Violent Squid
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Violent Squid

Austin, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2003 | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2003
Band World Avant-garde




"Meet the 2013 Dallas Observer Music Awards Nominees Showcase Lineup"

Forget music for a second. Onstage, this Denton-based improv collective looks like an LSD vision from late-era Beatles' dreamspace -- an extravagant spectacle of decadent costumes and bizarre masks. The large, ever-revolving cast that is Violent Squid draws from influences as disparate as Sun Ra, Can and Acid Mothers Temple, making them one of the most sonically unique groups in all of Texas. We thought we had lost these guys a few years ago when frontman Ty Stamp hightailed it to Austin. Luckily, for the time being, they're still here, helping keep North Texas as weird as ever. JP - Dallas Observer

"Highlights from the 2013 DOMA Showcase"

Violent Squid was fascinating, as always, Saturday at the Prophet Bar. All three Yells at Eels Gonzalez men were on stage with ringleader Ty Stamp and I think a half dozen other players. How Stefan and Aaron as the rhythm section managed to underpin this psychedelic chaos with something of a structure, I have no idea, and Dennis looked like he was having the time of the life adding free-floating squiggles of trumpet above the fray. They've got to be the coolest family band in town, if not the world. - Jesse Hughey - Dallas Observer

"WFMU Recent Airplay 2014"

Medium Airplay
PSYCOTIC PINEAPPLE - I Want Her So Bad (Pynotic Prods.)
KASAI ALLSTARS - Beware The Fetish (Crammed Discs)
HOLLY HUNT - Prometheus (Other Electricities / Sonic Titan)
MARISA ANDERSON - The Golden Hour (Important)
HALF CHURCH - 1980-1986 (Captured Tracks)
COURTNEY BARNETT - The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas (Mom + Pop)
CARSICK CARS - You Can Listen You Can Talk (Maybe Mars)
AARON SHEPPARD - Solo Acoustic Voluime Nine (VDSQ)
MASTODON - Once More 'Round the Sun (Reprise)
THE SOUL BROS. INC. - The Story of The Soul Bros. Inc. 1968-1974 (Tramp)
WILLIAM BASINSKI - Melancholia (Temporary Residence Ltd.)
BAD FAMILY - Bad Family (Unwound)
THE CATS - Relax On Everyone (No Label)
MADALYN MERKEY - Valley Girl (New Images)
SHONEN KNIFE - Overdrive (Good Charamel)
DEATH VESSEL - Island Intervals (Sub Pop)
ORANGE JUICE - You Can't Hide Your Love (Domino)
ATOM TM - Radetzsky Loops Vol. 1 (Hueso)
ELIANE RADIGUE - Feedback Works 1969-1970 (Alga Marghen)
MARY MONDAY & THE BITCHES - I Gave My Punk Jacket To Rickie b/w Popgun (HoZac)
BORIS - Noise (Sargent House)
OFFICER - Dead Unique (Blackest Ever Black)
LOS DISCOS DURO - Te Lo Creo (Disco Mas)
VIOLENT SQUID - Day Wants Empty (No Label)
TOM KOVACEVIC - Universe Thin As Skin (Immune)
ANGLES 9 - Injuries (Clean Feed)
KING BUZZO - This Machine Kills Artists (Ipecac)
VENETIAN SNARES - My Love Is A Bulldozer (Planet Mu)
JG THIRLWELL - The Blue Eyes (Ectopic)
THE MAN - Carousel of Sound (HoZac)
JOAN BIBILONI - El Sur (Music From Memory)
THE PHEROMOANS - Hearts of Gold (Upset! The Rhythm)
OY - No Problem Saloon (Crammed Discs)
FREEDOM FAMILY - P.T.O. (Voodoo Funk / Academy)
KURWS - Wszystko Co Stale Rozplywa Sie W Powietrzu (Gusstaff)
BEN FROST - Aurora (Mute)
TICO AND THE TRIUMPHS - Here Comes the Garbage Man (Norton)
MARTYN - The Air Between Words (Ninja Tune)
IN SCHOOL - Praxis of Hate EP (Kill Test)
SUMERIAN FLEET - Just Pressure (Dark Entries)
ANGUS MACLISE - New York Electronic, 1965 (Sub Rosa)
FUCKED UP - Glass Boys (Matador) - WFMU New Jersey

