ good time fer sure.
10 p.m., Uptown Nightclub, 1928 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA $8. (Jake Thomas)
Friday June 21st, 2004: Hemlock Tavern, SF, CA
From the San Francisco Bay Guardian
The howling After weeks of hard-core promoting of their second album, You Are under Surveillance (Substandard), Oakland punk trio Replicator are ready to scream. Though, they’re a bit more mature than that. With a deep contempt for authority, a bottomless well of sarcastic wit, and control over heavy-hitting drums and guitar, Replicator are a group Allen Ginsberg might have liked. Plus they’ve got the smarts not to take themselves too seriously. Expect mayhem onstage, possible destruction, and a guarantee that anarchy is where their mouths are. Big Business – featuring ex-members of Karp, Tight Bros. from Way Back When, and Murder City Devils – headline; Seattle’s Akimbo open.
10 p.m., Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk, S.F. $7. (415) 923-0923. (Laemoa)
Wednesday, March 24th, 2004: Cafe Du Nord, San Francisco, CA.
From Playing in Fog
I was a bit nervous about going to the show last night. I’d never seen Replicator and I’m getting a little old to be going to rock and roll shows but all my fears were soon put to rest. Replicator took the stage and looking very dapper in matching suits and neatly coifed hair. After a few polite, soft spoken introductions, they launched into a set primarily made up of Carpenters and Dionne Warwick covers. Set highlights included aheart wrenching rendition of “Rainy Days and Mondays” and an upbeat but tender “Mandy.” They spontaneous started playing the first bit of “La Bamba” as a lark, adding a much appreciated Latin flair to the evening. A friend from the audience was called up to the stage to play muted trumpet on “I Say a Little Prayer”— a nice homage to the Bacharach arrangement. The set closed
with “Sweet Caroline” which got the whole bar singing along. But the crowd wouldn’t let them go quite yet, so the band stayed and played their signature cover of “Louie, Louie”— they really hammed it up on the end going on about how they really had to go. All in all quite a show, quite a show indeed…Ok…so what actually happened: The Replicator experience was much more loud,
aggressive and chaotic than I expected. It was a welcome switch up for me—lately I’ve been listing to a lot of lush chamber-pop ballad type music so this is a total departure from that. Replicator’s songs surged and waned driven along by a beat that hit you like a gunshot. Ben’s a very talented musician—great on bass, but I would have loved to hear a bit more of his keyboard playing (I think it was on the last song of the night he had a brief little burst of keyboards that really left me wanting more). Christopher’s drumming is everything you’d want in a band like this: steady and rocking and explosive when need be. Moreover his drumming style really added to the drama of the performance. Conan’s guitar and vocals completed the sound–I see what they meant by saying they “[he] hurls himself at the music as if it were a brick wall.” In short, the boy went off. Great stuff. A few rough spots in the show—a couple of technical difficulties (but of course that’s going to happen on
opening night). They did briefly become a quartet when an exuberant fan/friend? got on stage—entertaining, but a bit distracting as he played along with Conan’s extra unplugged guitar. Some nice jams in there with some tight playing between Ben and Conan. Wish I was feeling a bit better because the show was much more high energy than I was due to my cold. I ended up sitting through the whole set.
by Mike Carr
March 24th, 2004: “You are under surveillance” record release, Cafe Du Nord, SF, CA
Critic’s Choice: Replicator
wed/24, Cafe Du Nord
Offstage, Replicator leader ) Conan Neutron is an affable, bespectacled music nerd with a goofy grin, a low-budget haircut, and a heart-on-his-sleeve sincerity that utterly eschews the smirking irony that most local indie music scenesters sling. But the lad’s initial Poindexter appeal vanishes in a flash once he and the band hit the stage. Replicator put it all on the line, heaving up their guts in a cathartic rock-monster mishmash that’s equal parts wall of sound and prog pomp – sans the guitar solos. Samples from their new cd, You Are Under Surveillance (Substandard), invoke the snarling precision of Steve Albini’s Shellac and the bludgeoning Rhythm section and bile spewing vocals of the Jesus Lizard and David Yow. Über-gearhead Ben Adrian provides a driving, cold-steel bass line and occaisonally winking sythesizer blurts, and tattooed gnarly dude drummer Christopher Bolig acts up with magnificently extravagant arena-rock panache. Neutron hurls himself at the music as if
it were a brick wall. Tonight maybe he’ll break through, or maybe he’ll just end up with a lot of bruises and bleeding; either way, it’ll be a show to remember. Schaffer the Darklord and Black Ghost open.
9 p.m., Cafe Du Nord, 2170 Market, S.F. $6 (415)861-5016 (Josh Wilson)
August 23rd, 2003: Noiserock picnic, Toxic Beach, SF,CA
From Playing in Fog
Replicator-What more can I say about these guys? I’ve seen them a lot over the last year, and I always enjoy their show. They played a lot of songs that I know, some of which I believe will be on that split with Lower 48 that I mentioned above. Conan was well out of control, and on at least one occasion he was laying on his back in the dirt and mud after having piled into a bunch of folks. Their new songs sound great, and I’m curious to hear studio versions of them. I know they are currently working on their new album, and hopefully they will finish it soon for the buying public (in other words, finish the damn thing so I can get it).
By Jake Thomas
June 18th, 2003: 21 Grand, Oakland,CA
From East Bay Express
“San Francisco’s Replicator is in the opening slot at the Drunk Horse/Jucifer show this weekend, but at 21 Grand (449B 23rd St., Oakland) tonight, the mathematically inclined Bay Area noise-rock trio is a little higher up on the bill (though how high up depends on who you ask). The band has some stiff competition for the
headlining slot, with DC’s Apes and Oakland Experimental Dental School on the roster. In place of the usual guitar lead, the Apes have Amanda Kleinman’s screaming organ. The singer has a hot bod, the band wears capes and camo gear and, basically, they’ll toss you around the club like you’re made by Samsonite. And if Replicator brings the math, and the Apes, biology, our very own Experimental Dental School adds rocket science to the evening. The remixed and re-wazoogled version of XDS’ Hideous Dance Attack!!! shows proves that its surf-rock/no-wave cabaret carnival is destined to keep pitching its tents for some time to come. The all-ages show starts at 9 p.m., and cover is $5-$10 on a sliding scale.”
