Tera Melos has become infected with a strain of pop. The Sacramento trio are slurring melodies and scurrying rhythms on their new full length album, Patagonian Rats. We find our clever friends delving deeper into intricate and more complex song structures. While traditionally Tera Melos is covered with a dense sound, on this album there are melodic hooks that almost seem to defy the band’s experimental edge. Heed my prose, though, and know that this does not mean they have lost their sound, but don’t be surprised by clear and undistorted vocals layered throughout the mixes.
A distinctive element of Tera Melos is their ability to create songs not based on repetition, instead using upbeat tempo and shaky riffs. Their songs never allow the listener to become bored. For example, take the track “Another Surf” a grindy blend of horns and guitars clash to create a cacophony of noise that could easily fit on a Daughters album. Each time I listen to this track I am able to find some new instrument buried in the mix that wasn’t there before. I am not going to drone on about the greatness of this album unnecessarily, however. Phased out guitars and reverb vocals lay the groundwork for a guitar-tapping extravaganza throughout Patagonian Rats. I mentioned previously that Tera Melos have embraced pop, so I should probably clarify that statement. Pop is an odd thing to nail down. Think about the band The Flaming Lips. What kind of music do they make? Is it pop, rock or a fusion of fucked up music? Good artists are able to bend the rules of normal conventions. Their music usually has the ability to stick with you and evoke emotions. Tera Melos have aged from the instrumental / Cap n’ Jazz like band they were into a rock band with a brain. In accepting this shift they are breathing a refreshing gust into the lungs of indie rock.
Tera Melos has this ability to create music that changes each time you listen to it. Every listen to this album I find new things to keep me interested, which is something that is completely rare in today’s musical scenes. Simply put, their music is intelligent, humble and worthy of your ears. - Corey Mack
"now that you’ve listened to patagonian rats a hundred times, you may have noticed that it’s densely layered with goodie bits. there’s lots of skronky blip sounds, electro snare rolls and melodies hidden all over the place. we thought it’d be fun to recreate as much of the record as we could live. so our friend evan will be touring with us, helping to provide the pieces that make up PR. tera melos as a four piece!? (GASP). we met evan on the very first night of our very first tour ever- some show in san jose where a girl punker, wearing pirate stockings, got shanked in the belly. if you squint your eyes evan could almost be related to jeff. check out evan’s band, Worker Bee. the songs sound awesome as a 4 piece. we’re real excited for everyone to hear them. we’ll also be opening the TM vault and playing a few songs that have never been played live. rad.
here’s an early 4 piece rehearsal of “FROZEN ZOO”, thanks Terroreyes.TV for the video.
i remember coming up with the name and really liking that visually and audibly the words didn’t really conjure up specific images. it was up to the viewer/listener to decide what it could possibly mean, and from there what the music could possibly sound like. it starts one’s musical relationship with us on a completely clean slate. the words themselves actually mean something, but to give it away would take the magic out of it. we’re an interactive band by nature, so an unusual/unfamiliar/sometimes unpronounceable name is keeping with the spirit of that.
2. Your upcoming album (“Patagonian Rats”) is your first full-length for Sargent House label.
Working with SH – was it any different from working other/previous labels?
working with sargent house is great on many levels, more than just the obvious- good people, good distribution, family environment. of course those are all important, but there are many deeper layers to the label. they’re extremely smart and forward thinking folks that function more like another band member. the owner has a very unique history of how she got to be where she is. she’s “from the ground up” in the truest sense of the words. to call them a label/management company is a big understatement. as far as compared to our experience with other labels, i’m not sure. before sargent house there were no labels that showed a drop of interest in us.
3. “Patagonian Rats” seems to be based around a concept of some kind.
Would you describe it as a “concept album”?
yes and no. lyrically and musically it is not an intentional concept record. we really liked the aesthetic that “Patagonian Rats” embodied. it’s similar to how/why we named the band, but in this instance, instead of non-images, our brains paired lots of awesome visuals and ideas to that title. slowly the music started to become Patagonian Rats, (or at least what our brains deemed “patagonian rats”), through the completion of the record. so the concept is the content, in other words, patagonian rats is patagonian rats.
4. What are some of the musical influences to your work?
personally, i feel like my brain is a musical sponge- consciously and unconsciously collecting sounds all day, everyday. every time i’m at disneyland i feel very musically inspired. as far as bands go, we are collectively influenced by the flaming lips, sonic youth, black flag, nirvana, king crimson, pixies plus lots more. currently my brain is being freaked out by oingo boingo and devo.
