So today we've got a Brooklyn-based band (always fun) in The Antlers. One of those names I've heard off-and-on, but never knew the music. It all started with Peter Silberman recording in his own bedroom, later evolving his music into a full-fledged band. They continued recording for a while out of this sort of setting - on their own terms and gorilla style, including in a bathtub. And no, I don't have more details on that one.
Critics raved about their first album, Hospice, and then there was a follow-up, Burst Apart. The album we're listening to today is actually an EP (with 8 tracks??) released (I think) prior BA, but I'm not totally sure. This actually serves to show some covers and breakdowns of other Antlers songs. We're no supposed to expect something well-edited, and it's not along the lines of their normal music that you are never left questioning.
I don't know if I should be excited or nervous now.
So we start things off in a way that I can only describe as digital. "Parentheses" with PVT is this very psychedelic track with some odd sounds used to create the "music" portion of it. The vocals are whispy and hard to identify with on top of the rest. It's just a generally tough sound to really get in to in a sober state. It's also not hate-able though - there is something oddly appealing going on too.
The SNRF version of "French Exit" is infections in that the beat has my head and toes bopping along with it. I want to compare it with crazy pop songs (I still can't get "Call Me Maybe" out of my damn head!), but obviously there's something very different. Actually, I'd be happier with this if there were no vocals at all. The sounds 'musically' are far more enjoyable on their own, just pushing the envelope of annoying, but, thankfully, not getting there.
"I Don't Want Love" (Peter's Version) is where I think we're starting to hear that non-polished version of songs we were told to expect. This one's... tough. It's the slowest thing I've heard in a while, with so much echo on the high-pitched voice that my upper threshold of hearing is a little in pain. The guitar's nice enough, if we were just in a jam session in a quiet, dark room, listening to a man play out. But the ominous tones behind it just bring down the entire sound that much more.
Nicole Atkins comes on for "Hounds," which isn't much of anything until thirty seconds in. It really sounds like we just happened upon the group in the studio with a sound recorder. When the music does finally strike up, about a minute in, it's quite, gritty, and sweet. This is another one that is clearly lacking polish, but it works this time around. If you're able to just feel music once in a while, this is probably a good one for it. Granted, not loving the awkward vocals as they get going, and that's actual the one element that's going to keep it off my playlist, because I don't want to hear them again. But the backing? Very pretty, very cosmic.
Not going to lie, I zoned out for the first three minutes of "Rolled Together" with Neon Indian. It's just the same guitar strum for a very long time, eventually joined by some lyrics on repeat, and some kind of electronic buzz. About four minutes in is where everything takes off. This would be great to lay in grass listening to, and maybe a few other situations. I dig it enough to let it go on without getting too overly bored with the concept. Sure, we can tolerate this one, even at nine minutes long, simply because it does fade into that background thought so easily.
All right, so the closer is a MUCH longer very of "Parentheses" this time with Bear In Heaven. It starts with very little than noise for the first minute or two, then picks up with a drum beat, at least. It build with vocals, and then with a few more elements than make it a pretty heavy track overall. This would be far more fitting on a movie soundtrack, with something to watch in a story, than on the tail end of an EP. But I guess you can take more liberties with it's not a full album with more weighing on it.
Added to My Playlist:
- "French Exit" (SNRF version)
- "Rolled Together" (feat. Neon Indian)