With The Apes, a
by Stefanie Kalem
San Francisco, Oakland… whatever!
May 31st, 2003: Edinburgh Castle, Oakland,CA
“…First band was Replicator, who I swore I’d seen before but I don’t remember them like this. I actually liked them the most of the opening bands; they had a insouciant energy that appealed to me and the most appreciative audience, and the vocalist bore a strong resemblance to Virgil Porter, of Burn My Eye. He heard me comment on this too, and made a crack about being Virgil’s cousin, the “worst” one. But the music was good, off the hook noise-rock, where the three guys, drum, bass, guitar, all poured their hearts into performance. Perfectly timed stops and starts and time changes, stuff like that…”
by KS Kelly
bonus points for the use of the word insouciant!
March 1st, 2003: 40th st warehouse Oakland,CA
From Playing in Fog
“…In the junior slot, Replicator. Seems like I’ve seen these boys a ton lately (3 times since the first of the year I believe?). I always enjoy seeing them play, and this was no different. They were definitely on top of their game after having played the Great American Music Hall a few nights earlier; this show was just as good as that one if not better. I know they were pretty excited to be opening for the Whip, or at least Conan was. If you want to read more on these lads, you can check out one of the other reviews of them I’ve written this year or go to their website www.replicator5000.com – check out their ramblings and download some songs. If you like their recorded output you won’t be disappointed with their live show.”
by Jake Thomas
February, 26th 2003: Great American Music Hall, SF,CA
From Playing in Fog
“…I got there before the whole thing started so that I could throw some support the way of Replicator, some local lads who make some bruising music. This was probably the best I’ve seen them play, which is a good thing given the stature of getting to play at the Great American with Trans Am. Chris was a machine on the drums, pounding them relentlessly and losing a number of drumsticks in the process. They came across sounding like the bastard stepchild of Gang of Four, Wire, and Big Black, and had a handful of kids in the front flailing around like their ass was on fire. By the end of their set, the place was getting pretty full and people seemed to be digging it, I know I was…”
by Jake Thomas
January 3rd, 2003: Edinburgh Castle, SF,CA
From Playing in Fog
“…The big finish was with Replicator. A little sloppy maybe, but it sounded good to me. They always get compared to Shellac, and there are some similarities in their recorded material, but their live show is quite different. Since I know Conan, the guitarist/singer, I may be biased, but I think they put on one of the better shows out of all the local bands in the area. Very much into crowd participation, they tend to wander into the audience from time to time, jump around like they got fire ants in their undies on stage, and generally bring the good times on the stage into the crowd. At one point the drummer, Chris, broke his snare and proceeded to make sure it was real damn broke by the time he got finished beating his high hat. Good times all around, I say. As a bonus, their set was being video taped for future air date as part of the Burn My Eye series, which I believe airs every first Wednesday at midnight. Well, I guess it’s technically Thursday, but you
know what I’m saying. No need to be so nit picky. Get off my back already! Geez.”
by Jake Thomas
Wednesday September 25th, 2002: The Hurricane in Kasas City, MO
From Too Much Rock
“…With songs named for video games (”Warrior Needs Food, Badly”) and references too esoteric for Dennis Miller to catch, the band dragged the audience through thirty minutes of painful, yet precise math rock. With a keen eye towards exaggeration, the band created winding compositions that stretched everything to twice its breaking point and expected the audience to beg for more. At another
venue (say The Brick), with a different local’s crowd (say Trusty Defiant’s), the audience might have played along. At that hypothetical show, the audience would have insisted on an encore.
The band set up three wide across the stage with Adrian to stage right, drummer Chris Bolig in the center, and guitarist Conan Neutron on their left. Songs were percussive and rhythmic more than melodic, and thus defined by the frantic pounding of Bolig. Despite his reserved and introspective persona, Bolig was maniacal and most impressive. Diametrically opposed was Neutron’s guitar; it was almost delicate, or at least it seemed so in comparison.
Guitar lines never held melody but rather provided crashes and accents, never stealing the listener’s focus. When more complete lines were played, they were grating. If they didn’t serve to mask Neutron’s shouted vocals, they might have been unbearable. Despite the untraditional roles carried by other instruments, the bass general just held ground, or vanished while Adrian provided sonic depth on keyboards.
Occasionally it might skip back and forth in large intervals to assist in a particularly lurching part, or switch to simple chords while the band built to false or unfulfilling crescendos, but generally, it was just the bass.
The band completed their set, thanked the audience (which had further shrunk),
and stepped to the side of the stage. And just like in ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’, a miracle happened right before my eyes. Before the band could even ponder what had (and hadn’t) happened on stage, they were approached by a little Cindy-Lu rocker (who must have had a fake id to get in). Cindy-Lu and her friends purchased armloads of CDs and shirts in what appeared to be some sort of McCartney/Jackson shill. The band wasn’t despised? Even Erickson stepped up to talk to the band, sharing his story of a Brainiac show and a tornado and a ten-minute version of “Go Freaks Go.” You mean the pompadoured rocker in the western-wear shirt got what Replicator was doing? Maybe there is hope for Kansas City yet.”
September 20th, 2002: The Smell, LA, CA
From Drowning in Culture
“…The saving grace was that I got to hear Replicator; a hard-rockin emo-troop (?! -R) from San Francisco. The Bay area has been turning out some really great stuff lately and Replicator is most certainly in the same ornate musical platter as say, Erase Errata, Xiu Xiu (San Jose), and Deerhoof. Sounding a bit like they where plucked from the ranks of Dischord with a bit of Albini thrown-in for good measure Replicator wound the crowd up tight with their hefty base-lines, shuddering guitars, and near flawless drumming. The songs were like a drunken sailor on shore leave and prepped the hungry crowd for the mayhem that was supposed to follow with Babyland…”
by John Southern
January 21 2002: Bottom of the Hill, SF, CA
From sfgate (the online version of the SF chronicle)
“The Bay Area’s Replicator sure knows how to bash out a tune, as songs such as “Ka-Tet” prove. The trio replicates a little of Pere Ubu’s noise-drenched predilections, as well as some darn punky thrash. With engineering help from Shellac’s Bob Weston, the band recently released a new disk, Winterval, and, from the sound of it, the excitement continues onstage: Word has it guitarist/vocalist Conan Neutron loves to take walks across bar tops.”
