Release Date: Oct 21, 2014
Record label: Drag City
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Neo-Psychedelia
Chicago’s repeato-psych troupe of the decade open Release, a bits-and-pieces collection spanning several years of recording, with about nine minutes of music dedicated to hash that was initially released back in 2008. It’s a decent ideological summation of CAVE. Next year marks the ensemble’s 10-year anniversary. And while it has purposefully remained as esoteric as possible—not releasing full lengths in any sort of concerted manner, playing sporadically and mostly eschewing vocals—figuring out how to properly pummel any one circular riff into the ground seems to come naturally.
With a sound that feels like a minimalist's take on psychedelic Krautrock, Cave have become a band known for their incredibly tight, Motorik grooves. Given how efficient Cave's sound is, it would be easy to think that what we've heard from the band is all there is, but with Release: Singles 2007-2013, listeners are treated to the opportunity to see a relatively looser side of Cave. Made up of cuts that didn't quite make it onto their previous efforts, Release gathers 4-track recordings from throughout their time together, capturing all of the various lineup and stylistic changes the Chicago transplants have made over the intervening years.
The product of a smattering of now legendary German groups in the 1970s, Motorik has in more recent years grown considerably in its influence on a range of indie artists who have used its metronomic rhythms and repetition as a jumping off point or even a modus operandi. CAVE, themselves avid practitioners, went more from the former to the latter between their last two studio albums, taking almost something of a purist tack with their most recent, Threace. Approximating the atmosphere as if they had hopped in a time machine and recorded in the same castle that Can jammed out Tago Mago, Threace‘s level of retro-futurist loyalty was up there with the likes of Dungen’s Ta Det Lungt.
Vintage space-rock is a finite resource. No matter how deep you dig, there are only so many fuzzy riffs and analog synth squelches that can possibly be exhumed from the 1960s and '70s. If only for this reason, Cave have a purpose in the world. Like Bitchin Bajas, their Drag City labelmates (with whom they share members Rob Frye and Cooper Crain), the Chicago-based quintet do their best to expand the world’s limited supply of old-school zone-out sounds.