This should have been posted last night, but my daughter got sick and was coughing and running a fever of 103. Ahhh, the joys of parenthood. Anyhow, the Baltimore, MD based band Celebration released their second full-length for 4AD called The Modern Tribe last fall and it is a doozy of a record that I’m surprised hasn’t garnered more attention. The band consists of vocalist Katrina Ford, multi-instrumentalist Sean Antanaitis, and drummer David Bergander and knocks out an darkly progressive and densely minimal blast of primal noise that sounds something like a cross between Blondie and TV On The Radio. Droning synths and organs (and even occasional brass stabs) bubble up between pseudo-tribal drumming that hammers out fractured and almost staccato rhythms that are somehow still propulsive. Even just a quick blast through this one is enough to know that The Modern Tribe is titled perfectly.
Just imagine laying on the city sidewalk and looking up towards the heavens for the stars but only seeing an orange glow and feeling the rumble of the city at night. You have it then; a strange organic urbanism. The Modern Tribe has an almost mystic quality about it; almost as if the sounds on the album were conjured up by a shaman’s drum. The album’s primitive but soulful melodies are balanced by an atonal atmospheric din and often beautiful instrumentation. It all greatly contributes to the intensely and ferociously rhythmic attack of Celebration.
And while many bands (like the Pixies) employ a build-up-and-release strategy, Celebration just builds and builds while the listener waits for the crescendo that doesn’t happen. All build and no release can be a little frustrating, but listening to The Modern Tribe and letting the imagery enter your head can be drug-like and almost trance-inducing. The album also benefits from TV On The Radio member David Sitek’s gritty production even if (at times) it makes Celebration sound a lot like his own band. And with the buzz that always seems to accompany that band, I’m just not sure why we haven’t heard more about Celebration. The Modern Tribe is certainly buzzworthy.
MP3 | Celebration – Pressure The Modern Tribe
MP3 | Celebration – Fly The Fly The Modern Tribe