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Charts and Maps

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New Charts and Maps album ‘Dead Horse’ released April 2011. Download available at bandcamp.


Charts and Maps have always been a difficult band to figure out. I was at both their first and last shows - I saw them develop from a loud, jumbled mess of good ideas wrenched together at angles to one of the most aggressively forward thinking and electrifying live bands on the Los Angeles underground circuit. Dead Horse, much more than any previous recording, captures the sheer bombast of their live performances. It was recorded at the band’s pinnacle, on the eve of their final performance at the tail end of 2009. Clashing personalities and gargantuan creative workloads pulled them in different directions. This is where the Heard of Elephants family tree comes in — It gets a bit complicated. Khawaja (Bass), Melancon (drums), and Allison (sax/vocals) currently play in Woolen. Melancon, Allison and Watford (guitar) are part of Random Patterns, and John Taylor is one half of Semiconscious Gloria.

Their music is the convergence of a number of diverse tendencies. They’re one part ballsy big band jazz, another shimmery post-rock act with walls of melodic sound, a mathy-but-not-calculator-mathy garage-prog outfit, or an ill-tempered funk band with bad intentions — all underpinned by an almost reckless sense of imagination, deep, grooving beats and eloquent, nimble lead melodies.

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