With From Monument to Masses and Lower Forty-Eight;
Bottom of the Hill, 1233
17th St., SF; 9 pm; $5; (415) 474-0365.
by Kimberly Chun, special to SF Gate
December 12th, 2001: The Minnow, Alameda,CA
“…We headed on over to Alameda to check out one of theBeastfest shows at The Minnow. The venue is a complete dive, but marginally better than The Portlite nearby in Oakland. After a bit of hesitation about whether we should go in or not, we decided to watch Replicator play their set. Holy smokin’ Jesus were they good. Definitely in that Shellac/Fugazi style, but very well done, fully rockin’, and completely entertaining. Conan Neutron armed with his wireless guitar went full-on Oxes style and ran around the room, proceeded to climb up onto the bar only to be cussed at and chased off by the suburban idiot bartender. Completely awesome.”
May 30th, 2001: Bottom of the Hill, SF,CA
From Playing in Fog
“Ahh, Replicator. This show made us nervous like no other, primarily because we had heard so much about them from their lead singer, Conan Neutron. You see, Conan seemed like a perfectly nice guy, but… we’ve met really nice people in bad bands. So you can imagine our relief when we walked into the BOTH and found out…ladies and gentlemen, empirically speaking, Replicator do NOT suck! In fact, they were quite loud and rockin’. Of course, we would expect no less from a guy who likes Shellac and Drive Like Jehu (yea!), but it’s nice to get solid confirmation on the kickass tendencies of any given band. We additionally discovered that Replicator weren’t just generous with noise and broken guitar strings: they were also in the business of handing out clothing. A huge heap of them, right in of bassist Ben Adrian to be exact, thus forging a sort of indie rock missionary movement right in front of our eyes. But let us not talk of religion, let us speak of the fact th
at their new cd, Winterval, was engineered by Bob Weston, who also worked with…anyone? POLVO! Exactly. It should also be noted that Replicator is a band for people with problems. How do we know this? Because there is a special section on their website called “Ask Dr. Ben” where you can write in with your ‘issues’ and have them solved by, well, Ben. It’s a perfect one-stop-shopping opportunity for your everyday detached, depressed indierocker. What’s not to like?”
A few things that immediately and refreshingly pop into mind about 21 seconds into this record: 1) that 90’s brand of (often Midwestern) noise-snark stomped out by godheadSilo, Tar, Hammerhead, Rapeman, Steel Pole Bathtub, Killdozer, and the Laughing Hyenas, 2) endearing earnestness and dorkiness of that scene, and the whole Albini Army for that matter, and most importantly, 3) that this record is loaded front to back with excellent music/lyrics and excellent band dynamics all over it.
Machines Will Always Let You Down is a refreshing listen start to finish. It’s got that type of songwriting, musicianship, and execution, not to mention spot-on and loud recording done by Unwound/PNMV dude, Vern Rumsey, that doesn’t come around too often in a bands career. Not to mention the dead-on mixing by bassist Ben Adrian.
Topically, it’s kind of a combination rant on topics ranging from technology to loneliness/malaise, urban living to laziness, paranoia and coolness. While that sounds like a heavy list of topics, this is a clever and humorous record. Song title highlights are Delicious Fornicake, Assloads of Unrespect, Outrage Fatigue. At their best, and this record is their best, Replicator pound out, pummel, and swagger heavily and otherwise produce engaging and powerful music that’s as good as the best from the list above, if a little timelier.
This is the record I wish Shellac would’ve just made, or rather, this record is exactly on par with where Shellac were when they released At Action Park. Replicator are vets themselves now, having been a band for nearing a decade, and this is by far their most cohesive piece of work. They’re at their best when they keep the bombast levels at 9.6, and talk about the frustrations of technology, and nail out a song in three minutes. Occasionally it comes too close to its influences, but not ever to the point of full-on aping, just pay a wee bit too much tribute to the Fargo/Minneapolis/Chicago noise warriors who preceded them. This CD comes in a beautiful package courtesy of the Stumptown printing outfit in Portland, and marks one of three brand new releases for newish Olympia Washington label Radio is Down.
I look at a song title like “King Shit on Fuck Mountain” (apparently a Mr. Show reference, thanks Sebastian!) and immediately think that this is either going to be really good or really bad. There is no in between with something like that, you know what I mean? It preps me for what is going to be an all or nothing listening experience. However, it’s pretty obvious that if I am writing about it on here then I think it’s pretty damn good. I made the decision when I first started this blog that writing about a bad record is just a waste of time. As if my times really that valuable anyway, because trust me it’s not.
Replicator are from Oakland, CA and Machines Will Always Let You Down is their third album and first for Radio is Down. The Vern Rumsey (Unwound) produced album carries on a theme that is sort of a look see into a world that has gone wrong at the hands of technology. To keep it short, apparently it’s going to be pretty messed up. Although, I am a strong supporter of Replicator’s idea of a sex robot which is mentioned in the lead track “Delicious Fornicake”. I honestly had to listen to this album again as soon as finished it for the first time because I wanted focus completely on the whacked out lyrics, which for many other bands would seem absolutely ridiculous. However, tagged along with Replicator’s own brand of disjointed noise frenzy the lyrics seem completely at home and make what would in most cases be a forgettable theme turn into something that is disturbing and at the same time greatly entertaining.
