Math rock is a genre dominated by the smart-ass, both in terms of creators (in this case, ROLAND) and listeners (you people). As a musical tool, smart-assed-ness (sorry for that teachers, as well as for all these parentheses) still involves turning a phrase, because phrasing is a part of music as well as pissing off your friends, family, and coworkers.

ROLAND (caps lock on, and no reference to Japanese musical equipment manufacturers) are a four piece instrumental outfit from San Francisco. Enter The Ronald is their first release, but they have been honing their craft since 2012, and played live with acts like Qui and Pinback. The distorted guitars are interwoven, but with no clear big spoon/little spoon, and the drums are crisp and dry. While sometimes perfect control can lead to a sort of sterility, ROLAND manage to avoid this by maintaining a playful but professional structure to their songs. Counterpoint between guitar and bass is a key motif in Enter The Ronald; the combination of dark and aggressive riffs with this distinct experimental backbone makes RONALD a loud yet cerebral listen, bearing similarity to bands like Town Portal and Body Hound.

The turning of a phrase is a valuable element to their music. They roll through timing changes frequently, and lull you into a false sense of security by utilizing half-time, only to pull the rug out. But, while the listener can feel like they have been had, it feels more like a buddy turning off the light while you’re in the shower than an Enron scandal. ROLAND wants to screw with you because they know you’re all homies, and that you won’t get mad, and you know what? You won’t.

File Under

Dark, metal, hardcore, math rock, instrumental, progressive, shredding

Sounds A Tad Like

Body Hound, Town Portal, Russian Circles


$5USD (Bandcamp)


San to the Fran, USA