"Alan Bishop from Sun City Girls on Violent Squid LP "Day Wants Empty""

Alan Bishop from Sun City Girls on Violent Squid:
well, it took me months but I finally have a day to catch up on listening to a stack of LPs I have received over the past few months
and of course the VS was one of em and I just played it

anyway its really gorgeous!
I had no idea it would be this kind of instrumentation and arrangement but I had no expectations I guess, no idea what it would sound like
its very well done, beautiful tracks, well-sequenced, etc.
fantastic! and the trumpet!
thanks again for sending it

I'm off to Cairo, Brazil, Italy and who knows where else in 4 days
hope all is well and good luck with things
AB" - Alan Bishop

"Top Albums of 2007"

Top Albums of 2007 – WeshotJR - by Christopher Mosley

One of the things I noticed about this album was the way it made people say things like, "It's too bad this isn't on a nationally distributed label. People should really hear it." Or similar sentiments expressed by people who usually don't care about such things. It is actually a shame considering this album was one of the most noteworthy releases this year period. It left me dumb-founded after each listen, scratching my head at how out of time and place it ultimately sounds. More specifically, the ghosts of 20th Century Avant America haunt the creaks, scratches and bleats of the record, ironically inoculating it from ever having to suffer the trend-scarred effects of age. Sans reissues, I don't even know if I could say that for the other entries on this list. - WeShotJR

"35 Conferette 2011: Violent Squid"

35 Conferette '11: Violent Squid – Preston Jones

Denton -- As Mavis Staples testified over on Hickory Street, Denton's experimental Violent Squid was providing a ferocious counterpoint on the Square. A scrum of musicians playing what verged on cacophony, the crowd lingering around the stage didn't know quite what to make of the sound emanating from in front of them, but they didn't flee either. An intriguing near-car crash that couldn't help but attract your curiosity. - DFW.COM

"A Tale Of Two Festivals"

A Tale Of Two Festivals – Chris Mosley

What I could hear from the line outside sounded like a fairly grandiose take on improvised music, and it had better, considering there were around a dozen people onstage. Stamp, as always, somehow manages to make this much music with this many people and it’s never overbearing. - D Magazine

"Violent Squid Spray Their Ink One Last Time"

Violent Squid Spray Their Ink One Last Time – Dallas Observer by Brian Rash

It's highly possible this year's 35 Denton will be your last chance to see Ty Stamp lead his experimental supergroup, Violent Squid, on a sonic journey. He recently moved to Austin, and is driving up to play the March festival. This type of improvisational jamming can feel obligatory to witness, if not awkward, but Stamp manages to do it right.

Since 2004, he's been playing shows with varying lineups assembled from some of the best DFW (but mainly Denton) musicians around, and this upcoming show's roster, he says, is the best he's ever put together.

Filling the vocal role is Sarah Alexander, and if you've never heard her sing, you're missing out on something special. It's frightening, mesmerizing, controlled operatic chaos.

Aaron Gonzalez of Yells at Eels and Akkolyte, Bobby Weaver of the Paper Chase and Jeff Barnes of Brave Combo will be playing stand-up bass, bass and an arsenal of horns, respectively. This is just one orchestral theme within Squid's sizable dynamic complexity. There are at least eight more highly skilled musicians taking the stage with Stamp at 35 Denton this year, with a variety of different instruments, effects processors and random objects used strictly to make interesting noises within the makeshift grooves, so please forgive my brevity on roster discussion.

I caught up with Stamp at Echo Lab studios in Argyle, just south of Denton, as Justin Collins was mixing down the latest Violent Squid record, a double album called Day Wants Empty, which includes all of the musicians from his upcoming show. It says something fundamental about him that he is spending his last evening in Denton in a studio before departing for Austin in the morning. It feels like a loss for Denton.

"We've gotten a lot of Krautrock comparisons, Can and stuff, but there's also some jazz elements," Stamp says. "So I guess it's kind of a Krauty-jazz thing. We've also gotten comparisons to Sun Ra."

None of his comparisons seem wrong, but they don't seem totally right either. All of the aforementioned artists' influences are present in Squid shows, but at the same time, the journey they take you on is from a different map.

