Although they never became as well-known as some of the other local bands (Slint, Rodan, Rachels), Louisville, KY based Crain stuck around long enough to produce 2 albums and a handful of unreleased material (some of which is now available via a website of Will Chatham, ex-member of Crain).
Crain formed the break-up of Cerebellum and initially included Drew Daniel (later of Matmos fame), Tim Furnish, Jon Cook and Will Chatham. In 1989, the band recorded 17 songs, some of which found their way to 7″ / splits that the band did, but some of their still remain unreleased.
Daniel left for college and more line-up changes ensued and the band finally got to releasing some of the material – starting with 1990 split with Deathwatch (on Slamdek label), 4 song EP (on the band’s own Automatic Wreckords label) and finally, a 1992 LP “Speed”.
Neither “Speed”, nor its follow-up – 1994 “Heater” were met with any kind of interest from buying public and it wasn’t until Temporary Residence label reissued “Speed” in 2005 that the band finally achieved some recognition (albeit, posthumously). As All Music Guide website pointed out – “two layers of groups can be found in every musical movement: the groups that receive the most attention and generally go into the history books as predominant examples of their particular sound, and the other groups that remain stratified as history buries them beneath the surface.”
“Speed”, which was produced by Steve Albini (Big Black, Rapeman, Shellac) brought Crain plenty of praise, but little commercial visibility. Musically, AMG compared the sound of the record to that of Jawbox fronted by Henry Rollins and, according to AMG, the album was a strong influence on Albini’s own project Shellac. In their review of the reissued album, Wire magazine concluded that “the dynamics required to deliver the post-harcore rush are all present and gloriously correct.” and that “compared to many scenester exhumations this one is self-evidently worthwhile rather than self-indulgently worthless.”
“Heater”, also produced by Albini (listed as Whodini), was met with a similar commercial fate, even though the album featured even better dynamics/songwriting than its predecessor. AMG called the band’s sound on “Heater” Not quite emo in the original sense — though the lead singer does let out more than a few unsettling screams” but noted that the band “kicks up a righteous din throughout.”
In 1996, the band was prepared to release their next LP, but unfortunately, international tensions led to their break up and the album remains unfinished/unreleased. All band members, however, still remain involved in music business and started a multitude of other projects, including Parlour, Truckstop, Experimental Pollen, For Carnation and Shipping News.
Tim Furnish (Parlour)
Monkeywrench 7″ (Automatic Wreckords, 1990)
Speed CD / LP (Automatic Wreckords, 1992 / Temporary Residence, 2005)
Crain / Grifters Split 7″ (Simple Machines, 1993)
Heater CD (Automatic Wreckords, 1994)
“Drain” on Slamdek: Merry Christmas (Slamdek, 1990)
“Knock Your Daylights Out” on The Aftereffects Of Insomnia Vol. 2 (Three Little Girls, 1992)
“Coalmine 666” on Slamdek Merry Christmas Is For Rockers (Slamdek, 1992)
“Hey Cops” + “Blistering” on I Am Not A Test Market (Restless, 1994)
“Coalmine 666” + “Broken Heart Of A Neutron Star” on Working Holiday (Simple Machines, 1994)
“Hey Cops” on Half-Cocked Soundtrack (Matador, 1995)
“Barnacles” on Louisvillesonicimprint Vol. 1 (Ghetto Defendant, 1999)
“Stabilizer” on Emergency Broadcast System Vol. 2 (Allied, unknown year)
UFO Song (Live)
Coalmine 666 / UFO Song (Live)