Milwaukee’s Altos (formerly/sometimes known as Group of the Altos) are a tough band to fit comfortably on most stages. With twelve members, and a variety of strings, keys, upright bass, trumpets, guitars percussion and more, the band’s sound is anything but stripped down. Sonically, they belong alongside fellow big bands like Godspeed You Black Emperor! with their commitment to melodies and stretched-out song structures that eschew pop convention. But unlike their fellow-travelers from up north, Altos’ sound is a bit more folk-inflected (think Broken Social Scene) and considerably less apocalyptic. This 40-minute set at Glasslands, a warmup to an upcoming gig at Hopscotch Festival in North Carolina, consisted of a total of four songs, including three longer-form compositions and the tighter, more vocal-driven “Race” (streaming below). The band deploys the large crew of players wisely, creating songs that are sonically dense, yet cohesive and spacious.
As with many bands arising from the Milwaukee scene right now, Altos have a Bon Iver connection, too – their eponymous current record was recorded at Justin Vernon’s April Base studio, and is available on vinyl and digital here (with an album cover that is, appropriately enough, composed of headshots of each of the 12 band members).
I recorded this set with new Naiant X-X omnidirectional microphones at the lip of the Glasslands stage, together with a soundboard feed provided by the head engineer Josh. The sound quality is truly outstanding. Enjoy!
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Brooklyn, NY USA
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Recorded and produced by acidjack
Naiant X-X (3ft split onstage A-B) + Soundboard>>Edirol R-44 [OCM]>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Audacity (mixdown, set fades, tracking, amplify, balance)>FLAC ( level 8 )
01 Begong Ava, Bagong Hele
03 Sing (for Trouble)
04 Never Named