Union Transfer




Paper Route

Fri, March 25, 2016

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 8:30 pm

Union Transfer

Philadelphia, PA

$25.00 - $27.00

Sold Out

This event is all ages

If art aims to capture those childlike epiphanies we all had after discovering something new about the world, then the best and most- enduring music comes from somewhere near that place. When a song captures in just three-and-a half minutes, that feeling of awe at everything, then the music—the art—has done its job. It is this “vital” place MUTEMATH needed find again. And they needed to find it on their own. The greatest gift to MUTEMATH might just be that this time out, there is no label, there was no management, no producer. There was no "executive opinion" before the music was fully formed.

“You want to always rediscover the reason you started doing this in the first place,” says MUTEMATH’s singer and primary songwriter Paul Meany. “This album is the one we’ve been dying to make all along. We found the album that is right for this band and for this band now.”

"We knew we had to self-produce this one," says Darren King, the band's drummer. "This was an album for us that couldn't happen properly unless we were willing to roll up our sleeves and dive into all of the creation and sculpting that comes with bringing an album from its inception to the very end. It was really important for us to give ourselves a chance to find the sounds and songs that represent where we are right now."

“Now” is a word that comes up again and again when speaking with the four members of MUTEMATH. Now, if you ask any one of them, is precisely where they’ve been reaching for all along.

"I feel it's a rebirth, for sure", says Roy Mitchell-Cárdenas, the band’s guitarist, and most-often bassist. “I'm extremely excited and proud of how Vitals came out. It's some of our best songwriting. We're really shooting for a higher level with this record.”

But with MUTEMATH, this genuine all-or-nothing approach is so abundant everywhere on this, the band’s fourth full-length, that even a newcomer to the band will sense the urgency and the high stakes. You don’t even have to take their word for it. You can hear it in every single note of the songs they’ve made.

Nothing has been particularly easy on the band these past four years since 2011’s Odd Soul. They parted ways with their label, they changed management, and replaced a band member. Add to that the marriages, births, deaths, and an eventual panic attack that had Meany hiding in the bathroom of his own home as his wife and newborn daughter slept. Thankfully, that night led to a song instead of a hospital visit.

Meany sings above thick, oceanic synth swells of “Composed” sounding every bit like the undulating undertow he fought off that evening to swim and find the far shore: “I have said to myself in a mirror’s company/Who’s that panicked stranger on his knees?” He arrives at gratitude and awareness for the thing’s he has and pledges, finally, to keep moving forward: “You keep my head composed/You keep my head afloat.”

Whether he is addressing his wife and daughter, or the music that has provided him his life’s purpose for so many years (or all three) the evidence of triumph is all over Vitals, an album of stadium-sized hooks designed to reach rafters, yet delivered from deep within the smallest caverns of this band’s very soul.

“I feel completely drained and completely relieved,” Meany says, with Vitals completed and on its way out into the world. “It’s an extremely rewarding experience. We don’t take this lightly and I don’t think we’re very flippant with what it means for the people that want to hear this music. We try to deliver our best. We put our all into it. And even though this record takes a chance for us, it stays true to where and why we started”.

Everyone in the band agrees that Vitals became an album the day they wrote “Monument.” It’s a song that rejoices in the present, refusing to wait for something to be gone in order to celebrate it. It is the center that holds this ambitious collection together.

“A monument usually signifies a memorialization for what is no more,” Meany explains. “This song is about taking control of the moments we still have, while we still have them together. The threat of an ending is nothing to be afraid of, but something that can be turned into beauty and serve as a vibrant means to keep moving forward.”

MUTEMATH’s Vitals is the sound of a band reborn, rediscovering just why they must make music by making it for themselves, above and beyond the interference of anyone (or anything) else. A collection of songs that would not exist if it were not for the four members of the band demanding only the best of themselves so that what they deliver to the world isn’t just more noise, but something that does nothing less than find a certain harmony in the world and in themselves.

