(03.2009, self released)
RIYL = Jeff Buckley, The Velvet Teen, Have a Nice Life
Hmm, how to do justice to this album? Since the invention of the home-based/portable studio, everyone who has a computer or laptop has had access to the basic tools necessary to make a professional grade recording and it seems like just about everyone has. In this post-Myspace age, who doesn’t have a music profile (or 4)? This influx of recording, while breeding an ever larger group of relevant, talented musicians/artists, has also created a monstrous sea of soulless crap that dwarfs the talent influx 100 fold. Sure, searching for music is much more exciting with the prospect of being the first to stumble upon some genius band (why do we want to "first?"). However, it has become a much more arduous, monotonous prospect having to sift through the trucks loads of not-so-worthy titles that are so liberally touted by the garrulous PR machines as well. It is hard to get through the first three tracks of an album without feeling the like you have to make a decision as to the products worthwhile. I guess that is what these stupid blogs are for, right? I mean, at least that’s what we tell ourselves. So, in an effort to delude myself from the self indulgent reality that is “Forest Gospel,” I offer Hospice as a peace offering. And, oh boy, is this ever a shining example of why we keep listening to all these crappy self produced promos. Hospice is the real deal. What The Antlers have created in this, their 3rd album, is unmitigated beauty. Where most artists, even talented ones, offer only infatuation, The Antlers provide true romance. Where does this all come from? I think the principle culprit is the ultra-emotive vocals. I wanted to avoid this, but there really no reason to: Antlers mastermind and vocalist, Peter Silberman, more than reminds me of Jeff Buckley. It is not so much that Silnerman’s voice sound the same as Buckley’s as it is that his vocals on Hospice carry the same enormous weight as Buckley’s. It is a weird, awesome thing. However, the vocals aren’t the only story – song structure, instrumentation and production all come off pitch perfect. The Antlers have really created an epic aural space for themselves with this album which feels carved out of a mountain. And then there are the lyrics, whose solid narrative pull immediately sinks you into the Hospice like Alice down the rabbit hole, its just that The Antlers rabbit hole is much less whimsical and much more much more affecting. Hospice is simply the complete package. It reminds me of the time when I first realized that there was something beyond the radio, that music was more than some passing pop fixture and that I was doomed to forever enslave myself to its seductive enchantments. Oh, and apparently NPR likes it, so it is possibly all you old fogies can dig this too. :)
PS, Sassigrass is 8 months and 3 weeks preggers so I’m dedicating the song below to her. Good luck sweety.
The Antlers - "Bear"
I'm really loving this. The Antlers have a bunch of MP3s and previous EPs for download on their site, some of which I'm reposting below:
The Antlers - New York Hospitals EP
The Antlers - "Apple Orchard" (Beach House cover)
The Antlers - "When You Sleep" (My Bloody Valentine cover)