Tomorrow night the outstanding indie math rockers Maps and Atlases bring their hiatus ending tour through New Orleans for a night at the House of Blues. I caught up with singer and guitarist Dave Davison as the group was heading out in the van on the first leg of their tour. We talked a bit about the anticipation inherent in striking out on tour, the evolving nature of their songs live and their new record Lightlessness Is Nothing New

“The first incarnation of them…in the live setting is going to be different than the recording, but it's so interesting, even with our previous record, my reference point of what the songs sound like is the live version of it. Any time I hear any bit of the recording, I'm like, oh yeah I forgot this is how it originally started. I'm excited to see how this album evolves in that way. It's very cool to be at the beginning of the tour like this and to just know that some things are going to evolve so much creatively in such a short period of time. A lot to be excited about with that.” 

The intricacy of the music lends itself to this perpetual re-orchestration and Davison sees the time that the band has spent off the road as instrumental to his renewed perspective. 

“When you have a lot of time off, you realize what a unique experience it is to be able to travel and play music together and all this stuff. I think that coming back to this tour is something where stepping away a little bit has given me more of a perspective on appreciating it.”

One of the things that I find to be powerful about Maps and Atlases’ music is that the stories of the songs are somewhat universal in terms of human experience but are modulated by the complexity of the music itself as though the complexity of experience is in the details and perspective of the presentation. Between the last record and this new release Davison has been confronting the loss of his father, which became an apparent theme on the latest record. I asked him to talk a bit about how he uses his personal experiences as part of writing process and how these characters evolve. 

“I think it gradually evolved and I've become more comfortable with the idea of making narrative songs and hopefully still taking a novel approach towards portraying these experiences and ideas. …I definitely do mediate it in the sense that I want to talk about things that are real to me, not because I need people to understand what I am experiencing but hopefully to make something that [is not] about my loss or my feelings…It’s more like, ‘oh this is something genuine that I have experienced and am trying to turn it into something that can be shared,’ hopefully [it becomes] something that is meaningful that maybe means something else to somebody besides me.”  He continued, “There are many types of loss and lots of different feelings people have…anxious feelings or sad feelings or whatever. Nobody's going to feel exactly the same way and nobody's going to have the exact same experience but if you can talk about those things in a way that's genuine but allows it to be something people can tune into, and hopefully be meaningful.”

I can’t think of a more succinct definition of exactly the good that music can work in the world.  This will be a truly outstanding show.  Check out the video for “4/25” below.


Next week I’ll have more on Bonnaroo and Belle and Sebastian


To Do This Week

Tonight you can catch Shawn Williams and Ron Hotstream at Tips.  Tomorrow Maps and Atlases are at the House of Blues and Good Enough For Good Times is the Free Friday show at Tips.  You can also catch Bent Knee at Gasa.  On Saturday Bonerama is at Tips with Darla and the Hip Drops.  On Sunday you can catch the Hot 8 Brass Band at The Howlin’ Wolf.  Monday Anthrax and Testament hit the House of Blues.  Tuesday Katie Von Schleicher hits Gasa.  Wednesday the Eagles are at the Smoothie King Center.


To Listen This Week