At times, it's easy for The Eastern Sea to forget that Austin, Texas is home. While the band's roots are firmly planted in the Texas Hill Country, their dynamic prose-pop travels from location to location, effortlessly moving between distant settings and their own, still somehow foreign, neighborhoods.
Created in 2005 as the bedroom project of songwriter/vocalist Matthew Hines, The Eastern Sea quickly released a self-produced anthology Further Up, Further In, which showcased Hines' folk and electronic roots. From '07-'09, the band added several new members and recorded what would eventually become The Eastern Sea, a self-released collection of two eponymous EPs. Songs such as "The Snow" and "The Name" attracted the band's first national press and led to several festival appearances -SXSW, CMJ, FPH Summerfest- and a pair of national tours.
Starting in 2010, The Eastern Sea began work on their first official LP, Plague, a project that marked a major shift in methods for band. Instead of piecing tracks together with home production, the vast majority of Plague would be recorded live to tape by Matt Smith -Ola Podrida, Golden Bear- at HOTTRACKS!!! in Austin. Ultimately, these principle recordings were a swan song for the long-running East Austin studio, as the complex that housed HOTTRACKS!!! was condemned by the city only a month into production. The Eastern Sea was then forced to finish Plague in between temporary studios and homes across Central Texas.
Despite the numerous setbacks, the completed Plague -WhiteLabBlackLab-, mastered by Jeff Lipton at Peerless Mastering -Bon Iver, Andrew Bird-, represents The Eastern Sea's most cohesive collection of songs to date. Musically, it combines the hypnotic rhythm of post-rock, the playful melodies of traditional American folk, and the dynamics of contemporary progressive indie-rock, a distinct evolution of the sound that appeared on The Eastern Sea's self-titled release. While ornate percussion lies at the heart of Plague, the signature slow builds of poly-rhythm in songs such as "Wasn't for Love" and "The Match" serve as a launch pad for melodic bass, shimmering keys, finger-picked electric guitar, and expressive trumpet. Lyrically, Hines' boldly present vocals weave a revealing autobiographical narrative, developing themes of change, transition, and powerlessness over the course of twelve songs.