Infinite Shuffle

March 7, 2010

18 – The Antlers

Filed under: A, Brooklyn — assman41 @ 12:01 am

My brother went to an Editors concert a couple weeks ago in Chicago and caught the last couple songs by the opening act, The Antlers. In addition to raving about the headliners, he said he thought I’d like their predecessor.

I’d apparently heard about The Antlers at some point last year because I had their latest album on my iTunes, and I also remember one of NPR’s critics hailing it as one of his favorites of 2009.

I figured both of those sources are generally reliable when it comes to music, so I’d give it a listen.

Then again, I guess no one’s perfect.

Last week, I complained about Beach House’s first two albums being too simple and not having enough going on. Well, if I thought they were too one-dimensional, then I guess Hospice by The Antlers must not have any dimensions at all.

The album is like one long dirge, with just the occasional uptick. I suppose that shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering the album’s overarching storyline — that of a hospice nurse assigned to take care of a young girl who is terminally ill with bone cancer. The fact that the life and writings of Syliva Plath are a huge influence just adds to the somber tone.

Musically, the trio from Brooklyn is in the same ilk as Beach House and Bon Iver. The Antlers share more than that with the latter artist, who, as the now popular backstory goes, holed up in a secluded cabin in Wisconsin to record his breakout hit album, For Emma, Forever Ago.

Front man, Peter Silberman, started The Antlers as a solo project, recording several albums in his New York City apartment, including one in his bathtub. But, judging from this overview, I’m not too sure it’s worth it to listen to those earlier efforts …

… self-recording a handful of albums in a kamikaze fashion — Uprooted (recorded just before and after moving in 2007), The February Tape (recorded in a bathtub in an hour), In the Attic of the Universe (a single ambient song stretched into an album), and Cold War (an album with only acoustic guitar and vocals, recorded in a week) …

As you can tell, I’m not a big fan of The Antlers. But if there’s one thing you should take from my experience it’s that you can’t always rely on what someone else thinks.

I’m not gonna waste the time, effort or server space uploading a track. Just check out their MySpace page. The single “Two” isn’t bad.

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