I came across Maps and Atlases only recently on Fat Cat Records and was humbly impressed by their originality. Seeing as they have just recorded a heap of video sessions, including for Shake it Records in Cincinatti / Reggie’s and they have some UK tour dates coming up in October to coincide with the release of their album Perch Patchwork it seemed like a good a time as any to introduce them.
Having met in 2004 as art students at Chicago’s Columbia College, Maps & Atlases’ initial output (a 2006 EP titled Tree, Swallows, Houses) showcased their astute technical abilities and deft musicality, changing rhythms and tearing across guitar fretboards at breakneck speed. Their follow-up EP (2008’s You and Me and the Mountain), however, demonstrated a desire for a more organic – but no less eccentric – pop-orientated course that retains the mathematical precision of their first set of recordings, but allowed for more compositional virtuosity than instrumental. It is this path that has led them to forthcoming debut full-length Perch Patchwork, a densely textured, exhilarating body of work that sees the band creating intricacies in songwriting, in lush brass and string arrangements rather than in lightning-fast guitar lines, resulting in a gorgeous, complex, slightly skewed take on pop music.
The band – Dave Davison (vocals, guitar), Shiraz Dada (bass), Chris Hainey (drums), and Erin Elders (guitar) – produce a sound comparable in places to the mature, graceful pop of Band of Horses or TV On The Radio combined with the excitement of Deerhoof or Vampire Weekend and the experimentation of CAN. That their live dates see them share stages with FatCat’s Frightened Rabbit and Our Brother The Native, as well as acclaimed experimental hardcore band mewithoutYou, and African legend Vieux Farka Toure demonstrates the broad-reaching depth of sounds that Maps & Atlases take in.
Maps & Atlases recently signed to Barsuk Records in the US, who will handle the North American release of Perch Patchwork, and to FatCat for the UK and Europe
UK Tour Dates:
08 Oct – The Hope, Brighton, UK
09 Oct – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, UK
10 Oct – Captains Rest, Glasgow, UK
11 Oct – Deaf Institute, Manchester, UK
12 Oct – Cargo, London, UK
14 Oct – Point Ephemere, Paris, FR
15 Oct – Botanique, Brussels, BEL
16 Oct – Hafenklang, Hamburg, GER
17 Oct – Festsaal Kreuzberg, Berlin, GER
18 Oct – Beatpol, Dresden, GER
19 Oct – Cafe Cairo, Wurzberg, GER
20 Oct – Paradiso, Amsterdam, NL
22 Oct – O2 Academy 2, Liverpool, UK
23 Oct – Whelans, Dublin, ROI
Photo by Josh Goleman