After a decade apart, Algernon Cadwallader is reuniting for a national tour this fall. All of the band’s original lineup from both of their albums (Some Kind of Cadwallader, Parrot Flies) will be performing, including Peter Helmis (vocals, bass), Joe Reinhart (guitar), Colin Mahony (guitar), Nick Tazza (drums), and Matt “Tank” Bergman (drums).
The Philadelphia-based band was an instrumental part of the mid-2000s emo revival, pairing Midwest emo with methodical math-rock instrumentation. Though they broke up in 2012, their legacy continues to thrive through album reissues, influencing a new generation of musicians.
About Algernon Cadwallader:
It’s been a decade since Algernon Cadwallader was “laid to rest,” as its farewell blog post stated, but the Pennsylvania band’s legacy continues to thrive. The group was part of the mid-2000s emo revival, pairing Midwest emo with math-rock musicianship. Algernon Cadwallader released two studio albums, a pair of EPs, and several other recordings over the course of seven years. The group ended in 2012 as a trio featuring Peter Helmis (vocals and bass), Joe Reinhart (guitar), and Tank Bergman (drums). In 2018, Pitchfork gave their reissued debut album an 8.3 out of 10, saying “Some Kind of Cadwallader still leaps out of the speakers, an album that treats its songs like secrets they’re dying to share.”
Tim Kinsella and Jenny Pulse have spent years making thoughtful and unpredictable art, whether musically as Joan of Arc or Spa Moans, or under their given names as writers and visual artists. On Giddy Skelter, their debut album as the unadorned “Tim Kinsella & Jenny Pulse,” they once again take an unexpected turn, but aim for something more direct. They’ve crafted a swirling, past-future, future-past, sorta-rock, collage-rock, melange borne from the confined anxiety of the pandemic. It’s a full-length undeniably of its moment, rich with musical references while radiating a visionary path forward.
To assemble Giddy Skelter, Kinsella and Pulse aggressively culled their tracklist until they had a lean and impactful 11 songs, unlike anything either musician has released before. Opening track “Unblock Obstacles” chugs along on a three-chord riff and dubbed-out drums before venturing into a hypnotic, feedback-filled drone that channels pre-Loveless My Bloody Valentine. “Over and Over” imagines a world where Slowdive or Lush collaborated with Prefuse 73. On “Nena,” one minute features loops of classical piano, the next Spacemen 3-style psychedelic drone, and the next contemporary R&B. The majority of songs on Giddy Skelter foreground Pulse’s yearning, ethereal vocals, giving the music a distinctly feminine overtone.
The title Giddy Skelter alludes to both Gimme Shelter, the infamous documentary about the Rolling Stones’ disastrous Altamont free concert, and the Manson Family’s Helter Skelter scenario. But none of this is an homage to a bygone era. And there’s another dimension to the title: It can be interpreted alchemically, combining two of the most popular songs in rock history — “Gimme Shelter” and “Helter Skelter” — both of which have sinister associations that give them greater gravity. Sometimes the thing that makes great rock n’ roll is the ineffable and the intangible, something you can only describe as alchemy; other times it’s the rigors of process. On Kinsella and Pulse’s Giddy Skelter, it’s both — and it sounds unlike anything else you’ll hear this year.