Late Night Jamz is an ongoing feature dedicated to newly discovered tracks that are sure to get stuck in your head. Uncovered in the wee hours of the evening just before bed after a long day of work or play, these are the gems that make the adventures in finding music so enjoyable. Tonight’s track is Arms and Sleepers’ “The Architekt.”
I didn’t know what to think of Max when I first met him. We were introduced through a mutual friend at work. I spent my senior year of work study at Brandeis isolated at the Media Desk deep in the barracks of Farber 3: Max and a handful of others worked in the stylish Getz Multimedia Lab, enclosed by a glass wall directly facing my work domain.
Max would often be one of the few who I would encounter during long stretches of time behind the monolithic media desk. He’d pop in from across the hall and ask to borrow some camera equipment or a pair of headphones, and we’d chat about music. Well, chat might not be the right word. I’m not sure argue is either. Max always said my taste in music was “too rock.” I’d usually respond with a mouthful of curse words, if that. But, no matter how aggravated I’d be during our discussions, I knew that the fact that Max was even willing to reach out to me and discuss TV On The Radio or the Kinsella brothers, there had to be some feelings of friendship or amicability or kinship or whatever you want to call it behind the callus rebuffs of my taste in music.
Somewhere along the line Max heard that I booked shows at Chums, the tiny coffeehouse famously known as the basis for Central Perk, the place everyone’s favorite Friends gathered at on NBC Thursdays back in the day.
“You should bring my band,” Max said to me one day.
Uh, huh, I must’ve thought. His band. The guy that apparently disliked everything that had to do with pop music structure.
But, beyond Max’s inclinations and my hesitations, it really wasn’t up to me: the structure of the organization I co-ran and co-founded made the band selections totally up to the whims of club members. I rarely had any input. (But that is a story for another time.)
So, Max’s mysterious band and my organization were never to be, at least in my tenure. As the months passed by, I became entrenched in my senior thesis, in booking bands, in performing improv, in writing, in avoiding the future and just about everything that amounted to a good nights sleep. Meanwhile, Max and I began to stretch our chats from conversations about music to our scholastic routines and other parts of Brandeis existence.
And slowly, but surely, I took a listen to Max’s band, Arms and Sleepers. Or rather, I took a liking to them. Though Max appears to have something of an antagonistic relationship with pop music, it’s hard to believe when listening to the tracks off the band’s last full-length album, Black Paris 86. There’s a sweet, emotionally vibrant sound under the ambience of that album, a trip-hop laced mix of electronics and atmospherics.
Max and I stayed in touch after I graduated: I’d periodically drop by one of his shows and we’d chat about his senior year, the places where out tastes in music could cohesively convene (Why?’s Alopecia) and even a bit about the future. They’d apparently gotten rid of the media desk where I’d spent chunks of my senior year. Max was gearing up for a tour of Europe while balancing school work. I was applying to grad school.
Eventually, I moved out to Chicago for grad school. Max was one of the countless people I never got to “say goodbye” to when I left Boston. These things happen. About a week ago, I got a message from him. It was a link to the new Arms and Sleepers album, Matador. True, Max is a friend, and as a music journalist it would be a shame if I didn’t disclose that information and spouted sweet nothings about Arms and Sleepers throughout this post. It would also be shame if I said nothing about this album.
Perhaps it’s best then to just put the focus back on the feature of this piece – my late night jam. Since receiving the album, one song has circulated in my head and in my playlists for the past week: “The Architekt.” As ludicrously misspelled as it is, there’s a real pop passion to it that I would’ve never expected Max to make when I first met him a couple of years ago. It kind of reminds me of what so many people want The xx to sound like: soulful, distinct, and gratifying in terms of pop indulgence. Electronic beeps and blips hold down the swaying male-female duet longingly dreaming of space oddities. Sure, on paper (or rather, computer) it might sound odd, but it just works.
“The Architekt” is currently streaming on the Arms and Sleepers myspace page. After years of standing on the sidelines while the Passion Pits and Dropkick Murphys of Boston grab all the attention, it looks like Arms and Sleepers are starting to have some of the local attention come their way. And “The Architekt” will hopefully let them build on their burgeoning success.
Arms and Sleepers – Matador video promo: