Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"Hospice" by The Antlers

I'm always hesitant of new music, especially from new bands. Even more especially when someone tells me I'll love it. Most of the time, it doesn't work out for me so much. This is why I wasn't too broken up about missing the Antlers open for The National a couple of months ago. I had never heard them, so I didn't know what I was missing. But most telling was that a bunch of people told me I'd probably like them.

To be fair, I already didn't like their name, which is a stupid reason to not listen to someone. The Antlers calls to mind a deer and with that a whole slew of bands with "deer" in their name: Deertick, Deerhoof, Deerhunter, Deermolester, etc. One shouldn't judge a band by their name. See: Radiohead, Starflyer 59, and Totally Wrecked (ok, maybe not that last one).

I went out west and my friend Peter was playing The Antler's "Hospice" record, which immediately made me want to know who it was. Peter and I share some musical tastes, but also butt heads on many things. I never really fell in love with Pavement, he thinks that Belle and Sebastian's "Life Pursuit" record blows.

When I came home, I bought the record. It's one that you want to listen to all the way through every time you play it, but also contains strong enough songs to stand alone (although they shouldn't). This is a concept record in the most literal sense. Not only does the album tell a cohesive story through out, but the music plays like a classical piece with themes and variations. The harrowing story tells of a narrator who becomes attached to a dying child as his relationship with his girlfriend falls apart. The imagery is stark and the metaphors are ruthlessly strong (I seriously can't pick one because they're all so good).

Now I'm all bummed that I didn't see them perform these songs live when I had the chance.

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