Bandcamp’s Best Discovers: “Bright Works And Baton”
Dave Davidson, frontman of one of the most eccentrically addictive musical acts of the decade, released his creative juices full-bore on the first EP of his solo project Bright Works and Baton. At the time, Maps and Atlases had only released a couple of EPs, likely on their way to recording the impeccable Perch Patchwork. I had initially missed this release, discovering its quirky loveability only a few weeks ago.
By no means should Cast Spells be construed as a diet version of M&A. Davidson’s characteristic warble is alive and well, adding a timbre that is virtually impossible to replicate. In fact, Cast Spells doesn’t deviate too far from the quirk of M&A, but highlights Davidson’s folk subtleties over the complex instrumentation and composition found in previous and subsequent M&A records.
Light & Noise Acoustic Videos from Mexico
Some videos shot in our hotel room while down in Mexico playing some Maps & Atlases shows, thanks Light & Noise.
SPIN Premiere: Maps & Atlases “Fever’
When Maps & Atlases hit the road early last year with Barsuk Records labelmates Menomena, the pairing was more than clever indie synergy. Like their Portland-based comrades, the Chicago quartet anchors its slightly bent pop tunes with impressively intricate drumming. The first track to surface from Maps & Atlases’ upcoming Beware & Be Grateful (out April 17), “Winter,” saw the Dave Davison-fronted band taking a more focused approach to its buoyant, fleet-fingered guitar-pop. Latest advance track “Fever” similarly forgoes the occasional Latin-brass or campfire-folk left turns of 2010’s Perch Patchwork, instead allowing Davison’s rounded, distinctive bray to float triumphantly over a direct, breezy concoction that feels, indeed like a fever passing. Pre-order the album here and get a bag of Maps & Atlases coffee to help you keep up with those busy rhythms.
LISTEN TO “FEVER”
Israeli Caves featuring Good Old War / Sargent House Glassroom / Terroreyes TV
Rolling Stone Premiere Download: “Winter” the first New Track from Maps & Atlases “Beware and Be Grateful”
Interview with The AV Club
Dave Davison and Erin Elders
The band members discuss their biggest influences
Maps & Atlases formed in 2004 at Columbia College, and soon gained notoriety for their frenetic musicality, impressionistic lyrics, and lead singer Dave Davison’s unique vocals. The band’s experimental math rock-influenced sound gave way to a less abrasive folk approach on its debut full-length, Perch Patchwork, released last year on Barsuk Records. While the band may have scaled back its overt musical flair over time, it remains one of the tightest, most interesting musical acts going.
The A.V. Club caught up with Davison and Erin Elders, (guitarist-lead singer and lead guitarist, respectively) in advance of their set at A.V. Fest this weekend, to talk about some of their favorite local bands, as well as their experiences as musicians and music fans in Chicago.
Light & Noise LIVE - Maps & Atlases - Austin TX
Thanks to Light & Noise for the session - CLICK TO SEE TONS OF PHOTOS
The Link: To Serve The Song Above All Else Maps & Atlases Move in a New Direction
It’s pretty common that bands known for technical ability will push the limits of their playing with each new release, but Chicago’s Maps & Atlases latest work strives to flex both creative muscles and the ones in their fingers.
“I don’t think we were ever heavy in any way,” said lead singer, guitarist and most-bearded member Dave Davison when talking about how the band used to share the stage with the post-hardcore group Russian Circles. The band’s early work bared the signs of math rock, but now Maps & Atlases more closely resemble a folk band.
Perch Patchwork came out last summer and was the band’s first full-length offering, filled with rich, subtle instrumentation and an increased focus on Davison’s voice. Being their debut LP, Maps & Atlases spent the time to make a cohesive piece of work that builds upon their technically proficient sound.
“It was a really fun and productive way to allow the songs to take shape,” said Davison about the more experimental process to songwriting the band took with this record.
“On previous work with Maps & Atlases we would spend a long time getting ideas together to play live, and then the recording process became mostly a way of documenting that live experience,” he said.
“It was the prospect of recording and letting whatever happened happen, like if something started seeming a certain way or going in a different direction, to just allow it to go that way was only possible through this type of recording. It was really exciting for everybody in the band. Jason made everyone excited to explore more.”
Jason Cupp produced Perch Patchwork, and a warm, complex sound was formed – one which draws influence from as many directions as genres in their hometown music scene. Cupp worked with Davison in 2009 for his solo work under the name Cast Spells, and after exploring these new approaches to writing brought the artfully arranged sound to a full band context. The result builds off the Cast Spells EP, with engaging, unorthodox percussion and melodic form catchy enough for a pop song.
Maps & Atlases cover “Summer Breeze”
Maps & Atlases cover “Summer Breeze” by Seals & Croft at the Threadless warehouse
What better way to kick off Undercover: Summer Break than with a pair of Chicago institutions? Here, Maps & Atlases—a Chicago band that released its excellent full-length debut, Perch Patchwork, on Barsuk last year—met us at the massive Threadless warehouse. The T-shirt giant’s headquarters is maybe even more fun than you’d expect: They have a basketball court, a grill, and a giant robot. The band absolutely nailed Seals & Crofts’ 1972 hit “Summer Breeze,” and it made us all feel fine. Special thanks to Lance and Colleen at Threadless for hosting the taping!
Pigeon Live from SXSW / Invisible Children’s Silver Series
Bright Works And Baton Free Download All Week
Sargent House is featuring the Cast Spells EP as their “May We Introduce You” feature as the free Download all this week so now you can get Bright Works And Baton for FREE . While you are at it you can check out the split EP with Good Old War. In other news Maps & Atlases will be going on tour with RX Bandits and Zechs Marquise in June/July. Dave will be performing Cast Spells songs for the July 21st show on that tour in Chicago. SEE ALL TOUR DATES HERE
Just click Download to get for free.
Breakthrough Radio: Cast Spells Live Session & Interview
David Davison stopped by Breakthrough Radio in New York on 4/19/11 while out on tour with Maps & Atlases for a bit of a chat and an acoustic session of his Cast Spells songs.
Take A LISTEN HERE
00:00 Cast Spells on BTR Live Studio
01:21 Potted Plant
11:56 Pioneer Scalps
15:32 American Quilts
21:18 A Badge
28:17 Glamorous Glowing
I made a Mix to Benefit Rock For Kids - Please Bid On It
This Friday 4/29 there is an event to benefit Rock For Kids, and if you can’t attend you can still bid on different bands and artists special made Mixes. Above is a picture of mine (still working on it! ). So if you can’t make it to the Rock For Kids mixer please know you can bid for mine or others. It’s a great cause and all proceeds go to benefit the organization. So, Place your bids here! and help spread the word about Rock For Kids if you can.
NYC Show was fun.
Beginning with his solo introduction on “Pigeon” and ending with barely audible vocal flourishes on the show-closing “Was,” Davison’s appearance, unkempt with arguably the longest hair in the room, and musical contributions stood out. This is not to say, however, that the rest of the band faded into the background. Shiraz Dada (bass) and Chris Hainey (drums) commanded a rhythm section that navigated through shifting time signatures while Erin Elders deftly finger-tapped complex guitar riffs. These talents emerged on selections from earlier, math rock-centric EPs You and Me and the Mountain and Tree, Swallows, Houses, but also during the larger portion of material from Perch Patchwork, especially the showstopping “The Charm.” Nevertheless, Davison, with few words for the audience but visible gratitude, provided the night’s best moments. During an adamantly called for encore, he explained that while Maps & Atlases rarely do covers, they decided to perform the Elvis Costello song “Radio Radio.” And although the selection seemed odd at first, Davison’s adaptable voice handled the melody surprisingly well. It’s this apparent connection to classic-rock roots mixed with technical proficiency that makes this band challenging yet shamelessly enjoyable. —Jared Levy
Perch Patchwork, the debut album from Maps & Atlases, is perhaps the best record you didn’t hear in 2010. With folk-rock immediacy and lush arrangements, it’s an album in the truest sense, diverse yet cohesive. The songs range from radio friendly (“Living Decorations” and “Israeli Caves”) to experimental (“Carrying the Wet Wood”), but none stray far from pop palatability. And whether frontman Dave Davison’s expressive blend of singing and croaking endears you to the music or pushes you away, it is undeniably unique and memorable. So, on Tuesday night at The Bowery Ballroom, it may come as no surprise to fans that Davison, positioned center stage, is the lasting image from the show.
Beginning with his solo introduction on “Pigeon” and ending with barely audible vocal flourishes on the show-closing “Was,” Davison’s appearance, unkempt with arguably the longest hair in the room, and musical contributions stood out. This is not to say, however, that the rest of the band faded into the background. Shiraz Dada (bass) and Chris Hainey (drums) commanded a rhythm section that navigated through shifting time signatures while Erin Elders deftly finger-tapped complex guitar riffs. These talents emerged on selections from earlier, math rock-centric EPs You and Me and the Mountain and Tree, Swallows, Houses, but also during the larger portion of material from Perch Patchwork, especially the showstopping “The Charm.”
Nevertheless, Davison, with few words for the audience but visible gratitude, provided the night’s best moments. During an adamantly called for encore, he explained that while Maps & Atlases rarely do covers, they decided to perform the Elvis Costello song “Radio Radio.” And although the selection seemed odd at first, Davison’s adaptable voice handled the melody surprisingly well. It’s this apparent connection to classic-rock roots mixed with technical proficiency that makes this band challenging yet shamelessly enjoyable. —Jared Levy