Maps and Atlases - Trees, Swallows, Houses (2006)
This is a band to watch for. Maps and Atlases come from Chicago and one listen to their math-rock inspired sound will make all the more sense. What completely blows me away about this record is the amount of notes the guitarist opens the album with. I mean, it is just mind numbing, and he keeps it up for most of the album. The sound is hard to describe. Rather, the tone is hard to describe. It has a particular clean sound that I am really into. Musically they come off like a hybrid of Don Caballero, Pele and Hella, with furious octopus like drumming skills and oddly repeated guitar figures, picked with delicate intensity. The singer has a nasally voice that is odd, but somehow very endearing. Each song is blazingly fast, working its way through many time signatures that would have an acoustical physicists head spinning. The key is how much melody they inject in to each song. Where Don Cab or Hella are content to bend the rules in hopes to find some mysterious polyrhythm on the fringe, Maps and Atlases stay its course and explores the polyrythms that exist on the inside of the spectrum, resembling quarks of sound and shimmering rays of light. It all adds up to a new band with an incredibly unique sound, one which I eagerly await either seeing live or releasing another album which hopefully delivers on the promise of this first one.
Like every good band these days, Maps and Atlases would be behind if they didnt have a myspace page and it seems that the only place to get merch is from this site. You can also find two pretty cool Maps and Atlases tee shirts. After all, who doesnt need another cool graphic tee. ^_~