Musically Replicator is right on the mark as well. Taking cues from the prime days of math-rock and noise-rock, but ultimately sounding as near to a nervous breakdown as singers Conan Neutron and Ben Adrian both do throughout. Machines Will Always Let You Down is a fantastic album that I am very thankful that I heard before the years end. Do check it out.
For those looking to pick this up, please head on over to Radio is Down and do so. It definitely comes recommended.
For the sake of being totally up front with things, I have known Conan Neutron, the singer/guitarist of Replicator, for about six years now via the interweb. Now that we’re past that, I can tell you what I think of this album. From Oakland, California, Replicator has a number of full-lengths and EPs out and has been around for over seven years. This release has ten songs clocking in at near thirty-seven minutes. The album was recorded by one Vern Rumsey, formerly of the band Unwound. And speaking of Unwound, there are definitely influences from them, as well as Shellac (Bob Weston recorded a previous Replicator album), Brainiac, Frodus, and a whole host of other bands. Occasionally, samples and keyboards are used. Vocals are sung and shouted from two different singers, both of whom have the amazing ability to deliver their lines with (I’m guessing) a straight face. Take, for instance, this line from “Fashionably Latent”: “If I were to travel back in time, fashion would be a main concern of mine.” Or, from the same song: “It’s like a Surrealist painting; the kind with a giant penis serving tea to dainty old ladies.” Using that sense of humor, the band seems to primarily focus on technology, hence the title, although other subjects are covered as well, including not giving up, being owned, and King Shit of FuckMountain. The energy and sense of fun from their live show (which is quite good, I might add) definitely comes across on the recording, which is a rare thing to find. The technological focus of the band serves to match up well with the style they play. It’s as though, in my mind, I can picture an alternate reality where the members of Replicator are the last human beings left on an earth that has become ruled by cyborgs. This may be the music that could start the revolution. I guess we can’t say we weren’t warned.
– Kurt Morris
With their off-kilter melodies and even more off-kilter lyrics (”It’s like a surrealist painting / The kind with a giant penis serving tea to dainty old ladies” comes to mind), Oakland trio Replicator again illustrates troubled times in a technology-reliant age with Machines Will Always Let You Down. Their third full-length album – a trip to a time in which, among other horrors, life-altering nanotechnology allows microscopic machines to explode in the bloodstream – would be terrifying if not for the exuberance that constantly breaks through the surface. The jagged edges are plentiful, but they serve to create crazily built structures that inevitably come crashing down. Between declarations of “Damn right, there’s evil inside” and “You will do as I command because I own you,” Replicator has set themes of pessimism, corruption and oppressive fear against an appealingly chaotic sound. And for sheer magnitude of profanity, may I suggest “King Shit of Fuck Mountain” for the soundtrack to the film adaptation of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City?
– Karen Nicoletti
Artist: ReplicatorDisc: You Are Under Surveillance
Insufficient Description of Sound: Abrasive poli-punk screeds featuring shrieking guitars, Temple of Doom bass riffs, maniacal shouting, and random Yngwie Malmsteen samples (You’ve unleashed the fookin’ fury!). Unnerving, cathartic, occasionally tedious, frequently pretty funny.
Unifying Lyrical Statement: This aggression will not stand, MAN — an excellent Big Lebowski reference.
Sex Appeal? “The themes on the album deal with paranoia, lost freedom of choice, airborne revenge, the end of the world, the problems and consequences of an overgrown consumerist, bottom line-oriented culture; and the merits of applied righteous indignation,” notes Replicator’s press release. “There are absolutely no songs about relationships or love.” Right.
Idealized Listening Environment: Guantanamo Bay.
Bonus Fact: Dig the Gauntlet reference (”Warrior Needs Food, Badly”) and the lovely piano figure that wraps up “The Weight of 3 Marlon Brandos.”
Further Info: Playing Oakland’s Mile High Club Saturday, September 11. $7, 9 p.m. 510-654-4549 or OaklandMile High.com
There was a time in the mid to late nineties when the underground rock community was free from Vice Mag fashionista posturing and deliberate genre aping. Replicator recalls those times. No white belts or shotgun bed head here, only loud chaotic rock reminiscent of Six Finger Satellite, Chrome and Bastro. Hide your disco balls, coke mirrors and Club I.D. fliers, because you’ll be hearing a lot more from Replicator and they are most definitely a DO!
This band comes from Oakland, California. They are a high energy 3 piece that plays intense, smart, Nomeansno inspired bass driven rock with intelligent lyrics-no love songs! The band mix in the occasional sample or bizarre synthesizer sound when it feels appropriate! They are sometimes angry but when you read the liner notes, you know they are quite cool. This sounds great when cranked up. This is the bands first full length CD. They had a previous lp called Winterval.
Blisteringly loud, politically engaged, full of stops and starts and broken by bizarre samples, Replicator’s second full-length delivers on the promise of 2002’s untitled EP, while adding new textures to the band’s mathy, driven anxiety. Each member of the SF-based trio brings his own brand of insanity to Replicator — Conan Neutron is behind the frenzied political rants and stabbing guitar, Ben Adrian’s thundering bass drives every track into the wall and beyond, and Chris Bolig’s drums hold the whole thing together — except when he, too, explodes.Replicator have become, if anything, more political than ever in the two years since their last record. Before, the issues were economic and social — the collapse of the dotcom economy, unemployment, estrangement from the system — and you can hear a bit of that on “Epoch” (the EP’s best track, which is also included on You Are Under Surveillance). On the newer songs, however, the targets are more specific. “Get mad, get mad, get mad, you son of a bitches,” says the sample that introduces “The Frogurt Is Cursed”, opening fire on the Bush administration, the war, the restrictions on civil liberties, the religious right and any other target that happens to raise its head. “You’ve released the fuckin’ fury,” a voice with a city accent observes, against a head-banging assault of guitar, bass and drums, and given the rest of the album, it’s hard to argue. Later on, there are samples of President Bush’s voice mixed before and under “It Seems Like The Real Deal, But The Citizenship
Doesn’t Hurt”, spouting his usual self-justifying pieties on terrorism, but Dubya gets buried under the traded shouts of “Go back / We’ll take you to camp x-ray,” which may refer to Guantanamo. It could all too easily go over the top, but there’s a goofiness here that undercuts the commentary. How seriously can you take a band that names one track after a frozen dessert and another (”Warrior Needs Food, Badly”) after a line from a video game?
The production here is clear enough that you can hear every element all the time, interacting, underlining, egging the others on to new levels of intensity. Moreover, there’s sudden, startling space built into the wall of noise, instances of silence that are as physical a presence as the cacophony that follows them. The Sabbathy interplay of bass and drums in “Mutually Assured Repulsion”’s intro is great, not just because of how Adrian and Bolig fill the spaces around each other’s notes, but because of the stops that have you leaning in for whatever’s next. The song thickens to a metal-tinged crescendo, stomping on the on-beats with guitar and bass and drums, then backs off again to a stripped bassline and vocals. An increasingly frenetic chorus of “We’re ready / Our wills are honed” is a march turning into a riot, a fractured firestorm that ends so suddenly you gasp.
The biggest step forward comes near the end, with “The Weight Of 3 Marlon Brandos”, a tightly coiled meditation on integrity. It is more restrained than anything else on the album, with guitar lines that feel almost lyrical, yet pushed forward by the same intensity as harder-rocking cuts like “The Frogurt” and “Alert Status: 0″. It’s like a loud song being pushed through a thin straw, concentrated and made relevant by its constraints. The song ends with a really beautiful piano solo from Ben Adrian, which somehow transforms the tune’s initial anger into sadness.
This is smart, angry music, played as hard as possible by people who are mad as hell but also prone to the occasional fit of giggles. If that sounds like your cup of tea, you could hardly do better than You Are Under Surveillance.
A popular entertainer recently said (more or less) that while the bombs are falling and people are dying around the world, “everybody in the club gettin tipsy.” The opportunity for musicians and entertainers to comment on current events is ripe, and most have decided to simply entertain instead of enlighten. One of the exceptions to this unfortunate phenomenon is Replicator, an Oakland trio whose modus operandi is to wake people up, open their eyes, and realize the times have already changed. Unsurprising given the band’s heavy involvement in its local Bands Against Bush chapter, the album opens with a sample: “Get mad, you sons of bitches, get mad.” From there, Replicator launches into a fierce angular sonic attack, relentlessly pounding machine-gun rhythms into the listeners head while shouting “Sit down, Shut up,” which in this case seems to be more of an observational musing on the apathy of fellow Americans than a command. The most easily accessible reference points for
the brand of rock brewed by Replicator may be Fugazi meets Rage Against the Machine. It’s there in the staccato vocal delivery, and the stop-start math-rock beats. The running theme of You Are Under Surveillance is the complacency of the American public while the government takes away more and more freedom in the interest of National Security. Song titles like “It Seems Like the Real Deal, But Citizenship Doesn’t Hurt” and “Alert Status: 0″ help reinforce this sentiment. A sample of George W. assuring us that ” The Government’s taking unprecedented measures to protect our homeland” doesn’t hurt. The lyrical content itself is just more ammo with which Replicator can shoot: “The stock price is rising / the bottom line has been cut / |how can you sleep?” Replicator seeks to awaken and enliven the listeners, and do a damn good job of combining more traditional post-punk elements with somewhat experimental sound-collage. The result is an invigorating wake-up for a country a littl
e too focused on finding out “where the party at.” (Substandard Records)
f there’s one thing I really dislike on albums, it’s not including lyrics in the booklet. If there’s another thing that really bugs me on albums, it’s poor use of movie sound bites and by that I mean they’re used such that you have a hard time telling what they’re saying. Thankfully, Replicator is able to overcome these two major handicaps by 1) having a slick, solid layout of their album (making it look like a file that’s been kept on the band) and 2) using a Simpsons reference as one of their song titles (”The frogurt is cursed”). Oh yeah, and the music ain’t too shabby either. Although they’re surely sick of the comparison by now, the undeniable reference to Shellac, A Minor Forest (especially on “Mutually Assured Repulsion”) and other such math-rock acts is essential in pinning down the Replicator sound. However, where most of those bands tend to have vocals that hide underneath their music, singer Conan Neutron’s lungs belt out tones that seem to contrast the music both
interestingly and sharply. While only eight songs long, the album comes in at 43 minutes. Unfortunately, it’s not until the second half of the album that the band starts to take off, showcasing their stronger material. But once there, they showcase a range of stops and starts, time changes and in many cases the ability to just rock out and have fun. No doubt Replicator is another act that could be chalked up in the “is a lot more fun to see live” category. Nothing wrong with that, though.
If I wanted to have a fucked up evening, there are plenty of different ways of doing it. I could, for example, grab myself a bunch of Prozac, smoke some crack, share needles with a junkie hooker, and then take her to a French dubbed black and white Woody Allen film. Or I could spend my days here coming up with some weird mathematical formula proving that my boss is actually the devil. Or I could just listen to Replicator’s newest audio contribution to the masses.
Aptly titled You Are Under Surveillance, this whole album reeks of paranoia. The bad kind, which makes little girls freak when they see you and cops usually arrest you. Honestly, I am afraid the more I listen to this album the more likely it will be that I’m going to the fucking movies tonight to watch a Woody Allen film! It’s growing on me though.
I think it would wrong to label these guys “art rock” just because of the negative connotations the term has gotten recently. Sure, the album is abstract and “arty” but it’s also aggressive, to the point, and well constructed.
The first couple times you listen to this you will be instantly reminded of Fugazi, the Mars Volta, and Regurgitator all at once. It seamlessly flows from abstract, chaotic noises to beautiful, quiet, and melancholic guitar passages that really mess with your head. At some points you want to throw this CD down the drain and before you know it these guys have enchanted again.
