by Alex Gordon
This Saturday, The Altar Bar hosts two very good, very talented, very similar bands. They’re both from Brooklyn (a borough of New York City), both have a knack for haunting ambients, sleek guitars and falsetto vocals and both create beautiful, arching narrative gems (staples of my Crying Mix on Spotify, find it). They are The Antlers and Port St. Willow.
Port St. Willow is Nick Principe, a plural instrumentalist and talented singer with an EP (Even//Wasteland) and a full-length called Holiday to his name so far. The latter is a particularly gorgeous record, bleak and substantive and weirdly uplifting in all the right places. Check out “Hollow” from his full length; it’s a fitting introduction to the sound and a good example of how depressed music isn’t necessarily always depressing. Much like those Antlers.
The similarities between the two are not coincidental, Principe and Antlers’ mainman Peter Silberman go way back (like spinal chords and car seats?) and have been collaborating/supporting each other musically since childhood in upstate NY (north of Brooklyn). You can find one such collab here and though there are no guarantees in live music, we can hope they join each other on stage Saturday.
On to The Antlers. Where Principe has remained PSW’s principal player (sorry), The Antlers have since filled out to full-band status without losing the bedroom edge. Breakthrough came in the form of 2009’s near praised-to-death Hospice, a ten-track concept-ish album about a hospice worker falling in love with a dying patient. Despite the heavy subject (and it is that), the strengths of the compositions are too good to ignore and somehow, end up way more memorable than the dreary hospitalness in the lyrics.
Since then, The Antlers have released an EP (Undersea, July) and a pretty excellent full length called Burst Apart. While maybe a little less original than Hospice, it’s much more gratifying and much less taxing on your mood. Check out the Hail To The Theif/Sigur Rosie “Parentheses” below.
This Saturday, find The Antlers and Port St. Willow at The Altar Bar. The show is all ages, tickets $15. Doors 7pm, show at 8pm.