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Northern Spy Records

1993–1997

by craw

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  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

      $24.99 USD  or more

     

  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Includes unlimited streaming of 1993–1997 via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 3 days

      $24.99 USD or more 

     

  • Includes unlimited streaming of 1993–1997 via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 7 days

      $34.99 USD or more 

     

  • Limited Edition 6 LP Box Set
    Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    Three remastered double LPs and an exhaustive 200-page book housed in a wrapped box with wide-spine jackets.

    Includes unlimited streaming of 1993–1997 via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

    Sold Out

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about

Northern Spy reissues the first three records by Cleveland, Ohio, post-hardcore band Craw in a limited-edition vinyl box set, 1993–1997. All out of print for two decades or more, these full-lengths—1993’s self-titled debut, 1994’s Lost Nation Road and 1997’s Map, Monitor, Surge—complete a story that concluded on Bodies for Strontium 90, released in 2002 by Hydra Head Records. The new box set lovingly reintroduces these records in a deluxe package including three remastered double LPs and an exhaustive 200-page book. The book, designed by the team behind one-of-a-kind visually driven label Aqualamb—who have also overseen visuals for the entire release—includes a wealth of unpublished photos and ephemera, an exhaustive oral history of Craw drawn from newly conducted interviews, and a detailed timeline of band activities, shows and releases, stretching from Craw’s 1988 formation to their 2002 break-up.

Thanks to the passion of writer and musician Hank Shteamer, who served as project organizer for the set and funded it through Kickstarter, Craw’s music finally receives the reissue it deserves. We hope that 1993–1997 will spur a reexamination of the band’s place in the lineage of aggressive, challenging, radically unorthodox underground rock and metal.

To celebrate the release of this epic set, Craw are reuniting for two special shows, taking place Friday, 3/11/16, at the Grog Shop in their hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, and Saturday, 3/12/16, at Saint Vitus in Brooklyn, New York. All band members that played on the albums included in 1993–1997 will be on hand at each show, participating in career-spanning performances drawn from these releases as well as Bodies for Strontium 90.

Please get in touch to discuss reviews, features and airplay. Members of the band and Hank Shteamer are available for interviews.

"Craw’s music is explosive, eerie and downright riveting, combining the visceral rush of metallic post-hardcore, the compositional majesty of progressive rock and the purposeful abstraction of experimental improv, while at the same time achieving a rare, insular coherence all its own.” — Hank Shteamer, writer, musician and project organizer

"Craw was one of those things where the first time I saw it, it just completely blew me away. I'd never heard anything quite like Craw up to that point. They were this strange mixture of noise-rock and metal with this very eccentric preacher-type character doing these weird pseudo sermons over the top of the music. It was just a very potent concoction of elements. Having a seen a band like that expanded the horizons of what was possible, so in that way, Craw definitely rubbed off on Isis." — Aaron Turner, Isis and Hydra Head Records

"What Craw will use as a moment in one song, another band might use as a theme for a whole album. Craw's sound is spread out across a universe of disparate musical genres. They never imitate. Other bands imitate them.” — Steve Albini

Label: Northern Spy Records
Street Date: December 11th, 2015
Formats: 6 LP box set, Digital
Packaging: Wrapped box with Wide Spine Jackets, 200 Page Book

On the band Craw

Craw were an underground band from Cleveland, OH, active from 1988 through 2002. Their sound touched on metal, post-hardcore and progressive rock while remaining wholly distinct from any movement. Anyone interested in dark, heavy, complex rock/metal—everything from Tool, Meshuggah and King Crimson to Neurosis, Don Caballero, Isis, Rodan, Kayo Dot and Gorguts—needs to know their work. Craw's final album, Bodies for Strontium 90, came out on the visible, well-respected label Hydra Head in 2002, yet their early discography, including the stunning full-lengths Craw (1993), Lost Nation Road (1994) and Map, Monitor, Surge (1997), is little known even among connoisseurs. A new Kickstarter-funded box set, 1993–1997, aims to remedy that.

Each of these albums, all beautifully recorded or co-recorded by Steve Albini, is an endlessly involving labyrinth in which elegiac beauty presses up against nightmarish ugliness. The records feature air-tight, ingeniously off-kilter riffs; vocals that range from a faint whine to a horrifying shriek; epic, multichapter song structures; intoxicating guitar textures; an immense dynamic range; and esoteric lyrical themes. The songs don't follow conventional patterns, but their internal logic is uncannily sound; they're scientific in their microdetail, yet at the same time, bracingly emotional.

