Don Caballero - World Class Listening Problem (2006)
It's no American Don, but Don Caballero's 2006 release, World Class Listening Problem is still a listening experience that apologizes to no one. Five years removed from American Don and only one member of the original lineup left (Mr. Don Cab himself, Damon Che), World Class Listening Problem was bound to be different.
One of the biggest differences about World Class Listening Problem was that it was released by Relapse records, a predominately metal record label. Despite the new label, Don Cab did not turn into mathcore, but they did however get heavier than ever before; not heavy to a point of it sounding too progressive or cheesy, but heavy to point where it is a bit more riff-y than just twinkly guitars over incredible drumming. There's nothing wrong with being 'twinkly', I love me some twinkle daddy music, but it's cool to hear what something would sound like with a little more beef to it. That's what's different about World Class Listening Problem: it is beefy.
Once you bulk up your music though, you do lose a little flexibility. I think that's what makes this release a little less of an essential. Without that lightness to it that early Don Cab albums have, WCLP seems to be stuck in the mud almost instead of just flowing naturally. Of course, this minor flaw that's more about taste than anything else could also be due in part by the lack of guitarist Ian Williams, who was off doing his thing in Battles by this time.
Still, World Class Listening Problem is something different, and that's what I like about it. You get to hear a deeper side of Don Caballero and you can still enjoy it. As my Personal Development teacher would say: it's a win/win situation.
Highlights: "Mmmmm Acting, I Love Me Some Good Acting", "I Agree.....No!.....I Disagree", Railroad Cancellation" (Featured on Sons of Anarchy apparently), and "Savage Composition".
Similar acts/sounds: Battles, Bellini, Stress & Storm, Pneu, Dysrhythmia, Piglet, Hella, Giraffes? Giraffes!, Tera Melos, and other straight-up instrumental "math rock" bands.