of Montreal

with PILLAR POINT


Defining of Montreal is impossible. There are too many perspectives to consider, angles to explore, layers to uncover. Just when you think you have a concept of what kind of creature they are, they transform into something unexpected and new.
As a result, each album holds the opportunity for re-discovery, re-immersion, re-appreciation.
On Lousy with Sylvianbriar, this paradigm holds true once more. The record was created with a new songwriting approach, a different recording method, and a fresh group of musicians.
Seeking creative inspiration, Kevin Barnes re-located to San Francisco where he spent days soaking in the strange surroundings and channeling the city’s energy into his writing. After a very prolific period there, he returned to Athens, GA, and assembled the cast of musicians to begin the sessions.
Barnes eschewed computer recording — with its pitch correction, limitless effects plug-ins and editing possibilities — and instead, with the help of engineer Drew Vandenberg (Deerhunter, Toro y Moi), he recorded Lousy with Sylvianbriar in his home studio on a 24-track tape machine.
With no computer tricks to fall back on, the band — Kevin Barnes (guitars,bass,vocals), Rebecca Cash (vocals), Clayton Rychlik (drums,vocals), Jojo Glidewell (keys), Bob Parins (pedal steel,bass), and Bennet Lewis (guitars,mandolin) — could only get out of the recordings what they put into them. Most of the tracking was recorded live with the band in the same room together. They worked quickly, with the band members composing their parts on the fly and with little second guessing. The album was recorded in just three weeks.
“I knew I wanted the process to be more in line with the way people used to make albums in the late 60s and early 70s,” reveals Barnes. “I wanted to work fast and to maintain a high level of spontaneity and immediacy. I wanted the songs to be more lyric-driven, and for the instrumental arrangements to be understated and uncluttered.”
Opening track and lead single “Fugitive Air” feels like a Stones-y anthem, with sparks of Philip K. Dick’s psychedelic prose, Ralph Bakshi’s cartoon violence, and William S. Burroughs’ hyper-paranoia.
“Belle Glade Missionaries” finds Barnes lyrically at his most political, backed by a soundtrack that is pure Dylan circa Highway 61 Revisited.
Female vocalist Rebecca Cash makes several appearances on the album, taking the lead on the plaintive “Raindrop in My Skull,” where her and Barnes share a Gram Parsons/Emmylou Harris-inspired duet.
“She Ain’t Speakin’ Now” ranks among of Montreal’s all-time great songs, transforming its brooding acoustic guitar intro into a visceral angst-ridden rocker that sounds like the best moments of Neil Young & Crazy Horse.
The album’s closer, “Imbecile Rages,” a caustic and doleful epitaph for a crumbling relationship, is one of Barnes’ most raw and personal statements.
Like the classic albums that inspired it, this is an album to be explored, to be lived with, to be listened to in happiness and in darkness, to be dissolved into. To be played very loudly at parties and with eyes closed, in headphones, alone. It should become dog-eared and dirty with use and it should lessen the blow of our enemies, in all their forms.


It shouldn’t come as a surprise if something about Pillar Point’s nine-song self-titled album sounds
familiar. Despite being the band’s debut, the moody, melancholy electronica is the work of Scott
Reitherman, who until now has been primarily known for his involvement with indie-pop outfit Throw
Me the Statue. And while Reitherman’s new project shows off a never-before-seen gloom, his knack
for writing tracks that crystalize emotion and work their way into a listener’s guts isn’t at all obscured.
The album, produced by Reitherman’s longtime collaborator Charlie Smith, is a musical departure
for the Bay Area native. As Reitherman explains, “Part of what steered me toward the textures and
beats of dance music was the feeling of catharsis you can experience through dance.” It’s a noble
idea, considering the themes Reitherman’s songs are dealing with: heartbreak, loneliness, aging and
isolation in an increasingly connected world.
Tracks like “Eyeballs,” a haunting, powerful ode to the solitude brought about by social networks, offer
a sleek take on anguish that wouldn’t be out of place alongside early Depeche Mode; “Echoes” and
“Cherry” are ethereal, evocative explorations of what Reitherman calls “that apathetic, shell-shocked
feeling young people have when they’re trying to figure out what to do with their lives.” Considering
the beats Reitherman has created, those young people might plan to spend the rest of their lives
furiously dancing.
As the lyrical content reveals, Pillar Point is also a far more intimate project than anything Reitherman
has ever embarked on. It’s no coincidence that his own heartbreaks led to the songs that make up
Pillar Point. They’re bleaker than his previous work and exhibit a growth in both songwriting and
orchestration.
“Writing darker songs with dance elements helped me to process the confusion and change I was
experiencing in my own life because within the confines of a pop song I could control little moments
of clarity and redemption,” he says. “And for the listener it adds depth to what might otherwise be just
dance music.”
Born out of a two year recording process between Reitherman and Smith that stretched from Los
Angeles to the Bay Area and ultimately Seattle, where Reitherman has once again settled, Pillar Point
marks not only a fresh musical approach, but also a new mindset for writing songs. “One of the things
I wanted to do differently,” he says, “is to lay it all out on table this time, to make my songs more bare
and personal.”
The songs on Pillar Point are certainly those things, but they’re also exciting, intricate and impossible
to stop listening to. There’s a heartbroken quality to them, sure, but one that seems like it might be
cured if only we all close our eyes and move our feet until all is forgotten.



Credit+-+Nina+Barnes1


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