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Life Size Maps
The Oddities of Noise Pop
by: Jen Mergott - July 10, 2012


Brooklyn based trio, Life Size Maps, have amped up the oddities on their new EP,”Weird Luck.” Venturing off from their more traditional indie pop debut, “Magnifier,” Life Size Maps’ sound has come into its own, establishing the band in the noise pop genre. The new, three-song record shows us a band that can employ random sounds and seamlessly incorporate them into their music, which is also fed with impressive hooks and moderate and occasional doses of math rock. The EP starts off with title track, “Weird Luck”, a speed-pop tune that finds a unique balance between synthetic cello riffs and Nintendo beep solos. In both “Wind in the Furnace” and “Copper Mirror,” hummable melodies coexist with frenzied noises, making the band sound like an intriguing mix of Parts and Labor and They Might Be Giants. Though they just released “Weird Luck” on February 12th, the band is already looking to a full-length album in their future, complete with darker songs, distorted effects and catchy melodies.

How did you come up with the band name?
Mike: We used to be a 6 piece mini-orchestra. Our bassoonist got high one day and asked to see a 'life size map of the world.'

I felt like “Magnifier” was sort of an exploration into what kind of band you wanted to be and “Weird Luck” was the result. There was a lot of different influences on “Magnifier” – from Punk (“It’s Leaking”) to an almost folk-y indie song (“The Sleepy Northeast”). “Weird Luck” seems to be more of a solid noise rock/pop album. Was this a conscience transition or did the band just evolve naturally?
Mike: “Weird Luck” is more sleek and streamlined. The songs are simpler but the sounds are weirder.
Jordyn: I think it also has something to do with me joining and having a presence in the sound. Drummers make more of a difference in the sound than people realize a certain feel, energy, and limitations or expansions.

The inclusion of the cello seems like a bit of an unconventional choice and yet it naturally becomes a prominent feature in a three-piece band – how did you come to the decision to include it? How do you think it is valuable to your music and to this album?
Rob: The only reason we still have a cello is because none of us play bass.
Mike: It started out as a remnant of the 6 piece lineup, a vestigial limb. It ended up sticking.

Noise pop is a difficult genre particularly because it has to appear random without actually being so. How do you make decisions about what kinds of sounds/instruments you’re going to employ?
Mike: Half the time we listen to weirdo noisy music and the other half we obsess over direct pop melodies. We can't decide which of the two we'd rather play so we just end up doing both at the same time. For sounds, we'll throw in anything from hit car parts to Nintendo beeps to warped guitars. We want some songs to sound mechanical/precise and others to sound woozy/blurred.
Jordyn: We like the hooks and simplicity that pop offers, but we love the gritty sound that presents itself in avant-garde, hardcore, and no wave.

What are some of your biggest musical influences?
Mike: Anything maximalist -> My Bloody Valentine, Ligeti (his crazy soundscapes were a big part of The Shining), Pet Sounds, Glenn Branca
Rob: Dirty Projectors, Melt Banana, Dan Deacon
Jordyn: The Bad Plus, The Microphones, Flying Lotus, Erykah Badu.

How did you all meet? Were you pursuing other musical projects? If so, how have those influenced Life Size Maps?
Jordyn: I moved here almost 2 years ago and was looking for more people to play with. I had a good feeling about Mike because he liked a lot of the same obscure bands that I do, and was down to get fries and a shake at a diner super late at night.
Rob: I'm working on a cycle of amplified pieces. I just finished one of them called "Freak Show." I also have a bunch of songs I wrote for a project I'm starting later in March:

What are the best and worst things about being a DIY band?
Best thing: doing it yourself.
Worst thing: doing it yourself.

Where do you see the band going in the future, musically?
Mike: We're taking the ideas we started with on Weird Luck and expanding them into different directions and moods towards the goal of a full length.
Jordyn: I sense the songs getting darker, the effects more distorted, and the melodies being catchy as ever.

Do you have anything else to add or that you want me to know?
Jordyn: If any shampoo companies happen to like us and want to endorse us, it would be a good look for them and we would be we all have great hair (or so we’ve been told).

"The songs are simpler but the sounds are weirder."

Life Size Maps
"Weird Luck"

what it is

Noise pop with random sounds and impressive hooks. For those who like: Parts and Labor, They Might Be Giants