Even the guys in Tendril would tell you that their music isn’t for everyone. The music dances around the fact that they are likely very capable of writing a much more palatable rock tune, but have no desire to do so. It’s easy and a little too convenient to throw around a term like “noise rock” when ones presented with sounds that are on the contrary to what guitars and other instruments were intended to do, and in this case it would be completely accurate, but that’s only a fraction of what is going on with this band. What you’ve got is a challenging, dizzying listen in which I imagine the guitar tabs to look like someone made an instruction manual on how to make a guitar want a restraining order.
Article by James Wagner
Photograph of Tendril Live by Alexi Zeren
On both “Smear” and their split with the equally interesting Godstopper, Tendril have moments of near Jesus Lizard styled dissonant rock goodness mixed with much more angular, quieter moments that bring a strong feeling of tension. Often the rhythm section stands on it’s own while the guitar makes noises that are more experimental manipulations of the strings as opposed to what one generally associates with a “riff”. Tendril have very little in the way of formula in terms of song arrangement, and instead seem to rely largely on mood.
Somewhere between talking and yelling, and somewhere between a question and a proclamation are the vocals. This is a point of interest because the chosen inflection of the vocals seems to attempt to convey an emotion that doesn’t quite exist. Every shouting line is delivered as if it could be justifiably ended with any punctuation mark of your choosing. Basically, the no cursing signs at the broceanfront. It’s noteworthy that the band has a great sense of humor about itself, with song titles like “i am never wrong” and numerous mentioning of an ever elusive ketchup packet on their Bandcamp page.
The band’s artwork is that of singer Sam Vanagas, looking like minimalist, bleak 2d landscapes with occasional dashes of color. These themes are seminal to his artwork, but also a departure from the beloved-to-plenty pink cat and cranky old men themes, also representative of the band’s sense of humor. And in these days with the amount of time, money and energy it takes to keep an unmarketable to most (but rad) band, you have to keep a sense of humor. Keep an eye out for their new release that is slated to be released when it is released.
To listen to tendril visit tendrilplanet.bandcamp.com
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