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Replicator



Replicator owes allegiance to the Jawbox school of rock, which is to say that this explosive Oakland trio finds favor in off-kilter song structures, sharp angles, burly bass lines, hard melodies, and punishing loudness. Songs tend to begin harsh and sparse, then build slowly but steadily to gut-wrenching climaxes, before eventually resolving themselves. While there are occasional vocals, the trio's dynamic instrumental interplay is the emphasis here; sometimes they feel a bit like a more rockin', less wanky Dianogah.

The trio got started in 1998 when amateur drummer Chris Bolig placed an ad in the paper looking for other amateurs to play with. Vocalist/guitarist Conan Neutron answered the call and Replicator was born. Pretty soon they weren't amateurs anymore, which led the pair to recruit bassist Dan Kennedy to help them record an album. The result was their eight-song January 2001 debut LP Winterval, recorded with indie super-producer and Shellac member Bob Weston. The trio tried to capture the boisterous energy of their live shows on the album, winding up with some satisfyingly heavy shambolic rock.

In December 2001, the retooled trio (now featuring new bassist Ben Adrian) reconvened to record a CDEP which is neither untitled nor self-titled -- it just doesn't have a title. The trio may actually have upped the ante here with 20 more minutes of jittery, teeth-grinding post-punk. There are a few new weapons here, including some well-chosen tape samples and droning keyboards, but the big stars remain declamatory vocals, shards-of-glass guitar, and muscular rhythm section.