PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.

Pyramids with Nadja: Pyramids with Nadja

Please ignore the clunky title; this is at least as good as anything either band has put out on their own.

Pyramids with Nadja

Pyramids with Nadja

Label: Hydra Head
US Release Date: 2009-10-27
UK Release Date: 2009-11-23

The worst thing about Pyramids with Nadja's album Pyramids with Nadja is that name. Not only it slightly misleading (yes, all the members of both bands play on the four tracks here, but so do a number of other musicians), but it's clunky as hell. Worse, it's going to make at least some listeners skip over this album all by itself, because it makes Pyramids with Nadja sound less like an album and more like a couple of bands goofing off or feeling each other out. And for an album with such evocative song titles (de rigeur in post-rock, admittedly), it's a dull non-starter -- they couldn't have named the album Into the Silent Waves or An Angel Was Heard to Cry Over the City of Rome? -- not to mention hard to explain to others:

"Hey man, what are you listening to these days?"

"Well, it's, uh, this self titled album by Pyramids and Nadja and a bunch of other guys, but it's just called Pyramids with Nadja, but it's actually this incredible, coherent hour of music that isn't just the best collaborative sort-of post-rock album since MONO & world's end girlfriend's quite frankly still-astonishing Palmless Prayer/Mass Murder Refrain, it's the best record in the genre since then period, and sometimes it sounds a bit like the Deftones' recent work slowed way down and made even dreamier (especially when Mineral's Chris Simpson is singing), and on one track I think they stole that guy in a coffin from the end of Sunn O)))'s Black One and waited until he calmed down a bit before taping him, and while the album doesn't have an orchestra like PP/MMR did, it's similar in that Pyramids with Nadja [See, it's so awkward! - Ed.] don't beat you about the head with catharsis all the way through, but save their really big explosive moment for the end, so you've got about 50 minutes of seething shoegaze/doom-y drift and surge (and, uh, a kind of sleazy piano ballad at one point) before that, and unlike a lot of lengthy albums with lengthy songs, this one really moves, and it's focused enough that the four songs are really more like four movements, except they also work on their own and none of them succumb to that problem long, vaguely post-rock bands have where you're waiting for the 'good bit' to kick in, and then the track track does peak with a kind of Isis-esque crescendo and it's really amazing."

So when you get right down to it, the worst thing about the worst thing about Pyramids with Nadja's Pyramids With Nadja is that it makes it less likely that these guys are going to follow this album up with another one.


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.





Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.


15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.


Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.


Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.


Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.


Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.


Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.


The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.


British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.


Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.


​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.


The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.


Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.


How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.


Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.


CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.


Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.


While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.