How Speedy are Cattle? Archers of Loaf

Archers of Loaf

Along with groups like Superchunk and Polvo Archers of Loaf helped to define the indie rock scene that developed around Chapel Hill, NC in the early 1990’s.

The group consisted of singer/guitarist Eric Bachmann, guitarist Eric Johnson, bassist Matt Gentling, and drummer Mark Price.

Following the independently released single “Wrong” the group signed with Alias Records who released their second single “Web in Front,” (Web in Front/Bathroom/Tatyana (Alias, 1993), which received moderate college radio airplay.

Their debut full length Icky Mettle released in 1994 was critically well received and showcases the dual-guitar efforts of Eric Johnson and singer Eric Bachmann.

The group also released the 5 song ep Archers Of Loaf vs The Greatest Of All Time in 1994. Recorded in Chicago and engineered by Shellac’s Bob Weston the ep marks a transition between their debut full length and 1996’s Vee Vee also recorded in Chicago and engineered once again by Weston.

1996’s The Speed of Cattle is an eighteen-track collection of Peel sessions, B-sides and other rarities, and includes the group’s first single (“Wrong” b/w “South Carolina”), the “Web in Front” demo, and a version of Treepeople’s “Funnelhead” among other things.

The group spent three weeks in Seattle recording their third studio full-length, 1996’s All the Nations Airports. It was the most time they had ever spent on an album; and although it was considered their most accessible album to date, and even with it’s release on Elektra Records and an extensive supporting tour the album achieved little commercial success.

1998’s White Trash Heroes was their final studio album. Using a different approach to recording this time where

“things were laid down one at a time….. but pieced together more perfectly so we could hear when one sound was beginning to get in the way of something else.”

Because of this approach the the songs were harder to play live, and often weren’t, on the tour supporting the album. The critics gave it mixed reviews, taking note of the drastic change in style from the three albums that proceeded it.

In late 1998, after Price was diagnosed with, and had surgery for, carpal tunnel syndrome, the band decided to call it quits.

Seconds Before the Accident, released in 2000 by Alias, is the band’s only official live album and was recorded during their final tour.

Since the break-up Bachmann has moved on to multiple solo projects, notably the breezy, and mostly instrumental Barry Black and the band Crooked Fingers. Gentling has gone on to provide extra instrumentation on tour with Superchunk and has also continued to work with Bachmann in Crooked Fingers.




Classic Rock Is For Pussies (7″) (Esther Records)
The Loaf’s Revenge (7″) (Alias Records) 1993
The Results After The Loafs Revenge (7″) (Merge Records) 1994
Treepeople / Archers Of Loaf (2 x 7″) (Sonic Bubblegum) 1994
What Did You Expect? (7″) (Alias Records) 1994
Harnessed in Slums (7″) (Alias Records) 1995
Mutes in the Steeple/Smoking Pot in the Hot City (Esther Records) 1995
Vocal Shrapnel/Density (Alias Records) 1996
Jive Kata (Alias Records) 1997


Archers Of Loaf vs The Greatest Of All Time (10″ CD, EP) (Alias Records) 1994
Harnessed in Slums (CD) (Alias Records) 1995
Vitus Tinnitus (10″) (Alias Records) 1997


Icky Mettle (Alias Records) 1994
Vee Vee (Alias Records) 1996
The Speed of Cattle (Alias Records) 1996
All the Nations Airports (Alias Records) 1996
White Trash Heroes (Alias Records) 1998
Seconds Before the Accident (Alias Records) 2000


“Vocal Shrapnel” Introducing” Vol.6 (CD) (Indigo)
American Pie: New Sounds From the U.S.A.
“What Did You Expect?” Merge Records: 5 Rows Of Teeth (Merge Records) 1994
“Might” Working Holiday Live (2xCD) (Simple Machines) 1994
“Power Walker” A Day In The Park… A Compilation Of Now Sounds (CD) (The Now Sound) 1994
“Big Joe And Phantom 309” Step Right Up: The Songs of Tom Waits (Manifesto) 1995
“South Carolina” The Atlantic Group 1995 Release No. 1 January (CD, Promo) (Atlantic) 1995
“Web In Front” Mallrats (MCA) 1995
“Assassination On X-Mas Eve” Virtually Alternative: Volume 74
“South Carolina” My So-Called Life (Cass, CD) (Atlantic/Wea) 1995
“Mark Price P.I.” The Lounge Ax Defense & Relocation Compact Disc (Touch & Go) 1996
“Ethel Mermen”Dog So Large I Cannot See Past It (A WPRB Compilation) 1995
“Assassination On X-Mas Eve” Sites & Sounds (CD, Promo, Enh, Smplr) (Elektra) 1996
“Vocal Shrapnel” Breakin’ Necks, Rockin’ Discotechs (Killer Blows From the Temple of Electra) (Elektra Entertainment Group) 1996
“One Slight Wrong Move” CMJ New Music Monthly: Volume 63: November 1998
“Plumb Line” Alias with a Bullet
“One Slight Wrong Move” ADA Sampler September ’98 (CD) (Alternative Distribution Alliance) 1998
One Slight Wrong Move” September 1998 (2xCD, Promo) (Virtuallyalternative) 1998
Now We Are Six
Premium: New Music With a Golden Glow (Alias Records)
“Web in Front, Vocal Shrapnel” The Year of the Dragon
“Harnessed in Slums”The Year of The Wagon (Alias Records)
American Pie 2
“You And Me” Love American (CD, EP) (Reflections Records) 2003

Harnessed in Slums

Playing Time: 11 minutes 15 seconds

harnessed in Slums

1. Harnessed In Slums (3:18)
2. Telepathic Traffic (3:06)
3. Don’t Believe The Good News (4:51)

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Vee Vee

Playing Time: 43 minutes 55 seconds

Vee Vee

1. Step into the Light (4:22)
2. Harnessed in Slums (3:16)
3. Nevermind the Enemy (2:32)
4. Greatest of All Time (3:51)
5. Underdogs of Nipomo (3:31)
6. Floating Friends (3:49)
7. 1985 (0:53)
8. Fabricoh (3:06)
9. Nostalgia (1:19)
10. Let the Loser Melt (3:32)
11. Death in the Park (3:31)
12. The Worst Has Yet to Come (2:51)
13. Underachievers March and Fight Song (7:22)

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The Speed of Cattle

Playing Time: 1 hour 23 seconds

The Speed of Cattle

1. Wrong (3:50)
2. South Carolina (3:34)
3. Web In Front (2:08)
4. Bathroom (1:45)
5. Tatyana (4:43)
6. What Did You Expect? (3:13)
7. Ethel Merman (2:42)
8. Funnelhead (2:51)
9. Quinn Beast (3:42)
10. Telepathic Traffic (3:05)
11. Don’t Believe The Good News (4:49)
12. Smokin Pot In The Hot City (3:17)
13. Mutes In The Steeple (2:07)
14. Revenge (2:47)
15. Bacteria (6:30)
16. Freezing Point (2:47)
17. Powerwalker (3:37)
18. Backwash (2:56)

The Speed of Cattle Part 1

The Speed of Cattle Part 2

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One response to “How Speedy are Cattle? Archers of Loaf

  1. Oh man…Archers. I fucking LOVE this band. I’m a firm believer that Speed of Cattle is actually their best record, though it’s actually a collection. It just flows together so well, and the versions of Wrong and Web In Front on Cattle are SOOOO much better than what would show up on Icky Mettle. Great band.

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