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Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2006 | INDIE

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2006
Band Rock Indie




"Review: Self-Evident – We Built a Fortress on Short Notice"

The sixth LP from Minneapolis trio, Self-Evident combines hardcore, post-grunge, post-rock and some rather complex math rock equations with melodic sensibility.

Conrad Mach’s vocals - searching for truth - are delivered in immediate and intense fashion and theirs is a tightly fitting singular sound. Being interesting, intelligent and angular is the name of the game and although heavy in tone “We Built a Fortress on Short Notice” leans more generally towards a kind of pared down heavy progressive rock rather than dissonant punk, and results in a total that is more than the sum of its parts. - Leicester Bangs

"Self-Evident: We Built a Fortress on Short Notice"

"When we think Minneapolis rock, we think Replacements, Husker Du, Soul Asylum- maybe Suicide
Commandos and Suburbs, if we go back that far. But there was a lesser-known, supercharged post-punk scene there that concurrently kicked You can call Twin Cities's vets Self-Evident's sixth album "math rock", and it is notable that bands still count to something other than The Ramones' four. But long before we heard that term, the area's Rifle Sport, Man Sized Action, Baby Astronauts, Halo of Flies, Mecht Mensch, Ground Zero, and Otto's Chemical Lounge set guitars on noisy-jagged fire while making relentless breaks from orthodox rock rhythms. Add a side order of Ian MacKaye's tuneful shouting, and here's their meritorious heir. An though tracks such as "In Cowardice" and the tottering "Steve Stevens" are arduous in all their caterwauling careening, making you feel intoxicated, there also adrenaline-charged!"
- The Big Take Over

"Self-Evident We Built a Fortress on Short Notice"

Imagine Shellac's 1000 Hurts stripped of its hardcore elements. Keep the driving guitar, but make it more textural than pummelling, and the shouted lyrics, sung with ferocious conviction. Now, add some jazz-like grooves to soften it up (best heard on "Half Bicycle") and that's how it feels to be within the belly of Self-Eviden''s sixth LP. The Minneapolis trio create a heavily math rock-influenced work, borrowing bits and pieces from the Dischord and Touch & Go catalogues. We Built a Fortress on Short Notice, however, is a little less Fugazi-esque than the band's previous releases. Guitarist/vocalist Conrad Mach's shouts and barks have been compared to J. Robinson (of Jawbox fame), but can also be strongly reminiscent of Cursive/the Good Life's Tim Kasher ("In Cowardice"). Occasionally, Mach adds a bit of singsong melody, calculated to fit wherever needed to enhance the angular guitar tones. Shifting time signatures and off-kilter, staccato guitar riffs are the main focus, punctuated by impeccable drumming and Mach's shouts. The album begins on a high note with the proclamation, "There were rumours!" and rarely dips, keeping your interest until the final riff.
(Double Plus Good) -

"Self-Evident We Built A Fortress on Short Notice (2012) DoublePlusGood Records"

What is clearly evident here is that Self-Evident take a musical course that flirts with those taken by bands like Burning Airlines and Firehose. In fact, this, the band's sixth long-player, seems to mix up the music of those two bands and the result is perhaps what you would expect from that amalgam. There are the mathier elements which come from the less than straightforward song structures, the warmth of the angular guitar tone that has a jaunty quality a la Firehose and a vocal performance that sounds remarkably like J. Robbins; all of this goes to producing some choppy indie rock that isn't afraid to go off on tangents if it makes even the slightest bit of sense (and in some cases where it doesn't make sense).

It's difficult to try and deconstruct the tracks on this record as it's been assembled with care and precision, but suffice to say that there are quiet moments and there are some louder moments. Not once though did I feel that I was being hammered into submission to enjoy this record and there are some stunning moments when the guitar, bass and drums just draw me along effortlessly, only to be joined by the vocals which increase the beauty of the track.

I am not a musician beyond being able to hammer out a couple of basic chords on the guitars that I almost pointlessly own, but I can see how people write music of the more basic melodic punk rock tuneage. With bands like Self-Evident, I cannot begin to consider where the starting point might be for a song or how they get to the end. It seems as if there is a satellite navigation set up to go from A to Z, via every letter of the alphabet but not in the logical order one would expect. That's what I love about this math-like approach when it is done as well as it is on We Built A Fortress on Short Notice. The key factor for me is whether I find the intricacies of the music and vocals too jarring to follow when bands try to construct these off kilter compositions. Self-Evident ensure that any such jarring is both minimal and almost necessary, therefore, being welcomed by my ears.

I might not have conveyed enough about We Built A Fortress on Short Notice to do this justice but it is one damn fine album.

"Self-Evident s/t doubleplusgood records"

With mathematical precision, excellent drumming, and smooth, melodic guitars, Self-Evident has made an impressively refined and sophisticated new album. This Minneapolis trio deftly weaves together punk-infused drumming with flowing riffs, and the result is striking. These very talented musicians excel with their very own breed of intense, thoughtful, and capably-executed rock in the vain of influences like Don Caballero and Fugazi. Self-Evident offers something different with each track, and executes it all skillfully.

