If Jacques Cousteau’s ghost was eating mushrooms at the bottom of the ocean and watching a giant squid doing battle with a great white shark, and he had his ipod on him, he would be listening to Antlers. Amidst a wall of ambient noise reminiscent of church organs comes a barrage of sound, droning and melodic, polyrhythmic and mesmerizing, harsh and beautiful. This is Antlers, living, breathing proof of the eclectic, dynamic nature of Richmond’s music underground.
Combining the spaciness of bands like Mogwai and Broken Social Scene, with the experimental instrumentation of Sonic Youth and Ghost and Vodka, and including former members of Mass Movement of the Moth, Gregor Samsa, Resonance, and Olive Tree, this Richmond-based act has been playing around since 2007. The band is comprised of Jay Moritz on Bass, Wolfgang Daniel on Guitar, Mike Ashley on drums, and Christian Brady on guitar and organ. Though most of their music is instrumental, the band shares vocal duties on several songs.
Along with Philly two-piece The Cinnamon Band and fellow RVA act Little Master, Antlers played to a chilled out crowd last night at The Triple. Offering a more subdued stage presence, the heart of Antlers’ live performance lies in the intricacy of Wolfgang and Christian’s guitar exchanges, layered over the haunting ambiance of the organ, the steady flow of Jay’s bass, and the staccato chaos of Mike’s drums. Someone standing nearby said “I feel like I’m tripping right now, I wish I was.” Something about the underlying eeriness of their sound, coupled with a beer or two, gave a sensation of floating in empty space; the truly dynamic nature of the music prevents the listener from settling into any one rhythm or note, a beautifully disorienting flow of ever-changing melodies.
It’s bands like Antlers that make one appreciate the diversity of Richmond’s indie music scene. There’s not one Richmond sound, but a group of unique sounds that influence and complement each other, creating a rich mesh of individuals forming one perpetually evolving collective. Antler’s is but one great band doing their own thing in a scene full of great bands doing their own thing.