There were a few bands in the 90s that I just flat-out missed. Jawbreaker is right up my alley, but I didn’t really “discover” them until after 2010. One that I nearly missed was Rodan, save for the sage advice of one Wilburtronic. We both worked at a local record store, and whilst discussing other groups I was very into at the time (Slint, Scratch Acid, etc.), he suggested I check into Rodan. I hadn’t heard of them, but came up to speed pretty quickly.
Years later, randomly, I came across an album by Tara Jane O’Neil called Peregrine. The melodies were very defined and expertly built. I could hear how they might work with a much heavier band backing them, but they worked in this more minimal form just fine. The minor chords and lilting pace create this unique, dark-ish, folk sound. But it’s the structure – did I already refer to it as expertly built?
Here’s the song that really struck me:
Then, I found out that Tara was part of Rodan, and it all started to make sense. Making music in a group is probably as close to real magic as exists in the world. You can sometimes hear the influence of a single voice when they go off on their own (I feel like that’s the case here), and in listening to the group they influenced in retrospect. It’s the amalgam of all of those unique inputs together that makes a Rodan or a Pixies or a Queen.
All that theorizing aside, Peregrine is a great record. I don’t know how TJO is not more of a known quantity. Or maybe I missed her notoriety. Either way, I’m glad I didn’t miss her music.