Looking to the past: Future Islands
  • Mike Vorassi
  • Looking to the past: Future Islands

This Valentine’s Day will see Art Lord and the Self Portraits, which broke up in 2005, celebrate its tenth anniversary with a show at Kings and a double-album release. The Definitive Collection, out that day on Friends Records, includes Art Lord’s four releases, but also features a download code for early demos and two live recordings.

Today, three Art Lord members – Samuel Herring, William Cashion, and Gerrit Welmers – comprise prominent Baltimore synth-pop outfit Future Islands. Yet the preceding band formed in Greenville, while they were art students at ECU, in the same grungy house-show scene that spawned Valient Thorr, The Kickass and, eventually, Lonnie Walker. The reunion show is even the tenth anniversary of a show at Soccer Moms’ House—one of a handful of semi-legal show spaces that town’s surprisingly fertile underground relied on in the early- and mid-’00s.

(We’re in the Same) Bubble Baby,” originally from 2003 LP Searching for a Complement, finds its nightmarish, drum machine-driven New Wave ably remastered by Talk Normal‘s Sarah Register, who did the same for the rest of the retrospective. The new version maintains the original’s hypnotic minimalism, which matches perfectly with a tale of hopeless, decrepit barhounds “trying to make it out alive.” Register has tastefully bolstered the existing track, lending it higher fidelity and more distinct thump and snap without overdoing it. This bodes well for the rest of the collection.