Coming Down From the Attic: The Antlers' Peter Silberman Prepares to Release His First Band Recording July Feature 2008 Feature Article by Ben
Photo by Judith Levitt
A few years ago, The Antler's Peter Silberman played a lovely acoustic song during the 2006 Williamsburg Live Songwriter Competition. A visit to Silberman's website revealed additional songs, tenderly recorded in a home studio and leading one to believe that this was an intense, acoustic live act. It was a trap. Anyone who attended The Antlers' subsequent Jezebel Music showcase at Laila Lounge spent the first minute up front and the rest of the set appreciating the music from the patio in back. The sonic assault was unbelievable, combining the density of guitar bands like My Bloody Valentine with the pounding drive of early U2. It was too much for Laila Lounge to handle. With his band's upcoming release, Hospice, Silberman attempts to finally close the gap between his live and studio sound, creating a studio recording that hits hard.
A studio junkie who has been recording on 4-tracks since he was a kid, Silberman's studio sound has always been his own. Playing nearly everything himself, he had cranked out four collections of original recordings by the time he was 21. His breakthrough EP and fifth project, In the Attic of the Universe, was released in the fall of 2006 as a pay-what-you-want download. It was an ambitiously recorded collection of dreamy songs that blend into one another and range from hauntingly sparse to driving and uplifting. Silberman tends to write and record songs as records, planning them out conceptually and then piecing together the music and lyrics. This gives each of his releases a thematic quality in mood and sound that keeps the listener engaged.
Hospice will be The Antlers' first full-length release. A year in the making, the project chronicles an intense period in Silberman's life (specifically, a scary relationship). He even started a blog to chronicle the project, which features a full band and will finally bridge the gap between the studio and the typically intense live show. With Hospice, Silberman expects that no one will ever wonder why The Antlers get billed with notably loud acts again.
When it comes to distributing his music, Silberman is a fan of the pay-what-you-want strategy. The tactic got In the Attic of the Universe into the hands of many more fans than it would have otherwise... and he almost broke even. The EP was picked up and re-released by Fall Records in 2007. While it can no longer be downloaded in its entirety for free, the many songs in the band's catalog can be. Their website contains links for Cold War, New York Hospitals, February Tape and Uprooted. Showcasing a variety of original songs and covers of bands such as the Magnetic Fields, the website provides the curious listener with an impressive discography just a mouse click away.
With the new band on board, Silberman would like to start touring with The Antlers in order to promote the new record. Being that the release describes someone "stuck in a very bad situation and not knowing how to get out of it," Silberman hopes that he can offer listeners an uplifting hand in getting out of their own sticky situations. This will have to happen when the listener experiences the studio recording; live, the specific message will probably be lost in the sonic intensity. The feeling won't be lost, however, and whichever way a listener-in-need initially experiences the Antlers, the ultimate result could very well be devotion.