One of the most notable aspects of Self-Evident's album, which progresses at a brisk thirty-four minutes, is how bassist Tom Berg and guitarist Conrad Mach complement each other seamlessly. Their creativity and passion even behind the vocals is inspired and beautiful. The best example of this is on "Evolving", one the best tracks on the entire album, and the music is so good it almost makes me wish the vocals weren't there at all. The vocals are definitely the weakest aspect. The lyrics are intelligent and make an actual statement, but lack the same precision as the guitar work and Ben Johnston's drumming. Another standout is "Fraid", with its great beats, as is the melodically melancholy "Tragedy".

With their current tour underway, Self-Evident has been getting some well-deserved airplay to promote this new album. For a change of pace from the typical, adeptly-played instruments, and observant lyrics, Self-Evident is a great choice. - Claire Schuster - Delusions of Adequacy

"Self-Evident - We Built a Fortress on Short Notice"

One of the more interesting bands that have been commonly associated with “Midwestern rock” over the past few years has been Self-Evident. With a steady stream of releases over that period of time, they’ve put forth a consistent sound that relies on a mixture of big melodies/riffs and mathy noodling. And to their credit they haven’t shied away from it a single bit. Sure, that probably doesn’t seem terribly ground breaking, but the band has always maintained a fairly distinct sound/vibe that is hard to pinpoint. Often taking an approach to songwriting that would in most cases nearly come off as the anti-song. The type of shifts in melody that the band choose is what always seems to grab me. It’s far more unpredictable than than this style of rock is generally known for, which is certainly commendable. Where most bands build and work towards that big sweeping riff that is so obviously coming, Self-Evident remain unconventional in dropping those pay offs in where one would likely least expect it. It’s as if the band has somehow been working in between the spaces of genres this entire time, constantly working towards perfecting that bridge between the math oriented songwriting and the tones/largeness of the Midwest.

We Built a Fortress on Short Notice serves as the bands sixth album and is probably their most realized effort since 2007’s self-titled album. Not to say that the music created in between wasn’t noteworthy, but Self-Evident work with a volatile combination of sounds that can tend to get jumbled up at times, with high marks scattered throughout. However, on their latest album the bar is set relatively high from the opening notes of “Rumors” and for the most part the album seems to piece things together in an equally successful fashion throughout. One noticeable thing about We Built… is the prominent and deep bass work that seemed to be missing some on their last album Endings. It gives the tracks a heavier and much more dynamic sound. It could be argued that this is the most melodic of their albums to date, as I certainly don’t recall them leaning as heavily on such. What they’ve managed to do with it though is certainly effective, achieving the type of moving and powerful bursts that have come to define the small Midwestern rock circle over the years without sacrificing any of the more unique aspects of Self-Evident’s sound. It’s good to hear these guys still moving forward and progressing. They’ve pretty much nailed it for We Built…

Self-Evident – Rumors (stream)

Anyone out there looking to pick up a copy of the album can do so by heading over to Doubleplusgood Records or checking in at the groups Bandcamp.
- Built On A Weak Spot

"Self-Evident release inventive new album at the Triple Rock"

The veteran Minneapolis rock trio Self-Evident celebrate the release of their adventurous sixth album, We Built A Fortress On Short Notice, with a show tonight at the Triple Rock along with fellow raucous Twin City bands Zebulon Pike (with Self-Evident bassist Tom Berg doing double-duty) and Hardcore Crayons.

Self-Evident just returned from Japan where they headlined the Summer Meeting Festival in Tokyo, and will no doubt be revved up and ready to share their spirited new songs with their hometown fans. They recorded Fortress in February with engineer Carl Amburn, who has worked with the band for years, honing their on point rhythms and riffs that have hints of the raw intensity of Fugazi or Quicksand. But there is certainly a more restrained, melodic nature to these new songs as well, which adds an impassioned tension to their combustible sound.
We Built A Fortress On Short Notice is being put out by Doubleplusgood Records, and in addition to being sold at tonight's Triple Rock show, it will also be available on CD and LP at area record stores on Tuesday, August 7, as well as digitally on iTunes (which will include three bonus tracks) and other online digital outlets.

Self-Evident also landed a coveted opening slot for the hotly anticipated Archers Of Loaf show at the 400 Bar on Sunday, August 26. The band will then head off on a three week U.S. tour beginning in September, with a forthcoming European tour planned for early 2013. - Gimme Noise (City Pages)

"Self-Evident – Endings"

Minneapolis indie rock that is executed with punk rock mayhem and math rock’s precision (think a Tool babysitting a Fugazi). Tonally divergent guitars range from the left to the right speaker with distorted angular rhythms. “Endings” is a fantastic aural version of pulling the tablecloth out from under the silverware and nice china. Diagonal harmonies seem to deftly interweave with the magnificent melodies that recall DC-based rockers like Fugazi, but its their truly artistic vision and unimaginably grand instrumentation that sets them firmly apart from any comparison. This is Self-Evident. - Smother Magazine

"I Sing the Equation Quadratic"

Tom Berg is playing against type. Halfway through a basement paint job, he's slacking off. The color spreads along the wall promisingly, but then ends in jagged brushstrokes. White strips of drywall tape crisscross the ceiling like miniature runways, leading the eye to where the drywall itself gives way to exposed beams. Yet one would expect that the bass player for Self-Evident, one of the Twin Cities' longest-lived and most accomplished progressive/math-rock bands, wouldn't call quits on a project until it was fully realized, perfectly constructed, and meticulously detailed.

