Future Islands’ Guide to Baltimore

Synth pop band full of heart and grit tell us about the places they call home.

Future Islands, the Baltimore trio with the ballsy, bruised songs, released their new, third album ‘On The Water’ a couple of weeks ago. Before The Bridge blazed a trail ahead of it, a near-perfect slice of synth pop: hungry, desperate, euphoric – all the requisite elements for a close-your-eyes-and-spin-round-in-an-empty-street-at-midnight moment, which is, of course, the bar by which all pop music should be judged. The rest of ‘On The Water’ is just as evocative, from the bittersweet, goth-tinged title track to the melting, hope-shot Give Us The Wind (watch the video below). While Future Islands really need to be seen live for everything to fall fully into focus (we’ve gone on about frontman’s Samuel T. Herring’s on-stage charisma before), with ‘On The Water’ they come closer than ever before to channelling that electricity and frayed emotion into a collection of songs that grow in stature with every listen. The way we fall in love places works in much the same way; it’s the layering of memories that forges the bond. Which is why we asked Future Islands to tell us about the places that mean the most to them back in their home city of Baltimore, Maryland.

Click the map to explore or scroll down to read Future Islands answers.


View Future Islands’ Guide to Baltimore in a larger map

1. A place that conjures up old memories?

William: We played The Depot many times, and it was at a particularly amazing show here that I first felt the electricity of the Baltimore scene, and wanted to be a part of it.

2. A place you like to go out?

Samuel T. Herring: Club Charles. This is my bar. I know all the bartenders there so it feels real comfortable to me. I think it’s like that for everyone though. Real easy-going place.

3. A place people who have never been to the place before should definitely visit?

William: One of the first times I ever hung out for an extended period in Baltimore, during the 2nd Whartscape, I went to the Visionary Art Museum. It’s a really amazing place, devoted to outsider & folk art, truly unlike any other museum I’ve ever been to.
The exhibits are always changing, but there is a pretty impressive kinetic sculpture of Divine in the permanent collection!

4. A place you live or used to live?

Samuel T. Herring: We recorded ‘In Evening Air’ at this house in the historic Marble Hill district of Baltimore. I loved that neighborhood and that house. I lived there for about two and a half years, with various artists and musicians. Our dirty, little row home saw a lot of fun times, but I had to make a move when the house folded.

Future Islands – Before the Bridge by thrilljockey

5. A place you spend a lot of time in?

Samuel T. Herring: I spend a lot of time and money at True Vine Records. They say time is money, so I guess I spend double time and/or double money here. Great store. Jason Willett is an amazing DJ and record dude so he always points me in the right direction when I’m looking for a certain sound. More on the obscure/jazz/world side of music, but everything comes in the door, just not your average new releases.

6. A place you work/record?

William: We do a lot of writing at our house in Mt. Vernon. We’ve recorded at various warehouses around town, and recorded our last album at our friend Abe’s house down in North Carolina.

Thrill Jockey released Future Islands’ new album ‘On The Water’ on 10th October 2011. Future Islands will play ATP’s Nightmare Before Xmas on December 9th 2011

Buy ‘On The Water’

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