Brisbane’s power pop quartet, Grand Atlantic will bring the psychedelic sounds from their upcoming album, Constellations, which was recorded in Seacliff Lunatic Asylum in New Zealand, to this year’s CMJ Music Marathon and Film Festival, to be held October 18-22, 2011. While they only have have one show scheduled so far, they’re hoping to make the most of their nearly 10,000 mile trip by fitting in some day parties and shows.
Grand Atlantic will join the already impressive CMJ line-up (with many more bands to be announced) which includes: Portugal. The Man, CSS, Neon Indian, Wombats, Wild Flag, Metronomy, Talib Kweli, Givers, Zola Jesus, Class Actress, Dum Dum Girls, Art Vs. Science, Viva Brother, Davila 666, Eleanor Friedberger, EMA, Jean Grae, Pharoahe Monch, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, US Royalty, Datarock, Kermit Ruffins, Parlotones, Kvelertak, Sea of Bees, Handsome Furs, Memoryhouse, Kevin Devine, and Braids.
Much like the Grand Atlantic Hotel, which the band is named after, Australia’s Grand Atlantic possesses a mysterious and ghostly quality. As frontman Phil Usher, explains, “Primarily we picked the name because we felt it represented the sound we wanted to make and liked the sound of it, but the fact that it is tied to history does resound with us personally as well. We are also inspired by the way music was made in the past as well as the techniques and sounds that were used. I guess we’d like to think that we are making music that will stand up in the future.”
Following this historical and ghostly trend, in early 2011 the band bunkered down in Seacliff Lunatic Asylum, an abandoned psychiatric hospital near Dunedin, New Zealand, to record Constellations, due out November 1st. As Usher describes, “We had a few strange experiences while we were there – hearing voices during takes, strange sounds, and we also saw a microphone stand move like someone knocked it.”
The new album moves away from their previous power-pop into something less direct, a fuzzy, dreamy, slightly psychedelic world of sound, its beating heart urgent and undeniable. The band is content to let the music build and peak, unhurriedly but with total control. Intimate and yet anthemic, these songs bend and fold, stretch out and explode, mutating swirling guitar rock into sonic landscapes that recall the contours of the equally beautiful and punishing New Zealand countryside where their album was recorded.
In March 2010, Grand Atlantic barnstormed across the US and Canada after invitations to showcase at SXSW and Canadian Music Week, following extensive touring of the album in Australia and a growing call from the US powerpop scene. The release of How We Survive in the US prompted radio play on over 50 radio stations, a glut of media attention and placed them on a bunch of SXSW ‘bands to watch’ short lists.They returned in March this year to play 16 US dates that further cemented their reputation as a great live act and one to watch… Constellations proves beyond any doubt that Grand Atlantic are a band at the height of their powers.
CMJ Music Marathon & Film Festival is one of the world’s most important platforms for the discovery of new music and cutting-edge films. For more than five non-stop days and nights, CMJ will feature over 1300 live performances in more than 80 of New York City’s greatest nightclubs and theatres.
In addition to the numerous performances and films, CMJ 2011 will also present over 70 informative panels with renowned speakers, an Entertainment Business Law Seminar and the much beloved College Day for community radio personnel. Attendees have access to shows, movie premieres, Q&As, meet and greets, mixers, parties and exclusive areas like the Exhibitors’ Loft and Artist Lounge. CMJ 2011 will once again be headquartered at New York University’s Greenwich Village campus, just steps away from dozens of downtown Manhattan venues.