Future Islands Dishes on Baltimore Music Scene to The New York Times

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Future Islands plays in Hamburg, Germany, in 2012. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Future Islands is buzzing again, thanks to the pending release of the synth-pop band’s fifth album, “The Far Field.” In a short piece published yesterday in The New York Times, two of the band’s three members shared some of their buzz by touting some of their Baltimore musical peers.

According to frontman Sam Herring, transplanting from North Carolina to Baltimore in 2008 allowed the band to establish a new identity for itself. “In North Carolina we were always the weirdo band because we didn’t have guitars,” he explained. “When we moved to Baltimore, Future Islands was the serious kid in a class full of class clowns. All of a sudden, we went from being the kitschy weirdos in North Carolina to being this serious, emotional band.”

Those serious, emotional vibes ring as true as ever on the two singles already put out by Future Islands ahead of the release of “The Far Field” this Friday. Herring’s lyrics in “Ran,” released in February, evoke lots of feels about the overwhelming gravity of love (both happy and sad), while the newer “Cave” is a pulsing, heady reflection on belief and grief.

Asked about his favorite Baltimore artists at present, Herring’s bandmate William Cashion, Future Islands’ bassist and guitarist, told the Times he’s really enjoying indie duo Romantic States, eclectic rock group Permanent Waves, atmospheric sound artist Amanda Schmidt, electronic musician Nerftoss, “obviously, Dan Deacon” and venerated local punk duo Ed Schrader’s Music Beat. Herring mentioned Baltimore hip-hop artists Jpegmafia, Butch Dawson and Elon (stylized as “3lON”).

The Q&A piece also asked what Herring has in store onstage. The frontman’s dance moves are one of the reasons Future Islands reached mercurial popularity after appearing on The David Letterman Show in 2014, according to the Times. Herring said he’s still sorting out which moves he wants to use.

Hometown fans will get a first look at his dancing this weekend, when Future Islands plays for three straight days at the Ottobar to celebrate the album’s release. After that, the band will embark for a global tour for the next eight months.

Ethan McLeod
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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in Baltimore City Paper, Leafly, DCist and BmoreArt, among other outlets. He enjoys basketball, humid Mid-Atlantic summers and story tips.
Ethan McLeod
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