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The Tripwire: On Quilt's Coherent Psych-Twang

Boston-based band Quilt had their coming out party this week, releasing their debut self-titled album (via Mexican Summer) and playing a celebratory show at Brooklyn's Glasslands. But you'd hardly know it by searching the internet. In an era where buzz bands can barely get takeout burgers without making a video diary, Quilt seem to have little more than a MySpace, a sparse BandCamp page and some sporadic profiles that call them hippies. This may just mean Quilt has chosen an ungoogleable name and shied away from the PR-hype machine, but the low profile feels at least in part a testament to the values and vibes of Shane Butler and his bandmates.

The hippie label suits them at first glance, but it also shortchanges the band. Quilt's jams are musically varied and nuanced, traveling from psych-rock to bluegrass to indie-pop to more hymn-like structures, often within the course of a single song. Tracks still manage to feel particularly developed, ambitious and often grandiose. In a song like "Cowboys In The Void," when Wilson lets out a stirring yell, it doesn't come off written or generated—it feels like he was quite possibly that worked up. And why not?

The band met in Boston at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. According to the band's bio, Wilson grew up in a, "spiritual community with a lot of musical chanting," while other original core member Anna Fox Rochinski has a more classical background, "in choirs that had a lot of crazy harmonies." A classical approach to music and an appreciation for the age-old practice of chant and melody with a slight lean toward the weird and experimental seem to provide a perfectly logical background for these songs. This mix, while unorthodox, seems just the thing that allows all the complex floating between styles they do to seem as happy and careless as we'd like it to be.

Posted: November 14, 2011
The Tripwire: On Quilt's Coherent Psych-Twang