Algae & Tentacles

Algae & Tentacles

 Tucson, Arizona, USA

Algae & Tentacles is the musical project of John Melillo. Previously based in Brooklyn, NY, Melillo now lives in Tucson, AZ. The music combines elements of art-punk and folk. Melodic repetition mixes with noisy texture to create a sound between the Butthole Surfers, Beat Happening, and Yo La Tengo.


Algae & Tentacles wants to make melodic medieval martian music.

A&T used to be the noisy meanderings of John Melillo--tape experiments, reworkings of Gyorgi Ligeti piano etudes, noisy references to Lawrence of Arabia's score, Emily Dickinson love songs.... Then, in the spring of 2010, Melillo took the show on the road, and began performing a new set of songs and sounds. He played anywhere from famed art-performance spaces like Silent Barn and Surreal Estate in Brooklyn to punk houses in the woods of upstate New York. That spring, Melillo, along with Steve Formel (formerly of Jodienda) released a group of songs recorded in a cave in upstate New York called Cold Dark Teeth: The Cave Recordings of Algae & Tentacles / Jodienda. Those songs took the loudness of Melillo's set and reworked it for an acoustic environment saturated with huge natural reverb and cave drips. Cold Dark Teeth is folk ramblings mixed with nature's noise music.

Algae & Tentacles is a project about movement and freedom. A variety of musicians contribute to the songs, and the line-up is often different for each show. Algae & Tentacles has played solo sets, sets with two drummers (one a marching band bass drummer, the other a stand-up snare and tom player), and in more "regular" configurations, like bassist and trap-set drummer. Melillo has played and recorded with a variety of musicians: Nate Affield, Akil Wilson, Lydia Fong (of La Defense), Daniele Yandel (of The Gytters), Steve Formel (of Jodienda), Mike Morinia (Butchers & Bakers), and more.

Algae & Tentacles has played with bands like Pterodactyl, Fuck Ton, Starring, The Gytters, Cloud Nothings, La Defense, The Rulers, and many many more.

This fall, Algae & Tentacles moved to Tucson, AZ. The desert atmosphere has enriched the music, which has taken an even more expansive but poppy turn in songs like "That Look in Your Eyes."

Here are a few comparisons that listeners have made: The Butthole Surfers, the Cramps, Sonic Youth, Nirvana, Suicide, Alan Lomax field recordings (old style work songs), Michael Hurley, No Age, Yo La Tengo, and The Misfits.


Fire Song

Written By: John Melillo

I was the air
I was on fire
king over there
I was nowhere


Cold Dark Teeth: The Cave Recordings of Algae & Tentacles / Jodienda

"Fire Song" (single) (Airplay in Brooklyn, Tucson, and Nova Scotia)

Upcoming: "Little Body" b/w "Where the Kids Are Dead" (December 2011)

Set List


I want to run away
Where the Kids Are Dead
Cuddle Up
Play w/ Fire (Rolling Stones)
Fire Song
Little Body
Cold Dark Teeth
Little Look in Your Eyes