Tagged with "Baltimore Archives - PORTALS"
Baltimore’s BRAIDER is the collaboration between Kyle England and Antonio Harper. This duo, formed in the summer of 2012, push soft melodic electronics that seem to always drift through my desktop late at night, providing the soundtrack to the never-ending task of mind-numbing website coding. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do, but the zombie-creating factor of the work is prevalent. And when the sun goes down, it’s a definite. BRAIDER‘s music has a cathartic effect on the process that melds well with the hypnotic pace my keystrokes create.
A lot of people think of Animal Collective, Dan Deacon, Beach House, and Wye Oak when they think of the Baltimore music scene. It makes sense because of the notoriety that those bands have received (well-deserved too). But when I think of Baltimore music, Double Dagger jumps to the forefront. Double Dagger (RIP), with their unique captivating and challenging hardcore energy, were the musical equivalent of Baltimore. Beautiful, problematic, harsh, creative, misunderstood, but loved by the people who really know it. Double Dagger‘s final LP, 333, will be released on Record Store Day (via Thrill Jockey) along with a DVD copy of a documentary about the band entitled If We Shout Loud Enough (view the trailer and track off the album below).
That was a massive tangent-like segue into the main reason for this post—Peals. Bruce Willen, formerly of Double Dagger, and William Cashion, currently with Future Islands, have formed Peals and are releasing their debut LP Walking Field on May 14th via Thrill Jockey. Peals is a major detour from the energy brought out by the two bassists’ previous/current bands. Recorded at a home studio, Walking Field is calm, harmonic, and meditative. “Blue Elvis” is a slow drifting song strung together with a soft guitar melody laced over a seemingly wooden sampled beat.
You can also put together your own version of “Furniture” via their website—www.pealsmusic.com—all 16 tracks are there allowing the listener to push and pull different parts of the song together.
The sample based electronic exploits of Co La mastermind, Matt Papich, have always managed to channel something deeper than sound. From the cosmic synth pulses, weird tropical elements, and hypnotic doo-wop samples; as each element loops together, it titillates the mind in a way that allows you to grab onto something greater than the music itself.
If the gorgeous sound collages on Co La‘s last effort, Daydream Repeater, taught us anything, it’s that he’s very good at taking us through experiences that often require a pina colada, some bright board shorts, and maybe a few psychedelics if you’re feeling up to it. It’s kind of funny to think that his new single is called “Deaf Christian”. Those not blessed with all four senses can rest assured that you’ll not miss one beat of this track.
As usual, Co La defies the traditional pop template, allowing him to weave different sounds together with his own futuristic thread, creating a blend of uniquely layered electronics that you can experience with your whole being. Much like fresh fruit, this track is juicy and has a sweet vibe that stays on the tongue long after the first bite. Oddly enough, all the fruit in the visuals for “Deaf Christian” end up being used for smashing, rather than eating. Watching a handsome ginger man crush two pieces of fruit into his skull with the most unsettling looks on his face is pretty out there, but the lighting is perfect and makes the whole spectacle pretty hard to ignore.
“Deaf Christian” and some other delicious tracks can be found on his next LP, Moody Coup, which drops May 6th on Software.
I equate listening to Baltimore’s Soft Cat to a walk through the woods. It’s delicate and soft with occasional bright spots and deep roots. There’s minute pieces to discover in each track. But there’s also a brisk wind that can come through. An impending storm can turn the forest into a scene of tension and beauty at the same time.
“Liminal” is that moment hidden away in the calming melodic acoustic sounds of Lost No Labor (their upcoming release – out on April 9th). While the beginning chords speak to the rest of the albums vibe, everything changes when the vocals, strings, and drums roll in backed by an unexpected blanket of feedback. The wind is blowing. The leaves are spinning. The light fades and my pace quickens. The beauty of it though is that it builds and builds to some sort of explosive and powerful moment. That does not happen with “Liminal”. Instead this feeling subsides and fades. The storm passes. Light streams through again, ending where the song began with the calm chords strumming out into the wilderness. “Liminal” takes Lost No Labor where it needs to go for a brief moment, but then quickly guides it back to Soft Cat‘s warm and peaceful home.
Soft Cat’s Neil Sanzgiri had this to say about “Liminal” and Lost No Labor:
“Liminal”, much like the definition of the word, is a song that I wanted to represent the in-between stage—moments of uncertainty where nothing seems to happen and nothing is accomplished. That’s why I think this song is an interesting fit in the album. I remember thinking that I accidentally wrote an angsty song when I started recording it, but I realized it was such a necessary step in the theme of ‘Lost No Labor’.
Graduating from college nearly two years ago, I had no idea which direction my life would take. Coming out of art school, I was emotionally exhausted but awakened with a new critical and almost spiritual lens in which to view the world. I almost swore off of Soft Cat after the trouble of releasing ‘Wildspace‘ in 2010, and thought music would be my last avenue. Anyone involved in the music world knows what I’m talking about, the rigorousness of getting anything to happen sometimes. Maybe another title for the album could have something to do with rigor because that’s really what I’m trying to describe. Labor is something that applies to every aspect of our lives—the constant renewal of effort that daily existence requires. It’s truly a courageous experience and I guess I just want people to know that we have to keep moving forward and work as hard as we can.
I worked on this album with some of my closest friends and formed bonds in playing music with them at my house in very intimate settings. Some of the happiest moments of my life are captured on this album.
Lost No Labor will be released by Human Kindness Overflowing, the wonderful non-profit label that donates proceeds to needy causes, on April 9th. The money raised from the Lost No Labor release will be donated to the Whitelock Community Farms in Baltimore, MD, which supports the Baltimore community through sustainable fresh food sources.
Wing Dam, the project of Baltimore’s Austin Tally, has grown so much in sound over the last few years. Now a three piece consisting of Tally, Abram Sanders (Lower Dens, The Snails, Fell Band) on drums, and Sara Autrey (Dan Deacon, Which Magic, Bitch Cave) on bass and vocals, Wing Dam is putting out a more vibrant rock vibe. “Stars” is the first released track from the upcoming Thick Phase / No Splash LP (out on March 20th) and displays a cleaner yet still wonderfully melodic sound. Tally elaborates:
It’s a song for getting thru that final shitty cold stretch of late winter that takes forever to turn into early spring. A smashy slow-builder for shaking off the last of the cold.
The video was recorded through the winter between Baltimore and Asheville by Tally and Sanders.