Late Greats: Rodan’s 2nd (Lost) Album

rodanIn the early fall of 1994, a promising young band from Louisville, Kentucky played its last show and then fractured into no less than four separate bands. The band I refer to was Rodan, and what made their split so surprising was that they had released a stunning debut less than a year before and, as evidenced by their summer 1994 three song session on John Peel’s BBC radio show, were set to make an even stronger follow-up album. Indeed, Peel even mentioned that July that the band was planning to record its follow up album that fall.

The band’s core members – Jason Noble, Jeff Mueller, Tara Jane O’Neil, and Kevin Coultas – have never really said too much about Rodan’s split. When it all comes down to it, one surmises that creative differences were to blame. O’Neil, whose first post-Rodan work was in Sonora Pine with Coultas, went on to found Retsin and has continued producing her low-key dreamcore sounds with a series of strong solo records. Noble and Mueller founded Rachel’s and June of 44 respectively, until joining forces again in 1997 as The Shipping News. If you throw the sounds of all of those bands into one collective mix, you can imagine the dreamy, dark chamber postrock that Rodan might have produced on their follow-up. Think Slint meets Sonic Youth.

Rodan being one of my favorite bands since I first discovered music in my own backyard, I’ve collected some live recordings over the years and have been able to compile a few hints at what said follow-up might have sounded like. There is of course the aforementioned (devastatingly awesome) Peel session from 1994, as well as a handful of demos, which can be downloaded here.  Additionally, the song “Rungs” can be found in stripped-down form on Sonora Pine’s first album.

But I’ve managed to dig up a lost live track from April 1994. Don’t know the name of the track, but I’ll just call it “Untitled 1” until someone tells me otherwise. You’ll be seeing it here shortly. (Apologies for the poor quality, I didn’t record it). UPDATE: Download here.

With that, it brings the grand total of “lost album tracks” to six.  Who knows, maybe someday Rodan will bring back the noise. Until then, dig in to the back catalogs of the post-Rodan acts. Start with June of 44’s “Engine Takes to the Water”, Rachel’s “Systems/Layers”, Shipping News’ “Save Everything”, Sonora Pine’s “II”, and Retsin’s “Sweet Luck of Amaryllis.”


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