That neglected basement seems especially out of character when listening to Self-Evident's latest album (their fifth in nine years). Berg and the other two members of Self-Evident—guitarist/vocalist Conrad Mach, and new addition Ben Johnston (formerly of Clair de Lune) on drums—recently gathered in Berg's strangely unfinished basement to discuss their new, self-titled release. With the addition of Johnston (who replaced original drummer Brian Heitzman), Self-Evident is decidedly more tight and concise than previous releases. It explodes from the first millisecond of the opening track into an incredibly taut, angular, jarring, and hypnotic exploration of obsessiveness.

"The other albums just wandered a lot more. People thought they were heady when we weren't trying to be," Mach says. "I think this album is the most polished of anything we've done. It's the truest to what we do live."

A big, burly man who looks more than a little like Grizzly Adams, Berg says the band is often compared to the likes of Fugazi, Rush, and Milk. Fine company, to be sure, but Self-Evident demonstrate an intimacy and economy in their writing that their vaulted peers often lack. Difficult as it may be to imagine, it's almost as if they are some unlikely mash-up between Primus and Halloween, Alaska. That dichotomy is best illustrated on "Missing," which lurches between spare, ethereal guitar work accented by Johnston's minimalist cymbals and a crushing assault of furious drums and jagged guitars that erupt without warning.

Whether you call it math-rock or post-rock or progressive rock, there are certain adjectives that apply to this genre of music: intelligent, challenging, experimental, and virtuosic. Unfortunately, more often than not, you would be hard-pressed to add "accessible" to that list. Unless your idea of a fun time is to solve quadratic equations in your head, math-rock is not likely to be your casual listening choice.

But Self-Evident have managed to solve that problem. Throughout the album's 12 tracks, they pair odd time signatures with approachable melodies, jumpy syncopation with moments of quiet reflection, and accomplish it all without sounding like a schizophrenic mess. Not an easy feat. They pull this off particularly well on "The Standard," which begins with Mach shouting over a nervous guitar line that tinkles like breaking glass, but then deflates into a wistful ending that is as gentle and unassuming as any Love Cars song. You get the feeling your subconscious is being exposed to a crash course in advanced music theory, but you don't care—you're enjoying yourself. - City Pages


Still working on that hot first release.



Self-Evident are signed to US label, doubleplusgood as well as Stiff Slack Records in Japan.

They have shared the stage with: Into it Over it, Tera Melos, TTNG, Helms Alee, CHON, Archer's Of Loaf, Oxes, Don Caballero, Local H and many more...

New record "The Traveler" has a street date of May 26th 2015!

Press for "We Built a Fortress on Short Notice" (2012 release):

“With mathematical precision, excellent drumming, and smooth, melodic guitars- These very talented musicians excel with their very own breed of intense, thoughtful, and capably-executed rock in the vain of influences like Don Caballero and Fugazi.” --Delusions of Adequacy

“They recorded Fortress in February with engineer Carl Amburn, who has worked with the band for years, honing their on point rhythms and riffs that have hints of the raw intensity of Fugazi or Quicksand. But there is certainly a more restrained, melodic nature to these new songs as well, which adds an impassioned tension to their combustible sound.”-- Erik Thompson, City Pages

“Self-Evident play a kind of shouty, skittering, mathy punk rock, sounding like a weird amalgam of California funny-punk and King Crimson, shifting time signatures at the drop of a hat and creating grooves that aren’t grooves inside songs that are only sorta songs. Which we realize sounds bizarre, but it works marvelously on their new LP, We Built A Fortress On Short Notice, a record driven by a potency that propels the band into fascinating territories.” --Jon Hunt, l’etoile magazine

"Three guys from Minneapolis play sort of mathy post punk indie thing pretty darn good at it too. Is a bit more challenging than their last release ”Endings”, but equally this album doesn't disappoint me because I do love angular guitar riffs of which there are plenty. I like everything I've heard from these guys. Really good, well thought out song structures. Go listen" --New Noise (UK)

“Rumors” is the opening track from We Built a Fortress on Short Notice and is a pretty good intro to those who might still be unfamiliar with the band. Staccoto guitar punctuates a distorted bass groove and precise drumming. Musically and vocally recalling some of the dissonant math rock of the 90s.” --Adam Bubolz, Reviler

WBAFOSN is available on CD & LP via Stickfigure Distribution or digitally from iTunes worldwide, eMusic, Amazon MP3, Bandcamp, etc.

here is a link and password to their doubleplusgood EPK:

login: selfevident
password: pressaccess