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Don Caballero

Post Rock/Math rock

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Don Caballero Don Caballero 2 album cover
3.93 | 106 ratings | 11 reviews | 31% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1995

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Stupid Puma (4:21)
2. Please Tokio, Please This Is Tokio (11:18)
3. P, P, P, Antless (3:44)
4. Cold Knees (In April) (11:00)
5. Dick Suffers Is Furious With You (9:11)
6. Cold Knees (In April)Cold Knees (In April) (4:14)
7. Rollerblade Success Story (4:30)
8. No One Gives A Hoot About Faux-Ass Nonsense (10:44)

Total time 59:02

Line-up / Musicians

- Ian Williams / guitar
- Mike Banfield / guitar
- Matt Jencik / bass
- Damon Che / drums

Releases information

CD Touch And Go ‎- TG143CD (1995, US)

2xLP Touch And Go ‎- TG143 (1995, US)

Thanks to PROGMAN for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy DON CABALLERO Don Caballero 2 Music

DON CABALLERO Don Caballero 2 ratings distribution

(106 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(31%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

DON CABALLERO Don Caballero 2 reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Mind-boggling, frightfully complex and powerful, math rock is one of the most exciting styles of music to come out of the United States since Jimi Hendrix brewed his roiling cauldron of heavy psych- blues over thirty-five years ago. The team of Damon Che, Ian Williams, Mike Banfield and Matt Jencik demonstrate that with exuberance on their second studio album.

'Don Caballero 2' takes us through a storm of rhythmic energy and grey tones of bizarre color as it grabs the listener by the hair and never lets go, pulling us into a progressive battle, a dirty little war in the trenches, real, unrelenting and totally satisfying. Don Cab don't care, they're here to fight and claw their way through the musical firmament and take no prisoners in their quest for glory in warfare. If you choose to go along, bring a flak vest. The set consists of eight instrumental pieces unified by the Don's garage-band-raised-to-glory sound that weave minimal lines together in a maximal way. Though simple in format - Che's remarkable drums, Williams' and Banfield's sonic dirt and Jencik's solid bass lines - the boys know how to get the most from the least. Reminiscent of Robert Fripp's heavier leanings but outdoing the master and charting new territory, Don Caballero have truly struck a vein of precious metal in more ways than one. For anyone interested in a new way of seeing instrumental music, Don Caballero is a crucial voice in a new frontier of American prog and their albums are rocks of pure roll.

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars 4.5 stars really!!!

Well, I'm not sure DC took their public for imbeciles, but they might have spared their math rock fandom the condescending album title 2 for their second album. Given especially their obvious denunciation of industrial pollution in their artwork, they might have pulled a more evocative name for it. So Damian Ché's group is out for another stomping and trampling of our brain cells, and the bunch do not mince their musical propositions for no one, including this writer.

Of course coming from a steel city such as Pittsburgh, you are likely to have a rather industrial ambiance (but I wouldn't call them Indus-rock either) in your music, and a wild aggressive soundscapes that needs to be played at monstrous levels to actually give out what it attempts. There is definitely an obtuse side to their kind of music (let's face it, you have zero chance to get laid while playing this album ;-) and one cannot help but feeling that they go out of their way to be as grating and irritating as possible (those metallic sawing sounds and tool banging percussions in the dronal end of the second track). Should we call this Rock By Affirmation, just because of its raw attitudes?

Hardcore? Yes, in some ways they definitely are hardcore (and obtuse, but in a positive way), but in a refined way where Red-era Crimson influences are obvious and incredibly fasts math-laced rhythms, and their nihilist attitudes. Caballero's rock can remind of a metallic post rock at higher speed (approximating Agalloch's latest album) and in some ways, these guys excel in extracting the substance out of something so minimal that it almost equate to naught. So industrialo-nihilisto-experimentalo-minimalismo-postorocko- mettallic-dronal-grindcore prog? Ya betcha!!!

Without hesitation, their second album is Caballero's apex and further releases only pale in comparison as copies of this one. Stunning piece of music, nearing industrial chaos. But limited opportunities for extended spinning time if you are a social animal.

