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Alex HallZak RilesBill SlaterEmil Amos

Zak Riles

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The track is by Zak Riles - "Chloe"


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Photographer: Zak Riles.


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Zak Riles


Songs by Zak Riles start at .99

Watter is a new trio made up of close friends and collaborators whose collective pedigree reads like a desert island list of must-haves in experimental rock musicians. Multi-instrumentalists Zak Riles (Grails) and Tyler Trotter are anchored by legendary drummer Britt Walford (Slint, Evergreen) on six genre-defying pieces of monolithic mood music. For Riles and Trotter, it’s a chance to dig deeper into the sandbox in which Grails have sculpted many mercurial masterpieces in recent years; for Walford, it’s the opportunity to play a substantial role in a new active band for the first time in nearly twenty years.

A typical Grails song (if there is such a thing) starts with a loosely strummed guitar, or wind, or ocean tides, and layers are slowly added bit by bit until a pulse of bass and drum-driven groove reveals itself. Plenty of stereo effects and creative mixing ensure that sheets of sound dance in one speaker and out the other. The organic analog tones naturally blend acoustic instruments with vintage synths. Kraut-rock jams culminate in a final hook or epiphany, often stopping before the listeners can nod their red-eyed heads a second time. Guitarist Zak Riles defends this method: "We do not have vocals so we end up trying to figure out the best way to make a song interesting compositionally without blowing our wad."

Zak Riles - Zak Riles (CD, Album) at Discogs

# Release cover Release title Tracks amount Download release in mp3? Released at Label
1 Zak Riles 7 mp3, CD 2008-10-00 Important Records (2)

Zak Riles Discography at Discogs

Watter is the new band consisting of Zak Riles (Grails), mutli-instrumentalist Tyler Trotter, and the aforementioned Britt Walford of Slint (among other projects). So, while it might be slightly misleading to label this a true amalgam of Slint and Grails (for which atomic imagery might be more justified), the resulting music earns, perhaps, the expected description. , their debut LP out on May 27, is a “stunning combination of heady psychedelic rock, vintage cinematic New Age explorations, and sinister Krautrock,” according to a press release. The album was recorded in their collective studio in Louisville, KY. Okay? Kentucky!? Quit bugging me to give your state a shout-out.

Zak Riles, lead guitarist for the prolific Grails, melds idioms and instrumentation of traditional American and Middle Eastern music in his main gig, so it shouldn't be any surprise that he would adopt this approach on his self-titled debut. The results, however, are decidedly mixed: while the album finds Riles playing as assuredly as ever, it also shows him relying on unnecessary and awkward crutches that ultimately depreciate the record.