released June 29th, 2010

from the album - Solid Ground

from all music

Eccentric indie rock band Maps & Atlases feature Erin Elders (guitar), Shiraz Dada (bass), Chris Hainey (drums), and Dave Davison (guitar/vocals). Although they are based in Chicago, the members of Maps & Atlases prefer to align themselves with the term they define as "New Regionalism." Dada is actually the only one who calls Chicago home. Hainey hails from Texas, whereas Elders has soaked up the sun in Maui. Davison had a humble Midwestern upbringing in Indiana. The foursome initially met at a Chicago art school in 2004, combining their individual interests in art, literature, film, and music for an enigmatic post-rock-inspired sound. Maps & Atlases self-released their debut EP, Tree, Swallows, Houses, in early 2006.

album review

Maps & Atlasesí second EP, You and Me and the Mountain, found the band moving in a lighter direction than the mathematical frenzy of their first EP Trees, Swallows, Houses. Their first full-length sees them fully morphed into a sophisticated indie pop group. Perch Patchwork is a bold debut, filled with bombastic arrangements, twisting modal progressions, and percussive layers. The skill set is high, but itís far less showy. Guitarists will still be enthralled by Dave Davidson's and Erin Elders' fingertapping, but acoustics take precedent, and moderately slow tempos maintain the album's balladic feel. If Trees, Swallows, Houses felt like a cousin to Don Cab or Hella, their first Barsuk outing has adapted the organic spirit of their Northwestern labelmates (particularly that of Menomena, the Long Winters, and John Vanderslice.) Of course, with Maps & Atlases' virtuosic chops and syncopated leanings, they kind of resemble BLK JKS or Minus the Bear, albeit with a Jethro Tull influence. Trendy South African rhythms and austere strings spin a web around Davidsonís poetic lyrics, and in this intricate, introspective setting, their talent becomes very clear.

Track Listing

1 Will Maps & Atlases 2:16
2 The Charm Maps & Atlases 3:13
3 Living Decorations Maps & Atlases 2:54
4 Solid Ground Maps & Atlases 2:47
5 Is Maps & Atlases 1:43
6 Israeli Caves Maps & Atlases 3:53
7 Banished Be Cavalier Maps & Atlases 2:53
8 Carrying the Wet Wood Maps & Atlases 3:11
9 Pigeon Maps & Atlases 2:53
10 If This Is Maps & Atlases 2:42
11 Was Maps & Atlases 2:15
12 Perch Patchwork Maps & Atlases 5:45