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Burst Apart with The Antlers and The Dodos @ La Tulipe

Posted by Greg / June 15, 2011

Peter Silberman should get a medal for picking the perfect album name. His solo-project-turned-trio The Antlers were one of the pillars of the quiet turn in music circa 2008/2009, when bearded guys with a lot of life problems emerged from their bedrooms/cabins/Portland to serenade us with acoustic guitars and forest-y sounds. It made for some gorgeous albums, equal parts sad and transcendent, that will always be waiting on my iPod for when a girl dumps me or someone dies or an ice storm shuts me in my house for a week. I mean that in a good way. But for all their impeccable craftsmanship, albums like The Antlers' Hospice, Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago, and The Fleet Foxes' self-titled debut lacked something in depth - or maybe more accurately, diversity. Each had a single sound, a single statement, and, to the more cynical listener, a single schtick. All seemed so complete that one wondered whether the artists had anything more to say.

This Spring we get to see all three bands Burst Apart, to use Silberman's words. It takes maybe twenty seconds of listening to the new album to see him in a brighter, if still haunted place, rejecting the tortuous relationship from Hospice with a defiant and relaxed mantra: "I don't want love." The whole album feels bigger than the last, like he finally left the hospital room from "Two" and realized it was sunny and warm outside.

A similar going-outside effect takes over Bon Iver, Bon Iver, as Justin Vernon opens with an acoustic guitar phrase that sounds exactly like something from the woods and then repeats it with an electric guitar over swelling drums and synths. The album that follows eases listeners into Bon Iver's wider sonic world without ever making anyone feel weird about loving his other work. By the time a distorted guitar kicks in behind the album's closer, "Beth/Rest," you almost have to remind yourself that the Bon Iver you knew would have never written a song that sounded like the Top Gun anthem.

Anyway, I don't mean to move too far away from the show at hand by making comparisons between bands that really have nothing to do with each other. (By the way, The Dodos are the actual headliners! And they're really good.) The point is, there are few things more gratifying than seeing bands you love release new material and hit a grand slam. The Antlers released my favorite album of 2009 and they've come back to give me even more in 2011. As much as people lament the decay of the music industry, there are still plenty of long term investments out there, and the rewards are only greater when they pay off.

The Dodos, The Antlers and Gauntlet Hair play La Tulipe Wednesday, June 15
Hear tracks by the first two on this week's Montreal Weekend Playlist



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