Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Flagpole Feature: The Antlers: Finding the Hope in Hospice


It's my first feature for Flagpole! And it's about a band whose record I really admire. I've written about them before; I did a review of Hospice for Atlanta Music Guide back in August. And tomorrow night, they'll be in Athens to play at the 40 Watt. Can't wait!

The Antlers
Finding the Hope in Hospice


Once in a great while, a true concept album gets made. It doesn’t preach or pander; its narrative serves not as a crutch, but as a framework through which its creators explore actual, fallible emotion and musically ambitious composition. Sometimes, even, the expression of its theme isn’t so abstract as to be unrecognizable to the uninitiated (we’re looking at you, In The Aeroplane over the Sea).

So it is with Hospice, the breakthrough album from Brooklyn, NY’s taxidermically named The Antlers, a trio that this year suddenly turned a lot of horn-free heads. The band—frontman Peter Silberman, multi-instrumentalist Darby Cicci and percussionist Michael Lerner—self-released Hospice this March in their impatience to have it heard and, subsequently, sold out of it. “We ended up kind of in the deep end, the good side of that, with people wanting to buy it,” Cicci says. “We didn’t really have distribution, so we didn’t have a way of getting it to the record stores in L.A. or Toronto or anything like that.” Unwilling to wait months for a label to put out the album, it was Frenchkiss Records (founded by Les Savy Fav’s Syd Butler) that ultimately secured the rights to Hospice’s August re-issue, promising speed instead of complex, lengthy production cycles.

Bolstered by this new exposure, The Antlers have finally gotten the opportunity to let Hospice speak—or rather, wail—for itself. The album comprises nine movements, all with one-word names, chronicling the death of a loved one and the emotional fallout thereafter. Silberman’s voice breaks from full-feeling tenor into strangled, wrenching falsetto as he sings of pain, verbal abuse, hallucinations, grief and the surreality of it all. The band creates a sonic spectacle composed alternately of simple folk, shimmering ambient tones and fleeting anthems, notes dazzling, wobbling and fading out like the smoke after fireworks...[Read more]

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Anonymous said...

It is extremely interesting for me to read that article. Thanx for it. I like such themes and anything connected to them. I would like to read more on that blog soon.

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