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The Antlers – “Palace”

Few bands have shaped my musical preferences as strongly as The Antlers over the last ten years.  Burst Apart was gorgeously sinister, like curb-stomping someone to beautiful indie-rock.  Undersea had the transformative “Zelda”, which nearly stole this spot.  Yet, when I think of The Antlers, I can’t escape the memory of my first time hearing Familiars – and more specifically,  when Silberman attained angelic status on the downright otherworldly “Palace.”

Everything about “Palace” is perfect: the elegant pianos that shimmer during the introduction, the regal horns that join in, and the way that Peter Silberman floats above it all – weightless, as if he’s just a spiritual entity observing from afar.  For as serene as this song is, it definitely reaches an escalation point starting at the 2:30 mark, when Silberman’s smooth, apparition-like melody launches into full throat, and he delivers one of the most powerful verses in The Antlers’ entire doscography: “He left the tallest peak of your paradise, buried in the bottom of a canyon in hell / But I swear I’ll find your light in the middle, where there’s so little late at night…down in the pit of the well.”  The brass then kicks it up a notch as well, and you’re off – floating towards the horizon without a care in the world.  It’s the prettiest, classiest song I’ve heard in quite some time.

The best thing about “Palace” might be that it lures me into The Antlers’ beauty every single time.  I can’t hear the track and not finish the rest of Familiars.  After that, I usually just go back to In The Attic of the Universe and trudge through their entire discography.  It’s a journey that means even more to me in light of Silberman’s nearly career-ending hearing/health issues.  This is a special band that I’d argue reached a Radiohead-level of transcendence.  They’re better than Radiohead of course, but I’ll leave that argument for the comment section below.

Read more from this decade at my homepage for Sowing’s Songs of the Decade.

One of my favorite bands ever, so it was naturally hard to choose a song. "Zelda", "Revisited", "Parentheses", and "Putting the Dog to Sleep" were all in the running.

Would be Parade AND Drift Dive for me. One of the best bands of the decade

Added to the list to check

i forgot all about this song. absolutely loved it when it came out.

still need to check this band...

Their whole discography is worth checking, EPs included

Stunning song. Excellent pick.

I have deep deep love for the Antlers. Familiars, specifically, will always likely be in the top five of the most meaningful and important records of my life.

But that comment about them being better than Radiohead is so ridiculous I'm already done entertaining it.

dang dont say of course they're better than radiohead at least

Great choice and write-up. My picks would be either Putting the Dog to Sleep, Drift Drive, or Parade. They sure have had one hell of a decade

I’m intrigued. Definitely gonna check these guys out now. Going through Manchester Orchestra’s discog right now then I’ll get to this.

Just saw them live on their Hospice anniversary tour a couple of weeks ago. This band is flawless. Maybe Director would be my pick from this album. Thanks for the write-up and reminding me to revisit this beautiful song/album!

This is one the songs that I credit with truly getting me deeply into this brand of music (whatever that means). Hospice is still my favorite album by them, but this may be in my top ten songs of the decade. From the first second to the last, the whole build up is flawless.

I will be honest, I love this song but cannot get through Familiars. Maybe someday the record will grow on me.

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