In the meantime (ha!), former Helmet drummer John Stanier (who was smart enough to skip the Helmet reunion) is on tour with Battles, a band that is mechanically precise and Spartan -- but in an intelligent way. With Stanier's punch-press drumming, the staccato guitar sting of Ian Williams (yes, from Don Caballero) and the strange percolations and stutters of composer Tyondai Braxton, Battles is the permutation of intellectual superiority and super-tight musicianship that is the opposite of stupid. That won't translate into album sales either, by the way, but twelve-minute soundscapes constructed of input-jack pop, skittery cymbal work and amp hiss are a tough sell if you're working the stupid circuit. Better to keep smart and strive for something higher than the lowest common denominator.
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