Peter Silberman is an ambient indie rocker from Brooklyn. You probably know him as the front man of The Antlers. The Antlers was a full band, but the first two records (2006’s Uprooted and 2007’s In The Attic of the Universe) were just solo projects for Silberman. The 2009 album Hospice received universal critical acclaim, but it came out during a point in my life when I wasn’t listening to or buying very many new releases. I heard about Hospice during a snowstorm in January of 2010, and I immediately fell in love with it. If I had made a year-end list in 2009, it would have been very near the top spot.
I’ve liked everything else by The Antlers, but Hospice remains my clear favourite of theirs.
As I was researching the upcoming new releases this winter, I was surprised to see that Silberman had a solo record coming out. I had high expectations, and the two songs that I’ve heard from the six-song album have exceeded my expectations.
There’s no denying that Silberman sounds a bit like Jeff Buckley, and he certainly does here:
“New York” by Peter Silberman
The softly played guitar bit plays gently off Silberman’s falsetto, and the “horns” and other stuff join in nicely. It’s all very quiet, and that’s on purpose. He says that the whole album is about the ever-changing face of the city he calls home. More importantly, though, it’s about the changes he’s going through. He had to stop playing music for a while after he suffered significant hearing impairment in his left ear and chronic tinnitus. He says that even the sound of his own voice reverberating in his head was painful. After some time, though, he was able to slowly work his way back to working. In an interview with NPR last year he said:
What I found was that if I sang very quietly and if I played guitar very quietly that this would be a path for me.
This is indeed a bit quieter than the stuff we’re used to hearing from The Antlers. So quiet, in fact, that you can practically hear the room tone. I don’t know if he’s still using the “bedroom recording” technique, but it sort of sounds that way. And we like it.
It’s a stunning song on what promises to be a fantastic album.
There’s a video for the song, which features a bunch of “found” archival footage of people in New York.
Impermanence will be released on February 24 via ANTI- Records. You can pre-order it on vinyl here. Alternately, you can pre-order a digital copy of the album via Bandcamp here. If you pre-order the digital download, you’ll immediately get the first two songs “Karuna” and “New York”.