“Could we call you back in a minute?” Andy of The Armchairs asked. “We’re buying tickets right now at the door for Deer Tick.”
The boys from the Philly band The Armchairs weren’t just buying tickets, but they were about to step into the show. Inbetween getting tickets and getting stoked for the show, recommended by their friend from another Philly band, The Extraordinaires, Andy took a moment to talk about the latest Armchairs production, Science and Advice.
Their album art is quite captivating; it’s a mix-up of black and white etchings, with a rainbow spectrum of some element from the periodic table. There’s the juxtaposition of various animal parts, organic branches and a landscape, all framed by an interstellar border. So what’s all this symbolism about?
Andy and the band were a little vague with their answers, mostly due to the the fact that whatever meaning behind the artwork is only known by the designer, their friend Vincent. The guys did mention something about it being related to a “supreme being” of some sort, one with a name I couldn’t make out through the muffling of the speakerphone. They seemed to believe in this being though, the way the Detroit band Lord Scrummage believes in a being after which their band is named. Or how Ween instilled the cult of the Boognish into countless fans’ psyches.
Ween is a huge influence on The Armchairs, as shown in their band’s online profile. That influence might resonate in their bizarre song titles, many named after characters, like “Gloria” and “Sammy Ghetz”. Then there’s a whole slew of songs with animal references, such as “Mister Spider”, “Mutant Cobra Family”, and “Bear Battles”.
Why the animals, guys? Are you simply following the animal trend that’s been dominating the indie music scene these past few years? “Nah, my mother was a vet, and we all love animals, but not in a weird way,” Andy informed me. “We draw pictures of animals, we make collages of animals….”
Their debut album, which was released last August, even has a celebrity reference, to Harrison Ford. One might think of Han Solo or Indiana Jones upon hearing the repeated lyric “Harrison Ford saves people”. But listen to the whole line; it’s a short song! He saves people from his helicopter. So is this a reference to a movie or real life?
“It’s from the point of view of somebody trapped, like in a forest fire, and just imagine how crazy it’d be if Harrison Ford rescued you in a helicopter!!” Andy burst with excitement at the idea. I couldn’t believe it myself. “Go look it up online, you”ll see.”
The Armchairs were a burst of energy to chat with and are making their way from the Ox, their warehouse space and home in Philly, to D.C. They’ll display their enthusiasm with a live set at the developing D.C house venue, The Paper Sun, this Saturday, at 8 p.m.