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Some reviewers have already stated that "2" is Don caballero's apex, and I must start my review by admitting my absolute agreement with this indication. I've only gottene to know them recently and I haven't heard their entire discography, but of this I am certain: this is my absolute fave from the bunch of their albums that I own. Don Caballero is a band that robustly creates a fusion of the old-school art-rock and the experimental side of metallic rock. Influences from modern King Crimson, early Primus are fluidly combined with such diverse elements as the acid potential of artsy metal, jazz-rock with extra punch, psychedelia, and even textures of the rougher side of post- rock. The role of founding member Damon Che is crucial, since his drumming style allows him to use his instrument as a lead item more recurrently than any of the two guitarists. These guys, while not stopping themselves from soloing in places, mostly focus on riffs, counterpoints and ambiences. Meanwhile, bass player Matt Jencik assumes the role of filling those spaces left empty by Che when he concentrates on his peculiar percussive adornments. 'Stupid Puma', the album's opener, can be regarded as a Don Caballero trademark piece: high-spirited moods and weird neurosis married within the confines of a cohesive structure in which the metallic sounds shine with flying colors. This is a very good sample of what math-rock is all about. 'Please Tokio, Please THIS IS TOKIO' occupies an 11-minute span, a space that the musicians use to display an exciting combination of prog, psychedelia and metal. The sonic storm is actually freer in form when compared to the former track, but you can still notice a clear sense of structure during the number's development. For instance, the languid passages carry implicitly some of the burden left by the heavier ones. The last minutes consist of a dual guitar soundscape seasoned with what seems to be a series of concrete percussions: an industrial thing, I suppose. 'P,P,P,antless' brings back teh full frontal math-rock stuff: an angular dissonant piece that, oddly enough, turns out to be quite catchy. 'Repeat Defender' is another ambitious number, a bit shorter than 'Please Tokio.' but with a more pronunced sense of contrast between the aggressive complex sections and the more subtle ones. 'Dick Suffers is Furious with You' is yet another long track, akin to the sophistication-driven ideology of prog: this time the predominant ambiences are built with psychedelic flows in the vein of post-rock. Che's drumming, as usual, keeps thing quite intense, indulging itself in the exploration of jazzy vibes not unlike BLS or Attention Deficit. Things get more ethereal with 'Cold Knees (in April)', a captivating experimentof digital effects performed on prepared guitar - courtesy of Mike Banfield. 'Cold Knees' can be enjoyed as a prelude to 'Rollerblade Success Story', a piece that sort of brings back the overall mood of tracks 1 and 3: the hearder sections are arguably the most metallic sections in the album. The last 10 ¾ minutes are filled by the monster piece 'No One Gives a Hoot about FAUX-ASS Nonsense', which resumes the more solid ambitions of tracks 2 and 4, enhancing the Crimsonian factor and refining the set of contrasts between the various sections. Its inherent tension leads to overt density when the use of repetitive riffs gets effectively overwhelming - perhaps a manifesto of the industrial core of our modern world. With this excellent closure end this fabulous second Don Caballero album. I honestly regard it as a masterpiece of our modern times' experimental rock - an item for all adventurous progheads with a special taste for the weirdest side of aggressive art-rock.
Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars I remember the Guy Caballero character well from the SCTV show that I used to watch as a teenager.That show had comedians such as John Candy, Martin Short, Eugene Levy and on and on. Tthese people were brilliant at improvisation, that is what they were known for. I mention that because the band DON CABALLERO know a thing or two about improvisation. As a matter of fact they probably remind me more of KING CRIMSON then any other band I know.The drummer Damon Che is the star of this band and is one of the most amazing drummers I have ever heard ! Add to that two lead guitarists and a bass player and you have sort of a young version of KING CRIMSON playing in the style of "Construcktion Of Light" and "Power To Believe". Only these guys can be even more violent and savage, not afraid to hit you with a wall of distortion either, or an ear piercing screaming guitar solo.

These guys play intricate, complex music as is heard right away on the first song "Stupid Puma". Again i'm in awe of the drumming especially 3 minutes in. He is frantic and relentless,but in total control. More Fripp-like guitar in "Please Tokio, Please This Is Tokio" as well as drumming like I have never heard before ! The Post-Rock feel arrives 7 minutes in as we hear (what sounds like) the noises of someone using a grinder.This is followed by waves of sounds, giving the impression that they are building something that should not exist. The rhythm section is mind numbing in the song "P,P,P Antless".

There are some very good riffs in the song "Repeat Defender". It's like the drums and bass are competing against the guitars for our attention. Amazing ! "Dick Suffers Is Furious With You" is industrial sounding to open. More relentless heaviness in this one.The song speeds up and slows back down. "Cold Knees (in April)" features this light guitar melody until it is absolutely flattened by a wall of distortion.The light guitar melody does not recover, and never returns. "Rollerblade Success Story" opens with more angular guitar lines.This song quickly becomes chaotic before actually turning into an almost pastoral calm. "No One Gives A Hoot About Faux-Ass Nonsense" is almost tasteful to begin with before the aggression attacks. More intricate drum patterns and Fripp-like guitar melodies before this one is over.

Now I can breathe. If you are a fan of drumming then I insist that you find this record. Do you love complex, instrumental music ? Don Caballero is looking for you. 4.5 stars.

Review by lor68
4 stars Well there's a kind of similarity between the present ensemble of Don Caballero and another US band of the experimental modern art rock genre (or post rock if you prefer) called Djam Karet: both these strange bands tried to give all the modern prog music new lymph in the middle of the nineties, but unfortunately it was a short period for the underground experimental music. Anyway coming back to "D.C. 2", it's a strange work in progress, based upon the crazy inventiveness (as usual) by Damon Che on drums, supplying the right groove to Matt Jencik, the bass player... ok you can stay listening to their music for a long time and naturally the whole instrumental number is never boring...the music is hypnotic, here searching for a great mood, full of dynamics, without forgetting the sense of melody (why their music has been defined like "math rock"?!..Well I don't know, but never mind)...of course it's not easy to follow their crazy changing mood, as well as the continual improvement of their intricate tunes and complex structures too. Sometimes They remind me of Dream Theater (especially in the mix betwen fusion and metal), even though in a different and more mature/intelligent way in my opinion - in comparison to the metal prog band by Petrucci & C.; while in other circumstances They play in the vein of King Crimson (period regarding "Red"), but lacking the vocals here, being replaced by a bunch of melodic instrumental breaks- through, that They are able to alternate during their incredible excursions!