The first few tracks need some getting used, the opener really being more of an intro and second one (“Alert status: 0”) not really being a good track to open up an album with. The third track “It Seems Like the Real Deal, but Citizenship Doesn’t Hurt,” is insane. This is the track that made me want to smoke crack and go watch art house movies. It is rammed full of staccato guitar bits, aligned with strange rhythmic vocals, and aggressive, edgy drumming that makes you want to kick your commuting neighbour’s shins. Their lyrics are mainly political and angry, which surprisingly doesn’t get annoying as the mix them quite regularly with movie or sound outtakes, ala Ministry back in the days.
Track four on the album is rightly called “Epoch.” Not only is it over seven minutes long, but also it’s a perfect description of what is going on with this band. It starts off with an aggressive, almost metal-like guitar riff and runs into a nice mid tempo groove that gets accentuated by those typically Fugazi-like guitars. It is also their most structured tune, and it finishes off on a one and a half minute beautifully quiet guitar part. The song is oddly melodic and definitely the best one on the album.
Replicator are good, I like it a lot, just not every day. I have listened to this album on days where I have hated it and then there are days when you’ll love it. Usually the kind of days when you’re on drugs watching Woody Allen movies.
If there were a soundtrack for the nation’s year in events, Replicator’s second release, You Are under Surveillance, would be it. The Oakland trio’s album brings home all the paranoia, fear, and disgust felt by at least one in three Americans. Paired with the band’s style of ironic-to-just-plain-goofy humor, the songs remain opinionated without being overly critical. On opening track “The Frogurt© Is Cursed,” rambunctious vocalist (and Bay Guardian contributor) Conan Neutron sets the mood by shouting, “Get mad you son-of-a-bitches!,” followed by shrill-sounding drum ‘n’ bass arrangements straight out of a Bond movie. But Neutron slyly adds comic relief to the angst-filled track with a breezy “Just take it easy, man.” Benjamin Adrian’s guttural bass and cheeky sampling, plus Christopher Bolig’s rowdy percussion, add fuel to the fire and make the already hyper-driven sounds
rock solid. On “It Seems Like the Real Deal, but the Citizenship Doesn’t Hurt,” parts of a George W. Bush speech on terrorism are sampled along with Neutron’s mantra, “[Terrorists] go, go back on the first boat back!” Their political and pop culture samplings are laid on thick throughout the album, making for a sweet surprise and kicking the album to the top of any cult punk’s list.
Not content with merely pummeling its’ audience with an avalanche of drums, bass, and guitar, Oakland, CA’s Replicator adds salt to the wounds with copious samples and electronic noises, as well as a variety of vocal stylings from its’ two singing instrumentalists. Not a bad little combination, especially when you hear the skill with which every one of these aspects is executed.Oakland seems poised to be the next Williamsburg (not the colonial one, though), with its emerging electronic-tinged acts, like Rogue Wave and Gravy Train! rocking both sides of the indie spectrum. Replicator fits nicely into that scene, while also bringing up sweet nostalgic remembrances of Chicago’s Jesus Lizard and the days of Am-Rep records (at least when they were good).
“You Are Under Surveillance” is a heavy record, just in case I haven’t described it to you well enough. The guitars are detuned but still razor sharp. The bass is thick and constantly holding down the rhythmic intensity of the songs. Lastly but not least, you got these drums and well, they sound pretty drumlike (though, on Alert Status: 0, the drumming reaches points of sheer genius).
Add to this a penchant for funny song titles, and you have a pretty damn sweet post-punk record that will fit nicely between your Shellac and your June of ’44 and Hoover. ‘Nuff said.
This latest from Bay Area-based Replicator is not an easy listen. With more spins you gain more appreciation from their quasi-noise art rock. Yet, a quick listen through makes you want to throw the record across the room. You can’t exactly discern how much of an anarchic recording they were trying to make versus the pure quality of the band. I tend to the former given bassist Benjamin Adrian records bands for a living. Amongst the eight tracks on You Are Under Surveillance there is an abundance of samples, shouting vocals, heavily distorted guitars and a fair share of random shit. Replicator seems closest to reviving 80s electronic noise bands which consisted of actual song structure and not today’s pure noise contingent. Part of Replicator’s sound, as self-acknowledged, comes from using the band as an outlet for their mostly banal working stiff jobs. You definitely get the sense that Replicator is a band best experienced live than recorded.
Math, by its nature is geekery in its most pure form. It’s nerdier than chess, Doctor Who marathons and even anime collections. When bands start tweaking with the math-rock, tempo-bumping idiom, it’s tough not to picture them sitting down to brush up their pronunciation with a dog-eared copy of The Klingon Dictionary.Except for maybe Replicator. Part of that is because its sophomore album doesn’t rest upon seesawing tempos and dorkishly obscure musical theory. Instead, You Are Under Surveillance jangles and wrangles with the sort of unbridled noise usually reserved for bands with testosterone and chest hair rather than 20-sided dice and pipe-cleaner forearms. The trio plods along with heavy minor-chord arrangements that put quasi-metal powerhouse riffs at center stage, although there’s enough tempo-jacking tomfoolery to keep math types happy. The result is a record that somehow falls into the gigantic cracks between Big Black-styled noise, The 90 Day Men’s calculator-necessary rock and Queens of the Stone Age’s alt-metal. Confused? That could be Replicator’s ultimate point.
There’s another reason Replicator isn’t your standard-issue crew of calculus geeks: The band doesn’t take itself very seriously. Titles like “The Frogurt is Cursed,” “Warrior Needs Food, Badly” and “The Weight of Three Marlon Brandos” hint at the band’s off-center sensibilities. Equally strange is the flood of samples that mix it up with the band’s sparse vocals for an effect that’s half Paul’s Boutique cheese and avant-garde, uh, crackers. Replicator makes enough noise to rumble your liver, but deep down inside, it wants to you have a bit of fun in the swath of destruction it cuts.
You Are Under Surveillance
Kind of cool angular post-hardcore, whatever the hell that means. The buzzing guitars and frantic drumming are cool, and the vocals are like a paranoid, jerky de la Rocha. The longer songs get bogged down after awhile, but overall the band is neat, if you don’t mind a little avante garde abrasiveness.
