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Album Review

Talker, U.S. Maple's third album — and their debut for Drag City — features more of their melted, bluesy avant-rock. "Bumps & Guys," "Running from Kabob" and "Breeze, It's Your High School" feature droning, rubbery guitars, happenstance percussion and slow-burning tempos, creating the sonic equivalent of fresh tar: dark, hot and viscous. Abrasive and piercing guitars slice through the sludge on "More Horror" and "Apollo, Don't You Crust?" while raspy, warbling vocals push U.S. Maple even closer to the limits of listenability. For all its surface chaos however, Talker's noise has an underlying space and structure that makes it as compelling as it is initially inaccessible; once caught in its sonic tar pits, it's fascinating to hear what else is stuck in there.


Formed: 1995 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

In early 1995, U.S. Maple was born out of the ashes of two groups at Chicago's Northern Illinois University. Lead singer Al Johnson and "high" guitarist Mark Shippy were in Shorty, while drummer Pat Samson and "low" guitarist Todd Rittman spent their time with the Mercury Players. After the breakup of the two bands, the members met to see how they could deconstruct rock, only to leave its most basic elements. Since their development, they have released three different albums. The band recorded their...
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Talker, U.S. Maple
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