Sargent House Records makes a point to sign artists with unique sounds, and Maps & Atlases fits right into their roster. The band’s quirky and bouncy melodies and rhythms set them apart from any other act I’ve ever heard, and their musicianship is just as unique and impressive as their songwriting. The Chicago-based band showcased these talents Thursday night with a killer show at The Echo alongside Young Man and Mylets.
LA’s own Mylets consists of Henry Kohen on vocals, Henry Kohen on guitar, and Henry Kohen on the sampling pad. The usual one-man-band thing can get tiresome, but Kohen nails it. His style of jittery, grungy, angsty rock is the kind of sound that he probably wouldn’t want any other musicians to ruin. Using delay pedals to loop guitar parts and sampled drums, he effortlessly creates a complete band right in front of your eyes. When I complimented him on his scream after his set, he replied “Yeah…it hurts,” the perfect self-depricating response from a lone musician whose talent probably makes him as uncomfortable as it does proud.
On tour with Maps & Atlases for the length of the run, Young Man is clearly enjoying their time in front of new audiences. Their sound evokes a range of emotions, from a dark and unsettling depression to an excited and uplifting feeling of flight. Pulling inspiration from bands like Circa Survive, The Mars Volta, and probably some of the poppy overtones of Jimmy Eat World, Young Man creates an energy on stage that is undeniable and magnetic. With attention from MTV and this tour, Young Man has a promising future.
All my friends are probably tired of me pushing Maps & Atlases on them, but until they listen to me, I will continue to do so. Since their early days of spastic tap leads, surprising rhythms, and odd vocals, the band has evolved into a more mature group with intriguing melodies, stellar songwriting, and still odd vocals.
Maps & Atlases’ singer looks like a wizard from Lord Of The Rings put on jeans and a t-shirt and focused his magic powers on guitar prowess. His long red hair and beard should get in the way of his intricate guitar playing, but he makes it look effortless.
The band opened with one of the more upbeat tracks from their latest album, Beware And Be Grateful, which quickly stirred the crowd up. They followed it up with a few older songs that also got a strong crowd reaction. That the members of Maps & Atlases have been playing together for nearly 10 years is obvious when listening to how tight they are as a band.
The members’ sheer musicianship is incredible. I was so impressed at how their drummer not only went around the stage tuning his drums and the drums that the rest of the band played, but also fixed a problematic keyboard issue just before they started their set. These are musicians that know more than the standard rock band. They understand their own instruments as well as each other’s, and they possess a comprehensive understanding of rock, jazz, orchestral, and pop music, which are just a few of the reasons Maps & Atlases deserves much attention and success.
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