These records aren't special merely because they're obscure; they're not second best to everything you've already heard from their era. We truly believe that these three LPs stand alongside acknowledged ’90s masterworks such as Slint's Spiderland, the Jesus Lizard's Goat and Shellac's At Action Park.

On Craw (1993)

Recorded by Steve Albini in June, 1993, Craw was the band's debut album, originally issued by the Chicago label Choke, Inc. in October of that year. Craw is arguably the group's most intense and direct statement of purpose, a record that juxtaposes punishing heaviness and demented complexity with a remarkable attention to pacing and dynamics. Vocalist Joe McTighe uses the full range of his voice, from an eerie whine to a harrowing shriek, and some of the most strikingly unusual lyrics ever heard on a heavy rock album, to portray a variety of unsettling scenarios: a woman survives a plane crash only to be plagued by a stalker ("405"), a terrorist calling himself the Lord's Avenger attempts to assassinate an environmental activist ("Stomp," based on a true story). Clocking in at 69 minutes, Craw is a thrilling, unsettling epic.

On Lost Nation Road (1994)

Also recorded by Steve Albini, one year after the session that yielded Craw, Lost Nation Road came out on Choke, Inc., in November of 1994. Craw's second full-length finds the band distancing itself somewhat from the metal and post-hardcore elements that featured prominently on its first LP. The sound here is murkier, more shaded and arguably richer and even more menacing than what came before. Driven by conservatory-trained drummer Neil Chastain and virtuosic new bassist Zak Dieringer, the band pushed their esoteric compositional sense into deeply outlandish realms, incorporating saxophones, samples, strange vocal effects and a heightened sense of dynamics.

"It's like this constantly surging, undulating thing that sucks you in," says Isis frontman and Hydra Head cofounder Aaron Turner of Lost Nation Road. "All the little guitar lines and intricate drum fills feel like these little tendrils that interlock with each other and overlap and wrap around inside your skull.”

On Map, Monitor, Surge (1997)

Map, Monitor, Surge was co-recorded by Steve Albini and esteemed Cleveland metal producer Bill Korecky at Korecky's Mars Recording studio in December of 1996. Craw's third album came out on Cambodia Recordings, a label owned by Craw guitarist and cofounder Rockie Brockway, in the spring of 1997. Map, Monitor, Surge is a strikingly different record than the two that preceded it. This record features new drummer Will Scharf—later known for his work in the crushing math-metal outfit Keelhaul—who brought a looser, more unhinged feel to Craw's music. The contrast between Scharf's intuitive, jazz-informed style and the guitarists' continued interest in wildly elaborate song structures yields some of Craw's most wired and visceral work, including a three-part suite of through-composed prog-punk miniatures and the 12-minute concluding journey "Days in the Gutter / Nights in the Gutter." Map, Monitor, Surge would be Craw's final album with cofounding guitarist David McClelland, whose texture- and noise-driven approach was an integral element of the band's early work.

credits

released December 11, 2015

Self-Titled
Chris Apanius - bass
Rockie Brockway - guitar
Neil Chastain - drums
David McClelland - guitar
Joe McTighe - voice
Release Date

Lost Nation Road
Rockie Brockway - guitar
Neil Chastain - drums
Zak Dieringer - bass
David McClelland - guitar
Joe McTighe - voice

The following appear on "Cholera, Botulism + Tarik" and "All This Has Made Me":
Marcus DeGrazia - alto saxophone
Matt Dufresne - baritone saxophone

Map, Monitor, Surge
Rockie Brockway - guitar
Zak Dieringer - bass
David McClelland - guitar
Joe McTighe - voice
Will Scharf - drums

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about

craw Cleveland, Ohio

Craw are a band from Cleveland, OH, initially active from 1988 through 2002, and newly active as of 2015. All donations made to craw through Bandcamp will assist the band with future activities.

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Track Name: 405 (1993 - Self-Titled)
The sign of the beast is surely 405
It was like I committed a crime or something
It's a pattern
I tried to break up with him
He destroyed the paint job on my car
I wake up from a break-in dream and think he's there
The cops can't stop this until he gets serious
If you want a word with him, get in line
Whene'er I see him at work, I shake

And when it took off, I knew it was going down
I opened mine eyes
Still strapped to my seat in waist-deep water
I helped this rescue guy who fainted after the explosion
The few people coming out were blue-skinned from the cold

We are not allowed to give out any information
Her face was frozen, and I knew, and I knew, and I knew
It was like I committed a crime or something
Whenever I see him at work, I shake
I'm sick of being scared all the time
I'm sick of being mad all the time
I'm falling out of the sky