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Anti- releases first single from its classically inclined Lost in the Trees

June 22, 2010 |  2:39 pm


Don't be fooled by the lush orchestrations and friendly acoustic guitars of Lost in the Trees. There's high drama in the band's self-described campfire arrangements, with tales of heroes and villains and biblical-like imagery of raging fires. Or, to put it in more blunt terms, it's about fighting with your parents. 

The brainchild of 28-year-old Ari Picker, Lost in the Trees recently found a home with Silver Lake's Anti- Records, the adventurous offshoot of Epitaph overseen by Andy Kaulkin.The label will be releasing a reworked version of Lost in the Trees' debut, "All Alone in an Empty House," on Aug. 10. It's a collection of classically enhanced pop that's as fit for a chamber hall as it is a rock club.

"I wanted it to be able to sound like it was recorded around a campfire -- very acoustic guitar-driven and folky and simple," said Picker, who has one semester remaining toward a film score degree from the Berklee College of Music. "Then I wanted these orchestral sounds to come out of the woods and make a brief appearance and leave. I wanted it to be like an isolated person playing these songs, with all these textures weaved around it and suddenly disappearing."

The first single, "Fireplace," streaming below, walks that line, and it comes with one of Picker's more impassioned vocal turns on the album. Lyrics bound between images of old age and redemption, and guitars build around slicing strings. Adding a sense of paranoia are the just out-of-step vocals, which hint at the dark subject matter.

"It’s about how my mother was being asked to forgive my father for a lot of different things by a lot of different people, including myself, and she just couldn’t do it," said Picker, top left. "A lot of people listen to it and hear a teen angst song, about throwing true love in the fireplace. It’s a metaphor for Mom just giving up on this elemental notion that there’s this goodness in the world. She just said, ‘Forget it, it’s not true,’ and burned it up.


"So yeah," Picker continued, " ‘Fireplace’ is a real rocker."

The album, said Picker, was a "therapy session," albeit one that spared no punches."My dad can be looked at as a villain in the record, and he certainly is [angry] about being perceived that way. It wasn’t intentional to make him the villain."

Currently based out of Chapel Hill, N.C., Picker intends to further his classical music studies, hoping to resume school full-time after the promotional cycle is completed for "All Alone in an Empty House." When Anti- approached him about re-releasing the album, Picker re-recorded it, as the edition released in 2008 is softer, or "insecure," as Picker described it. Since signing with the L.A. label, Lost in the Trees has solidified as a seven-piece, complete with a mini-string section.

"I didn’t know much about the label, so I researched their philosophy," Picker said. "They seemed to be very artistic, friendly people. I was wondering what kind of community we could get brought into. Our music is eclectic, and about balancing the performance art world with the rock club world. There’s a lot of great indies around North Carolina, but I don’t know if we fit in with that." He added that it was nice to sign with a label where "everyone on it has a different style."

-- Todd Martens

Photo Ari Picker, from left, Leah Gibson, Daniel Westerlund, Jenavieve Varga, Mark Daumen, Drew Anagnost, Emma Nadeau. Credit: Anti- Records

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