The fifth record by Chicago's Town and Country is the aptly titled 5, and while it goes so far as to include a homage to the city's more famous self-titled band's artwork the comparisons stop there. Like many of the innovators who have carved out sub-genre's in music over the last few years (IDM and Post-Rock quickly spring to mind), Town and Country along with bands like Threnody Ensemble and The Rachel's have carved out a niche based around classical and modern classical composition.
The members of Town and Country met through participation in a series of weekly improv sessions that included like minded musicians Jim O'Rourke, Kevin Drumm and Ken Vandermark to name a few. The band's debut was released on the experimental label, BOXMedia and the band began to play out at both conventional rock clubs, and in galleries and theaters which lent themselves to acoustic and classical music. Subsequently the band has released two more full lengths plus an EP and toured the states and Europe, alternating between the modern composition and indie-rock worlds, all the while broadening their audience.
Their newest record, 5, continues this ongoing evolution and further extends the language they have been working on for the last six years. All of the pieces on 5 were composed prior to recording, though some entered the studio in a more complete form than others. All selections are entirely acoustic, and experimentation continues to be employed in most Town and Country compositions.
There are two types of songs on 5. The first being the concise simple chamber pieces ("Aubergene", "Old Fashioned"), and the second being more sprawling trance pieces ("Sleeping in the Midday Sun", "Shirtless"). The recording process is simply four people in a room with acoustic instruments - no studio tricks, gimmicks, computers or samples in fact no amplification at all. The band pride themselves in the ideas put forth creating music of this nature.
As music continues to be categorized and fracture into genre's, Town and Country continue at their own pace hoping to put a face on "post-classical-chamber-rock" or whatever the NY Times decides to call it.