Tone Rodent
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Tone Rodent

Band Alternative Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Favorite Aspects of the St. Louis Music Scene: Readers Write In"

Almost a month ago, we asked readers to describe, in 500 words or less, their favorite aspects of the St. Louis music scene -- the performers, bands, DJs, club nights and so on that get them off their couches of an evening. After countless hours of painstaking deliberation, we've finally selected a winner: Jason Wallace Triefenbach, who wrote about local noiseniks Tone Rodent.

Without further ado, here is Triefenbach's winning entry, which edged out other strong contenders on the strength of its messianic fervor, its bizarre neologisms, its hilarious digressions and, of course, its complete lack of references to S. Eric Ketzer:

"When rock & roll becomes self-referential, it is as inane and purposeless as the visual arts at their worst. (Note well: The garage is that part of one's home that eventually becomes a depository for broken gadgets and yesterday's mildewy bored-game sensations.) There is, however, a quite dissimilar path one may travel, one which leads through vast expanses -- strange hieroglyph bleeps and buzz-saw horizons. Red with purple flashes?

"Tone Rodent, by their press-kit admission, play "Post-Maximalist Hard-Psych-Dreamcore" music, a genre some of you may recognize by its alternate nom de plume, "Space Rock" (or, as I like to chuckle dryly to companions over a snifter of Asti, "Soundtrack for Exploding Fudge Noir"). In truth, however, each of these descriptions captures only a fragment of Tone Rodent's overall output. When appearing as an effects-laden guitar duo, the partners produce screeching noise alongside gentle hums as the occasional crackle of feedback or the sound of a tortured cable loops on and on, providing jerky cadence to the washes of distortion. At other times, one encounters Tone Rodent as a stutteringly melodious four-, five- or six-member band flaunting very danceable rhythms in addition to the aformentioned screeches, washes and looping disconnection. Either way, the best possible condition for a live experience of the group is slightly more than slightly inebriated, eyes closed, swaying and stumbling as patterns converge and morph just behind one's eyelids.

"With the rising popularity of imports like Sigur Rós and Mogwai, as well as the eastward thrust of California Shoegaze (as typified by the Warlocks or Black Rebel Motorcycle Club), I foresee a day when the sweaty guitar of anti-frontman Adam Watkins will be held aloft over screaming hordes of teenyboppers as heroin flows backstage and Christina Aguilera just can't seem to get on the guest list. When that happens, I will perch, disgruntled, in the shadows at large clubs -- dribbling rum down the front of my shirt and cursing under my breath at young girls with pierced buttocks flashing views of their genetically engineered cleavage at the band.

"But until then, the ghostly bubble-drone of Tone Rodent's saturated dirges will thrill me mightily every time I see them opening for overrated national acts who merely feign interest in the sort of holographic expansionism these guys have been honing for the past several years." - Riverfront Times

"We Commend"

We commend TONE RODENT, the band blends elements of British and American psyche, shoegaze and even bluesy rock, with no fear of trace inducing repetition. Long live the flange pedal.

"New Music Review"

Five track CDEP - or, according to the band, a special limited edition three track CD that contains 2 live bonus tracks - cute, guys. At times, like the opener “Moore”, and flanged out “Passed Us By”, it kinda reminds me a bit of those overdriven guitar/bass 4 track/boombox recordings that many a amateur home recording types have in our closets, including myself. I don’t mean that in a bad way or anything - I like those recordings, and I dig TR’s also. The live tracks are better, two untitled murky 8-10 minute jams, the first of which brings to mind early Subarachnoid Space. The feedback heavy squall of the final track even moves in on Skullflower territory, although it’s not quite THAT heavy (but then again, almost no one is). They do it pretty darn well, and the live tracks in particular make me want to hear some more. - Aural Innovations

"Tone Rodent: Tone Rodent (Ungabunga Records): Album Review"

It is always nice to discover innovative musicians who are playing in the St. Louis music scene. Tone Rodent is certainly a band with great musicians who have come together to make a CD that truly has an original sound. This is one of the few CDs I’ve heard in a while where I can say the band has taken the alternative music styles of the ‘80s and ‘90s and taken them to another level. The sound is a great blend of electronics and solid guitar hooks and a moody, often dark sound that is present throughout most of the CD. Though the songs vary a bit in tempo, the band sounds the best on “Dream Machine,” which is truly addictive - Playback STL

"Song Reviews"

Turn On The Light:
nice and depressing... good
sounds like radiohead in the beginning. the melody is not anything spectacular or totally original but it is effective and sounds hypnotic. i like the overall sound of this song its very druggy. the sound of the guitar i especially like- it's so empty sounding as is pretty much all of this song. this song sets a very strong sense of loneliness. i like th e hollow drums also - again they go well with creating that effect of loneliness, depression

Emo'd out to the mazimum core of the musical heart....
Vocals are dreamily drifting on a surrealistic landscape of sound...

Nothing in the beginning is ailing. This sounds very professional and good mix...

Pink Floydish...Velvet Underground influence there and there...

Andy Warhol for the new millenium...make a movie with this soundtrackish piece like Andy...

Drums are a little stand offish...

Guitars are primed and revved up...

background effects are cool and make a great mood to accent the vocals...

I LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!!

Musical guerilla squad, , , nice
Some of these Indie songs are so unconventional it's hard to critique them except on the impression they leave you with. I liked much of the creativity here. Influenced by radio head, the staticy effect on that guitar(?) was really cool. very ear catching, accented your song very nicely. what I liked about this song too is it got right to it's theme and made it's point so the gimmicky aspects of this song worked with out "getting old" really quickly. You guys are like a musical guerilla team that strikes quickly with unconventional methods and leaves us with the consequences of a very effective attack. The vocalist and the way your recorded him works very well here also. Liked your progression, liked your lyrics and the way you used the sound and the arrangement to enhance your story. Nicely done.

