Pillars and Tongues

NEWS


BIO

‘End-dances’ is the new album by Pillars and Tongues on Empty Cellar Records. Although from Chicago, Beth Remis, Ben Babbitt, and Mark Trecka have spent much of the last few years traveling, performing music in a wide variety of contexts, exploring the severe and sublime landscapes of America, and returning to or refusing to return to variations on the theme of home. Recorded by Theo Karon, End-dances’ leaps forward in the direction implied by the last full-length, The Pass and Crossings’, and the recent cassette, If Travel is Asked of Me.

Long-form compositions are coerced into considered and patiently constructed songs, resulting in their most pop-oriented work to date. But in that, the work allies with the darker, stranger side of the pop realm, evoking the drama and atmosphere of Dead Can Dance, and the art-prog experimentation of Peter Gabriel’s ‘4’.

The characteristic harmonium and violin blend with enveloping synths, undulating loops and gated rhythms of hazy origin. Karon’s adventurous engineering is apparent throughout the record; the band’s attention to the expressive potential of the sounds themselves is supported by mesmeric tape loops, saturated vocal echoes, and vibrant tones coaxed from radically transformed sources. Points of intersection between the acoustic and the electronic are embraced, calling the assumed organic nature of a drum and the artifice of a synthesizer into question.

Loping, hypnotic rhythms give way to cinematic ambient passages, receding to reveal, again and again, the voices, with Trecka’s bold baritone in the lead. Remis’ voice — central and refined  — conjures, floats, and skitters, at varying points harmonizing with and countering Trecka’s lead, as both chant against Babbitt’s croon. The lyrics are poetic, exploring themes of ambivalence, health and the acts of writing and singing.

‘Knifelike’ reads like a less optimistic version of Kate Bush’s ‘Love and Anger’, flirting with tender descriptions of metaphorical violence: “My lines, knifelike impressions of your life / give teeth to timelines / cut knuckles testify”. ‘Bell + Rein’ is an acknowledged homage to Leonard Cohen’s ‘Take This Longing’, reiterating an infamous desire to not desire. ‘Medora’ and ‘Travel’ are both hallucinatory descriptions of travel as an act of self-actualization. “I ride through / to follow / where I go”.

‘Ends’ evokes the elegiac melancholy of William Basinski, pitting a single thin and unadorned violin against a torrent of tape-garbled pianos. Pitchfork conceded in 2010 that “it’s difficult to talk about influences or genres with Pillars and Tongues, and almost as hard to talk about their sound.” And The Chicago Tribune has said that the group “defies easy categorization, unless you’re looking in that bin marked ‘essential.”  While affinities may be noted with contemporaries like Julia Holter, Liars and others working creatively with tone, texture, and ambience, in the context of voice-driven songwriting, Pillars and Tongues cuts a singular path through the contemporary musical landscape.

LINE-UP
Mark Trecka : harmonium, synthesizer, baritone voice
Ben Babbitt : percussion, drums, bass, backing vocals
Beth Remitted : violin, backing vocals


LINKS


PRESS


CONTACT

Booking: samuel.muraillesmusic@gmail.com

Promo: promo.muraillesmusic[at]gmail.com

DISCOGRAPHIE

  • END-DANCES

    Empty Cellar Records / Murailles Music 2014
    LP / CD / digital
    Buy
  • (Laid) Palms to Tell

    Empty Cellar2012
    ep
  • If Travel is Asked of Me

    Empty Cellar2012
    lp
  • The pass and Crossings

    Empty Cellar2011
    lp
  • Oaky ( doting, in late summer )