The only thing left is for you to hear it, knowing that you provide the final piece that completes this long labor of struggle and eventual triumph. All art is a gift. Vitals by MUTEMATH is for you, me, everyone. This time out, the band is unafraid, refusing to hide behind unnecessary subtleties and striving for that universal chord that resides in us all. Sometimes it takes a decade. Sometimes it never happens. For MUTEMATH, it happens now.
Paper Route
Paper Route
Here's the situation. In Nashville, there's an old, decrepit plantation house where three bedraggled but refined, white gentlemen drop beats, craft wordplay, design artwork, and arrange orchestral maneuvers in the dark. The structure is called Joy Mansion, and the men who dwell there staring each other down and exercising their creative rivalry for all it's worth collaborate under the moniker of Paper Route. Having toured relentlessly with the likes of Passion Pit and mewithoutyou, won hearts and minds with their debut album Absence (2009), paid musical tribute to Lou Reed to the man's imperturbable face at South by Southwest, and insinuated themselves into pop culture consciousness when their song, "The Music," appeared in the film (500) Days of Summer, Paper Route have now seen fit to go for broke on the possibility that epic earnestness, lyrical depth, and poetic heft can all coincide within one ridiculously catchy song collection primarily preoccupied with—wait for it–tragedy, disappointment, and loss. Behold The Peace of Wild Things.

"Everyone can relate to hurt," observes J.T. Daly, Paper Route's chief lyricist, singer, and artwork conjurer. For Daly and bandmate Chad Howat, The Peace of Wild Things banks on the hope that popular art can be made to arise out of horrible situations. Whereas the timing of the album's production schedule coincided with a dire cancer diagnosis within Howat's immediate family, the lyrics Daly brought to the table largely document the dissolution of his marriage. As Daly sees it, the risk of raw candor and vulnerability is the whole point, "If I'm not terrified by what I'm doing, I'd prefer to move back to Ohio and work on my art. I'm drawn to the fact that it makes me feel uncomfortable."

With songs like "Letting You Let Go" and "Glass Heart Hymn" he's determined to show his hand at every turn. Irony and cool detachment be damned.

The same goes for in-house, music-making competition and the angst Daly felt as he stood on the staircase listening to everything Howat was working on. "I'm going to have to come up with something better than that," he'd note with dread as he leaned into their collective commitment to try to out-interesting each other. In this sense, Daly and Howat are joined together in a pact of escalating catchiness, a refusal to "throw in the towel on this whole idea of instant melody." Daly explains, "I have so much respect for artists who continue to infiltrate pop culture" with "ideas executed so brilliantly that they've kind of Trojan-horsed malls across America." The trajectory he has in mind is evident with The Peace of Wild Things' lead single, "Better Life," which is carefully calibrated to colonize the public imagination in under five minutes.

Given such standards, it's no surprise that names like Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel are spoken with awe and reverence around Joy Mansion. Howat notes the way Peter Gabriel's So is comprised of one undeniably infectious track after another even as it's clearly a creative labor in which he's "trying to please himself" at every turn in "a perfect juxtaposition of pop culture and artistic endeavor." With mixing and recording responsibilities falling in Howat's lap ("The computer is my first instrument"), the work of sorting through two to three albums' worth of material and narrowing it all down to something worthy eventually became a question of serving the band's obsession with block-rocking beats: "Everyone in the band loves beats, and the beats we gravitate toward are hip-hop-esque beats." For Howat, the love affair began at 14 when a Yamaha V-50 was vouchsafed upon him ("My dad bought it for me as an 8th grade graduation present.") an artifact Paper Route won't get caught touring without. Incidentally, it's the move from studio to live performance that wouldn't be possible without the energies of drummer Gavin McDonald (Howat: "We wouldn't be a band without Gavin.") who landed with Paper Route through his work with fellow Joy Mansion occupant Canon Blue (AKA Daniel James).

While The Peace of Wild Things lyrically chronicles specific experiences of soul- crushing disillusionment and a fractured sense of faith and wonder down to the minute particulars, its creators presume—very much in the traditions of Romantic poetry and 80's New Wave (Tears for Fears, A-ha)–that creatively fixating on the local, the achingly personal even, is probably the surest path to the universal. And it is here that the concluding track, "Calm My Soul," offers a determined hopefulness well-earned by the preceding sad songs which have said so much. In this way, Paper Route shoots for a continuum with Daly's go-to writers, Wendell Berry and Douglas Coupland, whose presence as an influence is as a-typical and unexpected as the band's guiding presumption that pop songs, making them and hearing them, might occasionally render pained life more livable.
Venue Information:
Union Transfer
1026 Spring Garden St.
Philadelphia, PA, 19123