Mountains at the Hideout | Concert preview
A ghost town inspires the ambient duo’s new album.
The coal mines under Centralia, Pennsylvania, have been burning continuously since 1962, and the town’s last residents lost a court fight to remain in their homes a year ago. What was Brooklyn duo Mountains thinking when it named its new album Centralia? With its lush, expansive passages of synthesizer and gamboling acoustic guitar rhythms, it certainly doesn’t sound like hell on Earth. And since Brendon Anderegg and Koen Holtkamp don’t sing or give their music narrative titles, it’s up to the listener to intuit the links between a ghost town and music that’s very much alive.
Over time the two have transitioned from an acoustic-digital sound palette to one that’s more diverse, layered and emotionally complex with room for melancholy strings and even some electric guitar heroics, which raise a cathartic ruckus before the music slides into serenity. Perhaps the record represents the struggle and loss that went into the making of Centralia as well as the quiet beauty of its decay.
Anderegg and Holtkamp probably won’t tip their hand in concert. You can expect to see two men hard at work behind a table, barely sparing the audience a glance. You’re best off finding a seat and closing your eyes, but even if you know their catalog well, expect a few surprises—Mountains have already worked up some new material for this tour.