5. What about non-musical influences – any movies, drawings, animation that made a particular impact on your work/music?
i can’t think of specific non-musical influences. i mean, the honest answer to that is everything that happens in the universe is an influence- being broke, people that believe in the devil, a good meal, going off a rope swing, etc. and by that i’m referring to an unconscious influence. i don’t mean to imply that i don’t have any money, so that influences me to write a good song, or that i disagree with christianity therefore it fuels my creativity to write music (although that’s probably true! haha.) it just means that for every action there is a reaction, and that when you add up all the actions that surround us it creates our lives and how we live them.
6. If rock and roll is truly dead – who killed it? Was Tera Melos responsible for it in any way?
i don’t know who killed it. i hope it wasn’t us. there’s no way it was us. i’d like to sever the head of rock and roll v2010. gosh, the musical landscape is in such a sad, dilapidated state right now. i believe there is hope for it though. people have to recognize what they are being fed. it’s like our political system- republican or democrat. how about fucking neither. of course we are a long way from that. the coolest thing is that whether or not things change, musically speaking, you can make a record and it will be around forever. perhaps someone will find Patagonian Rats in a record store 20 years from now, even 50 years, and be really excited and engergized. there’s nothing more exciting than finding music that existed before you were born and being freaked out and inspired.
So our friends over at TerrorEyes.TV will be releasing this limited edition (Only 500) pieces 7” as their first ever release! It has 2 remixes on it of the song Frozen Zoo from Patagonian Rats. One is by Raleigh Moncrief and the other is by Tera Melos’ own Nick Reinhart. It will also include on it the studio version of the song. Anyway, you can pre-order them at the Tera Melos store and we will have them on tour with us. They will come with a free download card as well. And we’d like to say thanks to our label Sargent House for helping TerrorEyes.TV to get this done and for not being douches in general about it.
Side A Frozen Zoo - Album Version Frozen Zoo - Thawed Out Mix (Nick Reinhart)
In celebration of it’s Sept 7th release, Tera Melos will be taking their Patagonian Rats out on tour. Lot’s of surprises in store at the Tera Melos live show as well. The Double gate fold 12” Vinyl (which comes with 3 bonus tracks only available on Vinyl!) and the CDS are now in, so all orders taken from the online store will ship on Monday, August 23rd, that’s right you will get it early! We have some pretty good deals on the bundles if you want to go get in on those.
Tera Melos USA Tour 09/09 Sacramento, CA @ Sol Collective 09/10 Seattle, WA @ The Vera Project 09/11 Portland, OR @ The Artistery 09/12 Reno, NV @ HSS Rainshadow 09/14 Englewood, CO @ Moe’s 09/15 Omaha, NE @ The Slowdown 09/16 St. Louis, MO @ The Firebird 09/17 Chicago, IL @ Subterranean 09/18 Kalamazoo, MI @ The Strutt 09/20 Toronto, ON @ The Shop at Parts and Labour 09/21 Montreal, QC @ Bar St. Laurent II 09/22 Binghamton, NY @ Bazooka/Bazooka 09/23 Brooklyn, NY @ Death By Audio 09/24 Richmond, VA @ Exit 76 09/25 Durham, NC @ Duke University 09/26 Columbus, SC @ The Whig 09/27 Atlanta, GA @ Wonderroot 09/28 Mobile, AL @ Alabama Music Box 09/29 New Orleans, LA @ The Big Top 09/30 Houston, TX @ Fitzgerald’s 10/01 Dallas, TX @ The Nightmare 10/02 San Antonio, TX @ The Korova 10/03 Austin, TX @ Mohawk 10/05 Phoenix, AZ @ Trunk Space 10/07 San Francisco, CA @ Bottom Of The Hill
Tera Melos Japan Tour 10/11 Okayama, JP @ Pepperland # 10/12 Fukuoka, JP @ Graf # 10/13 Kyoto, JP @ Metro 10/14 Osaka,JP @Sunsui 10/15 Nagoya, JP @Tight Rope 10/16 Tokyo, JP @ Unit 10/17 Rappongi, JP @ Superdeluxe * 10/18 Yamagata, JP @ Sandinista * 10/19 Aomori, JP @ Sublime * 10/20 Morioka, JP @ Club Change * 10/21 Sendai, JP @ Park Square * 10/22 Toyama, JP @ Club Mairo *
Artist: Tera Melos Album: Patagonian Rats Label: Sargent House Release Date: September 7th, 2010
01. So Occult 02. Kelly 03. The Skin Surf (VIDEO) 04. Aped 05. Trident Tail 06. Frozen Zoo (MP3) (any file format) 07. In Citrus Heights 08. Skywatch 09. Party With Gina 10. Another Surf (VIDEO) 11. Westham United 12. A New Uniform/Patagonia Vinyl Bonus Tracks: Purple & Stripes, Kelley & Manar the Magic