One of my favorite Fugazi songs is "Arpeggiator," the 10th track on the band's 1998 record End Hits. It's an invigorating flurry of intricate guitar notes (an arpeggio, you might even say) dancing around blasts of distorted riffs—it's the kind of song you'd want blasting from your headphones if you found yourself jumping over fences or leaping from building to building while being chased by mobsters or something.

The Prom, playing May 31st-June 19th at The 5th Avenue Theatre
The Prom is a musical comedy about big Broadway stars on a mission to change the world.

Now Arpeggiator is also a local math-rock duo composed of Ben Wheeler (keyboardist for Tacoma-based indie-rock band Colonies) and Jason Cox. Like the Fugazi song, the band Arpeggiator make me feel as though my brain is spinning around inside my head. Their quick sonic adventures utilize every square centimeter of their respective guitar and drum kit, with a slew of guitar pedals at Wheeler's feet making things even more interesting. It's a math-rock nerd's dream come true.

"I liked the idea of an entire song based around an abstract musical concept," says Wheeler. "That's mostly what we are trying to do in Arpeggiator, to take a technique, melody, or formal idea and stretch it out and distort it by adding beats to it, slightly altering the rhythms, transposing it, and then giving up on it and transitioning on to another."

Besides other obvious math-rock stars like Hella and Lightning Bolt, Wheeler says he also took a lot of inspiration for Arpeggiator from playing in an Eastern European folk ensemble in college.

"That music, specifically Bulgarian songs, has had more of an effect on me playing in odd meters than any math-rock bands I was listening to. All these pieces are in 11/8, 5/8, 7/8, or some combination of all these meters. My favorite was in 25/8: 3/8 + 2/8 + 2/8 + 3/8 + 2/8 + 2/8 + 2/8 + 2/8 + 3/8 + 2/8 + 2/8."


Hear for yourself what that sounds like at Or see them play the Red Room in Tacoma on Friday, December 10, with Oh Dear!, Piko Panda, and Slow Wave. The show's $7, and it starts at 7:00 p.m. recommended

Recommended All-Ages Shows

Thurs Dec 9: Neon Trees, Middle Class Rut, Fences at Showbox at the Market, 7 pm, $10.77 adv/$15 DOS.

Fri Dec 10: Mad Rad, Champagne Champagne, Infinite Loop, Helladope at the Vera Project, 7:30 pm, $11.

Wed Dec 15: Monsters of Accordion with Jason Webley, Corn Mo, Renée de la Prade at Neumos, 7 pm, $10.

Day In • Day Out returns this summer, August 12th thru 14th!
Featuring The National, Mitski, Mac DeMarco and more! Full lineup and tickets at