Band of the Day

2012.06.03

Quilt

Blankets of psychedelic folk music stitched together by three-part harmonies
Oh the golden years, when damp bells ring true. Children of the light sleep in darkness, too.
lyrics from Children Of Light

Quilt's history starts at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts, where founding members Shane Butler and Anna Rochinski were both students. After bonding over a shared love of music and art, the two singers/guitarists/banjo players decided to start a band. As Quilt, they make a modern take on 60s psychedelic folk music, built on three-part harmonies. Rochinski has a background in classical choir singing, while Butler grew up in a spiritual community that encouraged music chanting. In 2009, Taylor McVay joined as a drummer/vocalist, and the band released a self-titled cassette. The following year, they released a 7” called Agents Of Play. After signing a deal with Mexican Summer, Quilt released their self-titled, full-length LP in 2011. It was produced and engineered by Apollo Sunshine's Jesse Gallagher. McVay has since left the band, replaced by John Andrews, and Quilt is currently touring around North America.

Compared to a run-of-the-mill blanket, a quilt is like a work of art in itself. There's even a museum in San Jose, California that's dedicated solely to quilt-making. And it's no wonder, when you look at the way the three layers of fiber are lovingly stitched together, and how patterns change dramatically depending on where in the world the quilt was made. Inspired by the artful textile is Quilt, a band from Boston, Massachusetts. Only in their world, they stitch together intricate three-part harmonies into blankets of psychedelic folk music.

Quilt's two founding members, Shane Butler (guitar, vocals, banjo) and Anna Fox Rochinski (guitar, vocals, organ) first met while studying visual arts at Boston's School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Their shared love of music and art, especially the psychedelic sounds from the '60s, was the catalyst for starting Quilt. They've since added a third member, vocalist/drummer John Andrews, and released their self-titled debut album in 2011. As you might expect from a band whose members have all spent time in spiritual spaces like Ashrams and Pagodas, Quilt makes experimental jams that are meant to induce a meditative state of mind.

If you want to avoid the potential dangers of mind-altering drugs, but still want that feeling of tripping out, take a listen to opening track “Young Gold”—or better yet, watch the music video. It's undeniably influenced by the 60s, with an old home movie treatment and the three band members running through a forest while carrying an iridescent, billowing sheet of gold fabric. Their male/female vocal harmonies are reminiscent of some of the more experimental Mamas & the Papas songs, especially when each band member is taking on a completely different part. It's hard to resist closing your eyes and swaying to the swirly, soothing rhythm.

“Lost & Lewd” sounds like what might happen if a trio of hippies wandered into a back country cabin (perhaps on a mushroom-fueled spirit quest), and started jamming with the country folk. You can hear a hint of horse whinnying right at the top, followed by some excellent banjo-plucking, celebratory hoots and hollers, and Quilt's gorgeous vocal harmonies.

With their vivid, wandering harmonies, Quilt proves that they're free spirits, not adhering to the typical pop music constraints. Turn on, tune in, and drop out.