    Empty Cellar2011
    ep
  • Lay of Pilgrim Parl

    Empty Cellar2010
    ep
  • OF THE MIRACLE

    2009
    ep
  • PROTECTION

    2008
    ep

Past shows

Click on "date", "city" or "venue" to change the list display
  • DateCountryCityVenuewith 
  • 17/12/2014FranceNantesLe Ferrailleur Selman Bellinsky, Draacheinfos event
  • 13/12/2014FranceLorientLe GalionMY NAME IS NOBODYinfos
  • 11/12/2014FranceLe MansLe BaroufMY NAME IS NOBODYinfos event
  • 10/12/2014FranceToursLe Temps MachineJay Mascis, My Name is Nobodyinfos event
  • 09/12/2014FranceBeauregardLe PresbytèreMY NAME IS NOBODY
  • 06/12/2014FranceCastelfrancDerrière l'UsineMY NAME IS NOBODYinfos event
  • 05/12/2014FranceRennesOan's PubMY NAME IS NOBODYinfos
  • 04/12/2014FranceParisOlympic CaféMy Name Is Nobodyinfos event
  • 03/12/2014FranceRouenEmporium GaloriumMY NAME IS NOBODY event
  • 29/11/2014FranceNantesCafé du Cinéma event
  • 05/04/2014FranceStrasbourgGalerie No Smokinginfos event
  • 04/04/2014FrancePraha-Břevnov (Cz)Klub 007 - Strahovinfos event
  • 03/04/2014République TchèqueBrno (Cz)Boroinfos
  • 02/04/2014FranceNovi Sad (Sr)CK13infos event
  • 01/04/2014CroatieZabok (Hr)MMC Zabok, Green Room SessionsTimber Rattle event
  • 31/03/2014FranceZagreb (Hr)Klub Močvarainfos event
  • 30/03/2014FranceMestre (It)Spazio Aereoinfos
  • 29/03/2014ItalieTerni (It)Palmettainfos event
  • 27/03/2014FranceReggio Emilia (it)Dinamo event
  • 26/03/2014ItalieForlì-Cesena (It)Diagonal Loft Clubinfos event
  • 25/03/2014FranceMantova (it)Arci Virgilioinfos event
  • 24/03/2014FranceGrenobleHouse Show
  • 22/03/2014FranceNiortFestival Nouvelles Scènes, Le Vintageinfos event
  • 21/03/2014FranceNantesLe Lieu Unique, Festival 'Assis! Debout! Couché!'Sun Kill Moon, Melanie de Biasio, Mendelson, Sonic Boom DJinfos event
  • 20/03/2014FranceAngletEcuries de Barojainfos event
  • 19/03/2014FranceToulouse Pavillons SauvagesSeilman Bellinsky event
  • 18/03/2014FranceFauguerolles (47)House showinfos
  • 17/03/2014FranceBeauregardLe Presbytère event
  • 15/03/2014FranceNaucellesFestival Hibernarock, Salle PolyvalenteAberdeenersinfos event
  • 14/03/2014FranceSegré (49)Les Boissons Rouges event
  • 13/03/2014FranceLe MansLe Baroufinfos event
  • 12/03/2014FranceParisPoint ÉphémèreMatt Elliott (solo)infos event
  • 11/03/2014FranceLilleL'Antre 2Sijosaïinfos event
  • 10/03/2014BelgiqueGent (Be)Café Videoinfos event
  • 09/03/2014FranceTincquesHouse Show, L'Auréole Béthencourtinfos event

NEWS

BIO

‘End-dances’ is the new album by Pillars and Tongues on Empty Cellar Records. Although from Chicago, Beth Remis, Ben Babbitt, and Mark Trecka have spent much of the last few years traveling, performing music in a wide variety of contexts, exploring the severe and sublime landscapes of America, and returning to or refusing to return to variations on the theme of home. Recorded by Theo Karon, End-dances’ leaps forward in the direction implied by the last full-length, The Pass and Crossings’, and the recent cassette, If Travel is Asked of Me.

Long-form compositions are coerced into considered and patiently constructed songs, resulting in their most pop-oriented work to date. But in that, the work allies with the darker, stranger side of the pop realm, evoking the drama and atmosphere of Dead Can Dance, and the art-prog experimentation of Peter Gabriel’s ‘4’.

The characteristic harmonium and violin blend with enveloping synths, undulating loops and gated rhythms of hazy origin. Karon’s adventurous engineering is apparent throughout the record; the band’s attention to the expressive potential of the sounds themselves is supported by mesmeric tape loops, saturated vocal echoes, and vibrant tones coaxed from radically transformed sources. Points of intersection between the acoustic and the electronic are embraced, calling the assumed organic nature of a drum and the artifice of a synthesizer into question.

Loping, hypnotic rhythms give way to cinematic ambient passages, receding to reveal, again and again, the voices, with Trecka’s bold baritone in the lead. Remis’ voice — central and refined  — conjures, floats, and skitters, at varying points harmonizing with and countering Trecka’s lead, as both chant against Babbitt’s croon. The lyrics are poetic, exploring themes of ambivalence, health and the acts of writing and singing.

‘Knifelike’ reads like a less optimistic version of Kate Bush’s ‘Love and Anger’, flirting with tender descriptions of metaphorical violence: “My lines, knifelike impressions of your life / give teeth to timelines / cut knuckles testify”. ‘Bell + Rein’ is an acknowledged homage to Leonard Cohen’s ‘Take This Longing’, reiterating an infamous desire to not desire. ‘Medora’ and ‘Travel’ are both hallucinatory descriptions of travel as an act of self-actualization. “I ride through / to follow / where I go”.

‘Ends’ evokes the elegiac melancholy of William Basinski, pitting a single thin and unadorned violin against a torrent of tape-garbled pianos. Pitchfork conceded in 2010 that “it’s difficult to talk about influences or genres with Pillars and Tongues, and almost as hard to talk about their sound.” And The Chicago Tribune has said that the group “defies easy categorization, unless you’re looking in that bin marked ‘essential.”  While affinities may be noted with contemporaries like Julia Holter, Liars and others working creatively with tone, texture, and ambience, in the context of voice-driven songwriting, Pillars and Tongues cuts a singular path through the contemporary musical landscape.

LINE-UP
Mark Trecka : harmonium, synthesizer, baritone voice
Ben Babbitt : percussion, drums, bass, backing vocals
Beth Remitted : violin, backing vocals

LINKS

PRESS

DISCOGRAPHIE

  • END-DANCES

    Empty Cellar Records / Murailles Music 2014
    LP / CD / digital
    Buy
  • (Laid) Palms to Tell

    Empty Cellar2012
    ep
  • If Travel is Asked of Me

    Empty Cellar2012
    lp
  • The pass and Crossings

    Empty Cellar2011
    lp
  • Oaky ( doting, in late summer )

    Empty Cellar2011
    ep
  • Lay of Pilgrim Parl

    Empty Cellar2010
    ep
  • OF THE MIRACLE

    2009
    ep
  • PROTECTION

    2008
    ep

CONTACT

Booking: samuel.muraillesmusic@gmail.com

Promo: promo.muraillesmusic[at]gmail.com