Two albums to listen to: a couple of indie rock gems

Chris Duncan

Hospice – The Antlers

Although vocalist and guitarist Peter Silberman started the group as a solo project, The Antlers quickly grew into an animal he couldn’t handle alone. After another Silberman-only album, and a bit of help from some friends, he decided to expand the group to a trio, conceptualizing the idea for Hospice and recording it throughout an entire year.

Hospice marks a significant transformation from early Antlers records, expanding the group’s repertoire while displaying their maturity and dedication. The album tells the story of a relationship between a hospice worker and a bone cancer patient, and the successes and failures of their inevitably short-lived romance.

The album is emotionally draining and beautifully crafted with the inclusion of accordion, harmonica and even a harp to create each song’s lush sounds. Narrative is key to this album’s resounding success. Although the instrumentation often stands out, it’s the album’s prose and poetry that bring it to a whole new level for the group.

Tracks to listen to: “Kettering,” “Two,” “Epilogue”

Emergency & I – The Dismemberment Plan

After their formation in 1993 and five years of touring, The Dismemberment Plan signed a multi-record deal with Interscope Records. However, after just two years, Interscope merged with Geffen Records and A&M, forcing them to cut artists from their lineup — including The Dismemberment Plan.

Fortunately, they had spent the past year and a half using the label’s money to record their masterpiece Emergency & I. Released on their original label DeSoto Records, the album’s rhythmic post-punk angst conveys the growing experiences of those in their 20s. Some songs come across as warnings, telling tales of technology oddly reminiscent of social media and the dangers of the information age.

Tracks to listen to: “A Life of Possibilities,” “Memory Machine,” “The City”