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Post Rock/Math rock • United States

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Breadwinner biography
Upon the demise of Richmond,Virginia hardcore favorites HONOR ROLE in 1989, guitarist Pen ROLLINGS [pictured left] helped form the even heavier BUTTERGLOVE and subsequently BREADWINNER (not to be confused with pop group of the same name) in 1990 with bassist Bobby DONNE and noted drummer Chris FARMER. The band lasted from '90 to '92 and BREADWINNER's early singles & compilation EP 'Burner' [1994,Merge] are cited among the premier influences - if not the first true releases - in the Mathrock movement. As Jordan Mamone notes: "At once economical and bombastic, they redefine the power trio concept. Rollings sculpts a perfect guitar tone out of tweezy treble and fat low frequencies. The rhythm section is almost too good, but throws enough trip-fills and grunts into the dense compositions to transcend anal retention".

After drummer FARMER left for Germany, ROLLINGS and DONNE made a go of it with another skinsman but didn't find the same chemistry and BREADWINNER split-up. DONNE joined LABRADFORD and guitarist ROLLINGS tried his hand at drumming for Richmond-based LADYFINGER, eventually joining progmetal band LOINCLOTH around 2000.

Residing in multiple realms including metal, post-hardcore and math, BREADWINNER's music was abrasive, complex and buzzsaw-heavy early American Mathrock at its very best, and the trio ended up having huge impact on many of the important bands of the scene.

- Atavachron (David) -

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Merge Records 2014
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BREADWINNER discography

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3.82 | 3 ratings


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 Burner by BREADWINNER album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1994
3.82 | 3 ratings

Breadwinner Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Atavachron
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Seminal math trio from the fertile hardcore & experimental rock scenes of the northeastern U.S., Breadwinner resulted after Virginia bands Honor Role and Butterglove split up, spearheaded by madman guitarist Pen Rollings with Bobby Donne on bass and the bare-knuckle drumming of Chris Farmer. Burner is a screeching crunch fest of players eager to show how you can do hardcore sh*t with precision and taste, and is one of the crucial early releases in what became known as Mathrock. 'Tourettes' is loud and has some unnerving vocalizations. The madness of 'Ditch', relentless thrash in 'Kisses Men on the Mouth on the Mountain', mathcore of 'Prescott', and twisted, chugging metal for 'Macs Oranges', 'Knighton' and 'Turtlehead' just leaves the listener wanting more.

Cited as "the consummate math band", Breadwinner's singles from 1991 & '92 and this compilation from '94 were key in the direction taken by like-minded groups in the Mathrock movement and their uncompromising blend of ratty metal, post-punk energy and rhythmic obsessiveness paved the way for a new voice in instrumental insanity. A must for serious mathies.

Thanks to atavachron for the artist addition.

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