The LP starts out promisingly enough, with an original, driving drum and bass line, but Replicator’s You Are Under Surveillance is an effort full of mixed results. At their best, Replicator’s music sounds creative, and influenced by (but not derivitive of) a cross between Rage Against the Machine and Television. At their worst they sound like Metallica wanna-be’s, or any other generic rock band.The first half of the CD is filled with what the band refers to as “working class art rock.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t like my art rock to be anywhere near qualifiers like “working class.” Although it comes down to personal preference, to me this seems like a common problem within the Progressive Rock genre. The musicians want to create something that focuses on being artistic and intelligent, but combine this with hardcore and punk influences. In effect they try to sound high and low-brow at the same time.
The product of this is a “mid-brow” sound. By that I mean Replicator probably appeals to a wider audience, while unfortunately losing the upsides inherent to the two seperate genres. Punk music is relevant because it is raw and energetic and honest. Prog-rock is deliberate, precise, and post-modern. The punk influences clash with the need for irony in post-modern prog rock. The math rock influences neutralize the threatening, edgy, sincere side of punk. The musical value of You Are Under Surveillance plummets as a result.
The second half of the CD is a different story, though. While still containing problems, they are only shadows of those on the first half. In “Mutually Assured Repulsion,” Replicator suddenly seems to find something like an original voice. Where “recontextualized” tape deck samples sounded gimmicky (track 3), and the rhythm section beat too fast and furious (track 2), there is more balance. Somehow the noisy feel is gone, and the guitar, bass, drums, and even vocals work together in harmony. Now they sound more like Recover, and even a little like Television, when Conan Neutron’s “caustically angular” lead guitar is given the opportunity to shine. The trip through the rest of Replicator’s latest offering is much more enjoyable. “Warrior needs food, badly,” has freak-out periods, but it’s more brave and experimental. “The Weight of 3 Marlon Brandos” returns to a similar fragile/bold sound as on “Mutually Assured Repulsion,” with entertaining musical change-ups thrown at the li
You Are Under Surveillance is definitely a mixed bag. Some of the songs leave you feeling like you’ve gotten your money’s worth, but others aren’t up to the more discriminating standards of indie-music fans. Hopefully, Replicator is able to recreate and improve the sound they displayed on the second half of this LP when they find themselves in the studio again.
Replicator — YOU ARE UNDER SURVEILLANCE [Substandard]
Replicator is one of the many bands that probably wouldn’t exist if Shellac and Slint had never released any records, but you shouldn’t hold that against them. Unlike a lot of bands on the Shellac / Slint tip, these guys (a trio with the odd helping hand here and there) have the chops to back up their play and the songwriting skills necessary to keep things moving. They also have a fondness for discussing paranoia, the evil that governments do, the consequences of consumerism, and Marlon Brando, which never hurts. The Shellac and Slint references are unavoidable (especially since their most outspoken / highly visible member, Conan Neutron, is also the guitarist, and bespectacled, and a principled dude, just like the legendarily cranky Alweenie), but there’s much more to them than that — if anything, they remind me more of Breaking Circus and early Killing Joke (especially on “It seems like the real deal, but the citizenship doesn’t hurt”), and they are most enamored of the o
dd but telling sound bite, weird noises, and other forms of chatter I associate more with noise and extreme electronica. Then, too, their concerns are inverted — Conan may sound an awful lot like Steve Albini at times (whether by nature or design I can’t even guess, and don’t particularly care about anyway), but where Steve’s righteous anger is generally directed at opaque, even cryptic personal situations whose real meaning is only evident to the band, Conan’s anger is directed at oppressive bullshit and urging people to fix or dismantle The System. Steve may sound like a cranky old man, but Conan sounds more like the voice in the wilderness. (A wilderness populated by a really loud drummer and a bassist capable of levitating buildings, but still.)
At the core of it all, they rock — drummer Chris Bolig in particular sounds like he’s breaking shit even when he’s quiet, and Conan sure gets worked up in a tizzy from time to time, spitting out hyperkinetic riffs of sometimes absurd complexity, frequently at a velocity indicative of excessive pill consumption (although the idea of Conan actually needing artifical assistance for his guitar hijinks is pretty hilarious, and equally unlikely). Through all the chaos, bassist Ben Adrian holds the floor down in such smooth fashion he might as well be playing in an ice-cream gangsta suit. Strange experiments in engineering abound, the band consistently plays with both precision and feeling (a tricky combination to master), and if it sometimes resembles Shellac a bit too much for its own good, well, what’s a poor boy from Oakland to do? Bonus points for the totally boss “The weight of 3 Marlon Brandos” (which actually lives up to its title, and then some), in which Conan demonstrate
s that he can play real purty-like when it so moves him, before they all come together to crush your skull over and over with great precision. If more bands put this much effort into their work (which shows) and turned out such consistent results, maybe the music landscape wouldn’t suck so much now. Go buy lots of copies of this so Conan can amass the bling-bling it takes to run for Prez and win. (Or you could just listen to the album for the sheer pleasure of it alone, I suppose….)
You Are Under Surveillance
BY GARRETT KAMPS
There’s much to like about this record. Let’s start with the song titles. “The Frogurt© Is Cursed” — that’s a good one, pretty self-explanatory. “It Seems Like the Real Deal, But the Citizenship Doesn’t Hurt” — hmmm, can’t figure that out, but it’s funny, no? Also, “Warrior Needs Food, Badly” — a reference to the most awesome of awesome old-school arcade games, Gauntlet. So, then: Song titles = good. What else = good here? Oh, everything. Beginning with track one’s opening sample, which announces, “Get mad you son of a bitches!,” this album is a brooding bevy of rusty-razor riffs, 10-ton bass lines, hollered vocals, and drums that drive the whole careening mess like a rodeo clown taming a mechanical bull. Having tightened up their paranoid noise-tornadoes for this, their second full-length, the members of Oakland’s Replicator soundtrack the schizophrenia induced by media overload as only those truly infected with the disease could. The effect is, to borrow t
he title of track seven, heavier than “The Weight of 3 Marlon Brandos.”