I ask about past memorable bandmates, and he pauses. "I don't know if there's any real highlights," he says. "I mean, like I said earlier, this current group is probably the best. Like, whoa."

He pauses again as Collins cranks up a particular breakdown on an untitled 15-minute track. It's as though hearing it this time, in conjunction with my question, has connected all of the dots for him, finally allowing him to see how special the project really is. - Dallas Observer

"Album Reviews from WeShotJR 2007"

Violent Squid – Weshotjr by Chris Mosely (defensive listening)

Violent Squid and Mike Forbes/Andrew Young/Stefan Gonzalez Trio Split LP: 5 Stars

This split ep features the work of at least six musicians, and though they all make excellent contributions, Mike Forbes tends to really dominate the cd. And this is a good thing. Even though he is obviously a great listener, and therefore a great player, he could easily overpower most acts he has ever collaborated with, lead, or sat in on, and his true talent ultimately might be that he chooses to be mericful.

The buildup on this cd is great and you could imagine how impressive this would be on vinyl with the shorter Violent Squid tracks on one side and the one long Forbes/Young/Gonzalez piece on side two, an arrangement similar to so many classic records. The playing on this album will make you long for an 180 gram version on Impulse or ESP to be sure, but the two dollar CDR is an improbable bargain (word around town is that Ed Priesner of The Fra House is working on a cassette only release of the trio's music). The first few tracks feature Forbes accompanied by prepared guitar, "singing bowl", upright bass, and even a washing machine. That should go over well with people who refer to experimental music as "toaster banging music," and unfortunately for said critics, this man playing his saxophone into a washing machine is better than most of the unsolicited MP3's collecting digital dust in the We Shot JR inbox after a generous attempted listen. Anyway, the rest of the VS portion consists of improvised instrumentals that lack the structure and melody found on the self-titled release but are full of equally enjoyable sounds and ideas just the same.

The Forbes/Young/Gonzalez piece "Event I" is everything I hoped for when I first heard that these three were starting as a trio, as I am a fan of their separate endeavors-- Young as a founder of 715 Panhandle's foray into Denton DIY as well as a participant in some impressive online recordings, Forbes as a collaborator with seemingly everybody, and Stefan Gonzalez, experimental prog rock (Unconscious Collective), brutal grindcore/ thrash (Akkolyte, Rat Salad) and jazz (Yells At Eels) drummer.

Since the recording is a snapshot of three musicians feeling out each other's technique and ability, the track starts off as a fairly calm affair, and the playing gives the impression of three cobras cautiously circling each other before deciding when to strike. At exactly the 7:22 mark, Mike Forbes charges in with notes so white hot and nuclear blast powerful that they practically blot out most other highlights in an entire year of DFW music. They are so fucking enraged and chaotic that they simply dwarf any kind of guitar noise from a pillar of amplifiers and all of the expensive distortion effects money can buy. I found it hard to believe this music was coming off a CDR. The following seconds in which the trio sort of just plinks, plunks, and taps together in an improvised meltdown is the work of three silent giants of local music. Why the fuck isn't this trio on the cover of Texas Monthly? Oh, well.

The Stefan Gonzalez solo where Forbes respectfully takes a step back before stuttering little shrieks off of the ends of every other roll is the kind of playing that makes you uncomfortable. The tension almost chokes the listener, and speaking of a different kind of choking, I actually almost welled up and lost a tear when I saw Forbes and Young play in the fucking basement of J & J's. Not exactly a place I expect to hear playing so beautiful that it's an almost emotional experience. Young's playing is not to be overlooked either-- he is as uniquely experimental as he is classically talented, and the ease with which he switches from bow to fingers is completely fluid and effortless.

It is a shame and a great loss to local music that Forbes and Young have since moved to Chicago in the time between the recording and this review. Chicago has a historically sympathetic music scene to Free Jazz players of this sort, and the one advantage of Forbes and Young's departure is saved for the musicians (rock and jazz alike) that are spared the chore of having to follow them. - WeShotJR


Still working on that hot first release.



Began in 2003 as a solo effort from Ty Stamp and grew in 2006 to an improvisational experiment that later has developed into what the band is today, pulling from some of the best musical players residing in North and Central Texas who lend their skills with a wide range of style. The musical output results in anything from Krautrock, World, Psychedelic, and Jazz.

Band Members