REVIEW: Quilt - Plaza

Laura Kerry

Before I dive in in earnest, I should probably disclose a few reasons why I’m predisposed to enjoy Quilt’s new album, Plaza. Guitarist and singer Anna Fox Rochinski grew up in my hometown, and there’s a chance that the song “Eliot St.” takes its name from the street where a childhood friend lived in the part of Boston the band called home for a time, after they graduated from the nearby art school where they formed. Then there’s the fact that one of the few songs I’ve used the app Shazam for is Quilt’s “Lost & Lewd,” off of their debut self-titled LP from 2011, when it came on in the coffee shop down the street. None of that actually matters, really, except that I found it hard to distinguish between the uncanny feeling that stemmed from personal experience and that arising from the music itself, and it seems worth sharing.

Without a doubt, though, Quilt—now based in Brooklyn—creates music that inherently contains a sizable dose of the uncanny. In their first two albums, the band strongly echoed ‘60s psych-rock and folk, reproducing familiar old sounds in reverb-heavy guitars, banjo picking, and clear harmonies. Plaza continues the retro strain. Starting with the opener, “Passerby,” they set the tone for mystical rock with flute accents, a reverb-soaked picking pattern, and a guitar solo that meanders with the twists and bends of a sitar. Sometimes, the lyrics border on surreal, such as in the otherwise straightforward “Searching For,” when male voices sing “The violet light that angles me composes my décor”—a line akin to any in a trippier Beatles song.

Though still infused with the 1960s, Plaza does cut back on nostalgia from the previous two albums, cleaning up muddy effects and tightening compositions. Distancing it from wandering psychedelic music, in the new album, Quilt combines more rigorous songwriting with a greater willingness to experiment, resulting in a kind of art rock appropriate for an art-school band. With its bouncy bass line and vocal bursts, “Hissing My Plea” sounds a bit like the weird pop of St. Vincent, and “Passerby,” while psych-rock in tone, harnesses Rochinski’s clear voice in curving vocal lines that recall the baroque melodies of Julia Holter.

But Quilt exhibits the greatest range of skill and the most development in the album’s quieter moments. One of the most striking songs on Plaza is “Padova,” a beautiful, pared-down folk song with light percussion and a theme of coping with loss. The lyrics are direct and heartbreaking: “There’s a ghost now in my soul / Trying hard now to play some rock and roll.” The previous song, “Something There,” among a few other tracks, takes a similar approach with pretty harmonies, a light wash of keyboard, and the simple lyrics, “If you are loving, she's loving / If you are leaving, she's leaving.”

On Plaza, Quilt is at their best—warm and pleasantly familiar but with a delightful spark of something new and a little weird. Whether or not you share geography with them or have heard them in a coffee shop before, they're the kind of band that strikes a chord.

FIELD REPORT: Melody's Echo Chamber // Quilt

All Photos: Brandon bakus

All Photos: Brandon bakus

Gerard Marcus

Melody's Echo Chamber has been one of my favorite bands since the group's first full release in 2012, which was so revolutionary that they're STILL touring the same material to this day. That isn't by any means a bad thing, as I'm pretty sure I could listen to it forever.

I was extremely excited when I heard that they were making their way across the Atlantic from France to play in NYC. That excitement was placed on hold for a while, thanks to the federal government obviously not understanding how much this show meant to me and delaying the group's visa in May.

An agonizing four months later, though, my dream became a reality at the Music Hall of Williamsburg where I witnessed a couple of amazing sets by Quilt and Melody's. Great times were had. Pics were taken.


The fact I didn't know Quilt before this show is baffling to me. Not because I know everything there is to know about music, but because they are so utterly my kind of thing.

They are the perfect embodiment of '60s psychedelia with wonderfully modern twist. Listening to them live, it was difficult to not be transported back to my high school bedroom, gazing at my lava lamp and blacklight poster (I am well aware of the fact that I was a stereotype—16-year-old Gerard makes no apologies).

I loved every moment of their set. They were an excellent prelude to Melody's Echo Chamber, but by no means lacking in their own identity and appeal. I'm looking forward to seeing them again soon, and I hear they also have an album coming out this fall. Definitely grabbing that for the collection.

Melody's Echo Chamber

I love anticipation. The fact that the concert was postponed for four months almost made it better. Every week I watched videos of Melody's Echo Chamber shows, trying to imagine how it would feel when I finally got the chance to commune with their music in person.

The day of the show I walked into the music hall with my equally eager girlfriend, only to have her zip ahead of me and make a beeline for the front of the stage. Once I finally caught up to her during the Quilt set, I realized that she was standing right next to Pablo Padovani, guitarist in Melody's Echo Chamber and band leader another favorite French psych rock group, Moodoïd.

Suddenly, all of those months of giddy expectation were thrown back in my face. I froze, pretty embarrassingly star-struck, as he turned and looked at us (thinking, I'd imagine, that I was being a bit of a weirdo). Eventually he headed backstage to get ready for his set. A successful start to the night, I'd say.

This was Melody's second time touring the US, and they came on stage full of excitement for their first sold-out NYC show. They ran threw every song in their arsenal and even played a few covers to a crowd that was genuinely rapt.

One of the most interesting things I noticed was how comfortable Melody's was with their live experimentation, specifically that of bassist Benjamin Glibert whose flourishes had me intrigued the whole night. There was a tightness and comfort that must have come from playing the same material for almost three years straight, and it made me eager to hear what new material they'll hammer out in the future.