You are Under Surveillance
As cheesy as it sounds, sometimes when I’m listening to Replicator the thought pops into my brain – this is the sound of breaking shit. It just seems like the perfect soundtrack for a good, old-fashioned freak out. Historically, this Oakland, California trio has drawn a lot of comparisons, praise and criticism for sounding a lot like Shellac, and it was mostly justifiable; but this sophomore LP (they’ve also released an EP between the two full lengths) finds the band very much coming into their own sound. Sure, the Shellac comparison is still there, but their current output is much darker and more frantic than anything that Albini & company have ever produced. Personally, I also hear a good chunk of Brainiac and Jesus Lizard buried in there as well, and nearly every song is rounded out with any number of oddball samples (one song in particular samples a recording of wank-off metalhead Yngwie Malmsteen freaking out on an airline flight, somethin
g that was floating around the internet for a while about a year back and was good for quite a few laughs). Do yourself a favor and check out the audio samples at www.replicator5000.com if you’re so inclined.
…The rap on Replicator is that the band rocks too hard for the latte-sipping punk deconstructionists, and at the same time, it’s a little too complicated for the guys who just want to party. That’s great for the rest of us, because Replicator skates the thin line between thrash and art. It’s music that will rock your head while it shakes your body, and split your eardrums while it shatters your misconceptions…
Hot on the heels of reviewing Replicator’s blue tint cased Winterval,
comes the East Bay’s most enthusiastically math-prog band’s more adventurous four song ep. A well recorded epic compacted into 20 minutes, each track is simply “outtasight”. Conan jabs the vocals, half talking, half singing as an afterthought. The drumming is incredible. Bass Éyeow!
Track 2 “Bawkbakawk Bawkbagone” could be at home on a Shellac record, were it not for the tastefully inserted keyboard and toy effects. Samples “Thank you for calling the state of California…” welcome in “CAP Vehicle Retirement Application” with a wonderful bassline similar to Nirvana’s “Come as you Are”. The song progresses until about three minutes lapse, then the samples return and remix while the guitar layers on some effects and spaces out, this all happening while the drums take a more somber, droning effect. Here a Mogwai influence gives the tinny guitar a dreamy background.
Finally, song four, “Epoch” gives us more of that monster-at-the-end-of-the-level warpath music that Replicator will soon be well known for. Punch me in the gut and watch me cry.
…With the title-less EP, Replicator essentially updates the post-punk sound of the late 70s/early 80s, instead of mimicking it like The Rapture and Radio 4 are currently doing (successfully, nonetheless). Everything from that era is in tack here: pounding bass (with no elements of funk, however) that is never lost in the mix, angular guitar, atmospheric keyboards, and, well, creativity. I embrace this slight change in direction that Replicator has taken since the very strong Winterval LP and can only hope that they further develop this new “artsy” facet of the band on their next album. I also hope that they reach the wider audience that they deserve so they can make it outside of California.
Good if you like: Shellac, The Jesus Lizard, Big Black, Unwound, Touch & Go shit.
A simply packaged CD with nothing but a big black “R” to seperate you from this holy disc.
I could make a ton of comparisons – to the likes of Shellac (all hail as well!), The Jesus Lizard, even Helmet – but melding perfectly placed samples, toys and keyboard bits, and the urge to hail the devil – and you have Replicator.
No, they aren’t Satanic, unfortunatly, but they take on a slightly evil, and in a geeky way, a trashy form of evil political masterminding sneaky devilishness. The first track, “Validation Complex” is a blasting rock instrumental – quick drum beats, all that tasty off time “math rock” shit we geeky-rock fans love to eat up.
Next comes the aptly titled “Bawkbakawk Bawkbagone.” Drummer Chris Bolig’s strong and oh-so manly ‘I’m in control’ here beats work perfect with vocalist/guitarist
Conan Neutron’s (yes, Neutron) blood curdling and oh so passionate wails and fuzzy guitar. By the end of the song I’m already playing air drums. That is a good sign. This fab droning keyboard slips itself in when you least expect it, adding to the evilness. Spooky! At times it has the feel of ‘The Billard Player,’ by Shellac, until this evil fucking metal breakdown comes in.
This is when you hail.
“CAP Vehicle Retirement Application,’ automatically gives the feel of viva-la-revolution. Prof. Ben Adrian’s (engineered/mixed the record too at his Feedback Loop studio) finger pointing bass leads most of the song.
Conan better watch out that he doesn’t break a capillary with his screeching “We ain’t talkin’ labor..” We finally end with “Epoch,” an earth-shaking track lead in by kick ass distorted guitar and one loud as hell kick ass bass line. A monumental end that will have school children knocking over their desks and burning their homework. Replicator asks “how can you sleep?” Fuck sleep! All hail the Bay Area’s three-piece monster rock gods Replicator!
by: Sarah Stierch
All Music Guide
With tongues planted firmly in cheek, the eight songs on Replicator’s Winterval album rock without giving away too much ground to the bandmembers’ sense of humor. With song titles such as “Soda Troll” and George W. Bush’s infamous line “Strategery,” the three men who make up the band also don’t forget to rock. And rock they do — quite well, in fact — and in a very indie/college manner. With famed Shellac member Bob Weston behind the production, it’s clear to see that said band is one influence on the members, while fellow Bay Area math rockers A Minor Forest can also be heard via the many stops and starts and time changes. Nonetheless, Winterval is far from the typical math rock album, and thus makes it hard to pin down. A wide frame of references can be drawn in here, as some of the music is silly, with singer/guitarist Conan Neutron yelling “Here’s where the words go!” on the Nirvana-esque “Strategery.” Other times it’s abrasive and harsh while retaining some melody and yet it can also be delicately beautiful as heard on the piano-driven closer. With such a wide range of influences and showcasing those styles quite effectively, a little bit more direction — it seems like there is almost too much going on here — would surely showcase Replicator as a band to fill in the shoes of many of the Touch & Go acts.