I'm pretty partial to brevity, when done correctly (that being said, I'm not very good at it, my blog entries are sure to be long, rambling, and moderately stream of consciousness). A proper full length album's tracklisting traditionally hovers in the range of 10-12 songs, and I find it to be a huge show of confidence when a band releases an LP with a slim track count. Albums like Slint's Spiderland and Japandroids' Post-Nothing avoid bloated running times and throwaway tracks; they're both under 40 minutes long and boast 6 and 8 tracks respectively, and are better for it.
Richmond, Virgina's Antlers released a 22 minute long LP in 2007 that has stayed with me since I first picked it up on vinyl and cassette (viva la dead formats ya'll) two years ago at a MACRoCK, a music festival in Harrisonburg, VA.
Antlers was on my radar long before a similarly named Brooklyn buzzband rolled onto the scene. The Antlers' Hospice never really did much for me, and it'd be in your best interest to forget I even mentioned them. Antlers (no "The") packs countless riffs, several group singalongs, and multiple mid-song tempo changes into an 8-track LP that clocks in at just over 22 minutes. Also of note is that every song is named after a type of tree (Black Walnut, Sequoia, Bur Oak, etc.).
Antlers (the album) is densely layered and frequently math-y without being overbearing or obnoxious on either count. An annoying way of describing it would be if Fang Island taught kindergarten rather than Classic Rock 101.
Antlers toured the East Coast with the equally excellent Snack Truck (who may be covered here later) earlier this summer. As of right now, it looks like the band is in a state of transition; their bassist recently left the band to move to North Carolina and they appear to be taking some time off to adjust their lineup.
First, two seemingly contradictory things about Sleeping in the Aviary:
1) They have an uncanny ability to crank out barnburning pop punk that most 17 year old skate rats (or rapidly aging hardcore dudes looking to cash in their scene points for a spot on a side stage at Warped) would trade their Guttermouth discography for.
2) Their lead singer/songwriter Elliott Kozel crafts intelligent folk rock that rivals Okkervil River in terms of unbridled emotion and intense lyrics.
Their first LP, Oh, This Old Thing?, beats The Thermals at their own game, with a string of minute and a half long fuzz-laden blasts of unbridled energy. 2008 saw the release of their followup, Expensive Vomit In A Cheap Hotel, an album with a decidedly more folk bend. Expensive Vomit opens with the instant classic "Write On", a lo-fi tirade dedicated to anyone who has ever dared to date a musician. Another highlight is "Gas Mask Blues", a redfaced rant that makes for an intense climax during their ragged and wild live shows.
Both of those joints are still available for purchase, via the webstore at Science of Sound. Their third album, Great Vacation!, is set for release November 30th. The first single from the album is called "Y.M.C.A. (No, Not That One)" and features synthesizers, harps, and a group of water-gurgling backup signers. It's one of the band's most adventurous tracks to date and promises another stylistic shift for album number three.
I'm not gonna be the dude to upload all their albums, the band tours relentlessly and deserves your money (they're currently planning a four month tour that kicks off in January 2011). Luckily, they've made tracks from each of their three albums available for download.
Sleeping in the Aviary:
Great Vacation! (Science of Sound, 2010)
Sleeping in the Aviary- Y.M.C.A. (No, Not That One)
Expensive Vomit in a Cheap Hotel (Science of Sound, 2008)
Sleeping in the Aviary- Write On
Sleeping in the Aviary- Gas Mask Blues
Sleeping in the Aviary- Windshield
Oh, This Old Thing? (Science of Sound, 2007)
Sleeping in the Aviary- Pop Song
Sleeping in the Aviary- Another Girl
Sleeping in the Aviary- Lanugo
Also: This is exactly why I love this band. Forgive the mid-song start, the beer shower during the bridge makes up for any videological errors.