You know that I prefer a different kind of experimental prog (the band After Crying for instance, sometimes being "Crimsonian" and in the vein of F. Zappa, but not only...) or the early Echolyn (these latter being completely fitted into the fusion and romantic prog rock - at the time of "Suffocating the Bloom"); nevertheless also this "D.C. 2" is a memorable work, remaining like a unique extraordinary project - a sort of new "meteor" of the present firmament concerning the experimental post rock music, that usually I don't like very much, but in this case I want to make an exception: complex music, always out of the schemes, often intelligent...such a sin after all!!

Review by Sinusoid
2 stars I'm not one to harshly criticise an album for its emotional value or lack thereof. Usually, my take on music is that if I can simply enjoy it and feel at least adequately challenged, I'm okay even if there might not be much of an emotional connection. I can't apply the same process here; I now realize just what it means for an album to lack emotion or to have a ''cold and distant'' sound.

No doubt that the members on Don Caballero are very skilled at what they do, particularly Damon Che and his unique approach to drumming (sort of half beat, half lead instrument). The time signatures are insane and the guitars play a cluster of notes. The problem is that the music is so mechanical that life doesn't seem present here. We get the occasional groovy pattern like ones in ''Stupid Puma'', ''Who Gives a Hoot About Faux-Ass Nonsense'' and ''P,P,Pantless'', but DON CABALLERO II is very static.

The longer songs are an excrutiating challenge to endure because of their lengths, and with the overt technicalities here, it takes immense willpower just to sit through the entirety of say ''Please Tokio...''. If anyone's ever heard of the term ''button-masher'' for certain video games, then DON CABALLERO II is the equivalent of that. It sounds like a ''fret-masher'' album. The same chugging guitar riffs mashing the frets or creating migraine-inducing noises get redundant at album's end. Only ''Repeat Defender'' deflects from this template as it sounds very techno/electronic.

If robotic guitar riffs in the most obtuse metres gives you a buzz, then this is the album for you. Anyone interested in finding a memorable melody should stay away. I can see where the appeal lies, but this is too technical for me to get behind.

Review by The Truth
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is one of those albums I really have to be in a certain mood to "get", which is sad because this truly is a stunning record. Those moments however when I'm in the mood, it's mindblowing for me and I can see why this band has such a dedicated following.

The music here is erratic, complex and when in that mood, (sorry for the repitition) it's a really fun listen. The band's excellent musicianship shines brightly with every second of the record as they make these epic little tunes sound like they're having fun playing them. When a band enjoys something they're playing, it shows and it shows clearly with Don Caballero. Don Caballero 2 is an inspired effort and that's one of it's real charms.

I however, don't find myself coming back to this alot as I have some bad memories (non-music related) associated with my first listen and I don't want to be reminded of it all the time but that certainly does not affect what this band has achieved. It's fast and bulbous math-rock with little flecks of post-rock and it's all good.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Don Caballero is one of those bands where I find what they do quite technically impressive, but they don't quite hold my interest over the course of an entire album. See, for instance, Don Caballero 2, which presents the listener with a series of angular math rock exercises which show a fair degree of technical ability on the part of the band but which wear on me over time simply because the songs all blend together into one indistinguishable morass. Time signatures change up regularly, but overall the tone and atmosphere is monotonously one- note. Math rock fans who appreciate tricky musicianship might enjoy this one but I suspect even they might find the lack of variation wearing.

Latest members reviews

5 stars goes to show that not all math sucks! this is definitely one of my favorite records i have heard in a while. great driving sound with a very straight-forward lineup. guitar guitar bass drums. and still they are able to creat very mesmorizing stuff. as per the math rock sound this album is very ... (read more)

Report this review (#223278) | Posted by amused 2 KAOS | Friday, June 26, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Don Cab 2, oddly enough, was my 2nd album I got by this band, and what an album it is. Though I've not had a chance to listen to their 1st album in full, Don Cab 2 is lightyears ahead of what I have heard. Time Signatures shift in and out, riffs on top of riffs, wonderful use of counterpoint ... (read more)

Report this review (#92674) | Posted by alan_pfeifer | Saturday, September 30, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 2... Don Cab's masterpiece. A "math-post-experimental" rock landmark. Don Cab took influences from King Crimson' Red period... but never fall into plagia... FAR FROM IT!!!! they only keep the mentality of Red. It's dark, weird, experimental color. Plus, they kinda are derived from the Chicago ... (read more)

Report this review (#76936) | Posted by | Tuesday, May 2, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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