Put ’em in mustaches and call them Dalí, because the Antlers don’t make music, they create dreamscapes. The compositions -- both airy and heavy, tangible and vastly mind-f---ing -- explore darkness with a nod to the light, not in a hopeful way, necessarily, but with something akin to science-minded curiosity.
The Brooklyn-based trio experiments with both sound and self, pushing sonic and personal boundaries to explore each, using the lens of the other. Come Wednesday, July 16, the Antlers will focus that lens on San Diego, when they take the Belly Up stage by swoon.
What started as a solo project for frontman Peter Silberman nearly a decade ago has grown to include multi-instrumentalist Darby Cicci and drummer Michael Lerner. They have helped move the Antlers from sparse, folksy strum-hums to unconventionally expansive tracks with enough swirl and falsetto to prickle the back of your neck. But this isn’t a space odyssey, and the Antlers’ music isn’t so far gone as to alienate all but the supreme (and supremely high).
Probably best known for "Hospice" (an effort earned the group comparisons to Arcade Fire) -- on which Silberman uses cancer and its creepingly slow death as an analogy for his then-relationship -- the Antlers turned industry heads again in 2011 with "Burst Apart," an aptly titled stand-alone triumph of a different spirit.
Last month, however, saw the release of the Antlers' most lush record to date: "Familiars" is anything but for Silberman, who uses lengthy tracks to remember himself by taking stock of who he is now. The variation on introspection is informed by Aldous Huxley’s final novel, "Island," wherein Silberman met the idea "that who you are is not necessarily who you’ve been." And so Silberman -- aided by Cicci’s worthy instrumental exploration and Lerner’s grounding drum work -- set out to see who he has become.
Go see for yourself at the Belly Up on Wednesday night.
Hannah Lott-Schwartz, a San Diego native, recently moved back to the area after working the magazine-publishing scene in Boston. Now she’s straight trolling SD for all the music she missed while away. Want to help? Hit her up with just about anything at all over on Twitter, where -- though not always work-appropriate -- she means well.