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|Origin||New York, New York, United States|
Bonnie "Prince" Billy
Chavez are an American math rock band from New York City, formed in 1993. After a period of inactivity, the band re-formed in 2006. They released two independent non-charting albums in the mid-1990s. Guitarist Matt Sweeney has confirmed that the band is working on its first new recordings since 1996.
Chavez was formed from the ashes of Wider, and was inspired by the sonic approach of math rock pioneers Slint and the post-punk outfit Mission of Burma. Chavez utilizes angular, asymmetrical riffs and dramatic dynamic shifts. The band is fronted by guitarist Matt Sweeney, who was previously a member of Skunk and Wider, and played with Guided by Voices. Drummer James Lo also came from Wider; the band is rounded out by guitarist Clay Tarver (Bullet Lavolta) and bassist Scott Marshall.
The band quickly gained a following in the New York underground scene following the release of their first single "Repeat the Ending". Their debut album Gone Glimmering was released in 1995 and was followed by the EP Pentagram Ring. The music video for the song "Break Up Your Band" aired in an episode of MTV's Beavis and Butt-head, and the band toured with Guided by Voices and Bardo Pond. Chavez's second full-length album Ride the Fader was released in 1996, and was praised by Entertainment Weekly as "a fine specimen of spare, brainy post-metal hard rock".
Chavez never officially broke up, but they released no new material and played few shows between 1999 and 2006. In 2006, Matador Records released Better Days Will Haunt You, a compilation of virtually all of Chavez's studio material up to that point, with the addition of new vocals for the song "White Jeans". The band played a few shows in support of the compilation, and later played with other bands such as Pavement and Sonic Youth.
In 2001, during Chavez's period of inactivity, guitarist Matt Sweeney went on to join Smashing Pumpkins frontman/guitarist Billy Corgan and Slint guitarist David Pajo to form Zwan. Sweeney teamed up with Will Oldham (under the moniker Bonnie 'Prince' Billy) for the 2005 album Superwolf, as well producing and playing on Early Man's debut record for Matador, Closing In. Sweeney is also involved in the NYC anti-band Soldiers of Fortune who have put out two records with Mexican Summer. Clay Tarver has kept himself busy directing various television commercials as well as writing the script for the movie Joy Ride. Matt Sweeney played guitar on Johnny Cash's American VI released posthumously in 2010. The band was chosen to perform at the ATP I'll Be Your Mirror festival organized by ATP & Portishead in September 2011 in Asbury Park, New Jersey.
- Gone Glimmering (1995)
- Ride the Fader (1996)
- Better Days Will Haunt You (compilation released in 2006)
- Pentagram Ring (EP) (1995)
- Their cover of the song "Little Twelvetoes" was included at track 10 on Schoolhouse Rock! Rocks (1996)
- Cockfighters (EP) (2017)
- The 90-Minute Guide: Post-Hardcore Archived 2011-04-04 at the Wayback Machine
- AllMusic: Chavez biography
- Bradley Bambarger, "Chavez Redeems Guitar Rock as Smart Rock," Billboard, October 26, 1996
- Trouser Press: Skunk/Chavez
- Ben Ratliff, "POP REVIEW;Sounds of Classic Rock Up From the Underground," New York Times, July 29, 1996
- Ethan Smith, Ride the Fader review, Entertainment Weekly, November 8, 1996
- LeMay, Matt. "Interview: Chavez Archived March 12, 2007, at the Wayback Machine". Pitchfork Media. December 8, 2006.
- "Chavez, Bright Eyes lead this week’s music reviews", Vail Daily, April 16, 2007 Archived March 8, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
- John Dolan, Better Days Will Haunt You review, Entertainment Weekly, October 27, 2006
- Spencer Patterson and Annie Zaleski, "Matador Friday recap", Las Vegas Weekly, October 2, 2010
- AllMusic: Zwan biography
- AllMusic: Review of Superwolf by Bonnie "Prince" Billy
- PopMatters Review: Closing In by Early Man
- Mexican Summer artist page for Soldiers of Fortune
- Internet Movie Database: Clay Tarver
- ATP: I'll Be Your Mirror Asbury Park