Put those shades on, and act cool.
Give me that dirty fuzz, I say! Oh thanks! It's a great suck you in, intro. The vocals are dirty and dark, so low in the mix that I can't even tell what is being sung, but it's setting the mood nonetheless. When the drums kick in, you've got your head bobbing. It's definately a lo-fi track, but it works. It could have a little more clarity, but I almost wonder if that even needs to happen. It's got that element of underground rock that you'd be listening to out of a dirty P.A. in a dive club, so what's the point in making it higher end- and polished? It's a good groove, and I would argue that the phasing noise in the background is a little too much dirt! This is a great down south jam, and great for those who love a little cock rock. Rock on, great song.

Pray for Rock and Roll
This sounds heavily influenced by bands like Spiritualized, The Jesus and Mary chain, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and The Brian Jonestown Massacre. If the rest of their material is like this then their doing a good job. Like most drug influenced rock and roll its heavy on style and light on intelligence. The singer isnt trying to win any articulation points but the musicians sound like their doing what their supposed to, having a good time and playing loud rock and roll. If only the rest of the world could follow suit we might actually have a revolution.

Sugar Glider
great indie band
nice guitar tone in this song. I really like the vocal too, but it sounds a little low in the mix. Great melody. oh that bass kicks ass when it comes in. Great instrumental jam when everyone joins the song.

When the song gets moving, it reminds me a lot of the Jesus and Mary Chain, and that's a good thing. Man, I love how you build into that jam part. My only comment would be that maybe the singer could follow the band a little and also build up his vocals as the song builds up; it doesn't necessarily have to be screams or anything, just a little more emotion. If the singer got into it as much as the band, that would put this song over the top. It still rocks the way it is though, one of my favorites. Best of luck

Driving Rock
There's a nice buildup for the song with the lead guitar part and the vocals. The tapping of the high hat and the downstroke of the guitar help to start building the song up. I was totally caught off guard when the whole song explodes to a very thick, groove-oriented song. I think that's probably the best part of the song. The bass line is not very complicated, but it definitely serves its purpose given the rest of the song. I like how the song is totally driving and unrelenting in the chorus. The slowing down proves to be an effective tool in the song to provide contrasting moods. The solo is a really good, expressive solo.

Dark Discovery
Immediate hook
The bass line immediately got me interested. Very crunchy and immediately groovy, locking in with the drums very well. Loved the bass/drums break. Kinda of a late 70s psychedelic feel to the song towards the end. I wish the song was a little longer, had another verse or something. I didn't like the vocals at first but when the backing vocals came in they seemed appropriate). I also liked the spacy effects throughout the song (What was that? Guitar harmonics?)

Anyway, great song.

Times Listened - 4

Awesome beginning
Woah, loads of attitude. I like it immediately, it challenges me. Great 'Fuck You' vocals. Great sound all over too. Sounds professionally mixed, and you sound like you've got loads of confidence, which I like and which is really important. And not everything is perfectly in time, which I think really works in this context. Sounds like a great first track to an album. Great raw production, I find that really hard to get right, but you;ve done it really well here. OK. this obviously isn't right ofr Pop Radio, but that's probably not what you guys are going for. Yeah, I really like this. Bags of attitude and swagger, and really good production. Reminds me a bit of Oasis if they gave less of a Fuck and didn't care so much about writing the perfect pop song. - various


– Tone Rodent: Tone Rodent – Ungabunga Records – October 2004
– Christmastime single – Bert Dax Cavalcade of Stars, Christmas Album – November 2003
– ...And Shine Until We Fall Down Mini-Album – December 2002 (self-released)
– Stand In Space (Is All The Space I Can Stand) LP – September 2002 (self-released)
– Are Your Dreams 3 Sizes Too Big? – July 2002 (self-released)
– Demo(n) EP – June 2002 (self-released)
– Double LP: Fall Down/Play Dead – February 2002 (self-released)
– A Visit To Leisureworld LP – August 2001 (self-released)
– Empathy Hours LP – April 2001 (self-released)
– Space Available LP – January 2001 (self-released)
– We Learned To Ski – September 2000 (self-released)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Tone Rodent (TR) is a sonic, psychedelic, heavy shoegaze/space rock band compared to the likes of Spacemen 3, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Spiritualized, My Bloody Valentine and The Velvet Underground.

Tone Rodent sprung to life in the fall of 1999 with an initial concept rooted in creating layers of sound washes through manipulation and experimentation. Since then TR has moved from a soundtrack-type ambient drone to a sonic rock band.

Originally conceived as an outlet for visual artist Adam Watkins' aural experimentations, TONE RODENT has evolved into a couple of unique entites: a 4-person ensemble for the occasional live performance, and a somewhat more experimental, less structured recording unit. Both, however, center around Watkins’ musical vision, one that both frightens and inspires. On disc, things tend to be a little more atomospheric an unstructured, with spoken-word samples mixed in with the effects-laden guitars. But both versions of the Rodent have one thing in common: sheets of feedback and amps turned up to 12.

Tone Rodent was named as a semi-finalist for the Midwest Independent Music World Series 2005 held by Disc Makers. This Chicago contest showcases independent musicians, offers the ability to make industry contacts, and gives the chance to win $35,000 in prizes. See for details. In April 2005, TR was informed that they are a finalist to play at the Chicago based music festival Mobfest