Moments of great personal expansion can take place when listening to the rain; comfort, sadness, possibility, anxiety – all are amplified by the atmosphere of precipitation. Rain drops soothe the ear into a blanketed haze and allow the heart to wander deep into itself and feel things long forgotten. Maryland based band, The Meer, created an album that feels like a collection of these deep thoughts and feelings gathered during a rainstorm. I had the pleasure to meet with The Meer’s founders, Wanda Perkins and Jeff Orrence to talk about their new album “Branches”, Meer history and mythical ghost pets.
I’ve never been in the presence of artistic collaborators that possess the palpable connection that Jeff and Wanda do; they just seem to get each other. They are kindred spirits on the same brain wave (the kind that would make an UNSTOPPABLE charades team and/or finish each other’s sentences). The duo’s writing sensibilities, personalities, even their musical influences compliment each other. Who’s to say if this is the result of nearly two years of musical partnership or a serendipitous meeting of minds, either way the result is a magnetic artistic partnership that flows as naturally as the band’s music.”We share the same musical language.”said Perkins. The Meer’s inception began the way a lot of great bands do, with a little bit of heartache and a lot of determination. Break-ups (one of a band and the other of a relationship) brought Wanda and Jeff separately out into the Frederick open mic scene to find new beginnings and, consequently, the beginning of their band. Additional members Paris Boyd on drums and Christopher Wallace on guitar joined later.
During Wanda’s time as a caretaker in DC one of her co-workers felt the presence of a “ghost pet” following them around the house of the woman they were caring for, which Wanda pet named “The Meer” . . . the name resurfaced once it was time to find a band name. [COOL FACT ALERT: The Meer is also a mythical creature invented by the band that looks different to each member. Sometimes it’s a dog like dragon, sometimes it has feathers; it all depends on which member you ask.]
Branches was recorded at “The Retreat”, (Wanda’s kick-ass house in the woods) and released on Dead Industry Records. “This is an amalgamation of songs that have been written over the course of the band’s history,” said Orrence. It’s clear from the album’s vast range of feeling that The Meer care. They feel deeply about the world and their music acts as a conduit to channel those profound feelings into art. The sound of 90’s grunge had an effect on The Meer both lyrically and musically (understandable since both Jeff and Wanda listed bands such as The Wipers and Nirvana as influences). They value earnest lyrics and solid guitar progressions. They have no need to make a party record, they have a need for content and meaning. Which is a refreshing change in the season of summer anthems with weak narratives. Strength in vulnerability is a constant theme on the record. Check out the lyrics to Canopy.
“Canopy world breathing sunlight
Mirrors the color of your heart
Dark and wild, home inside
Air is thick and damp, all alive
And all I see is wild and free
I want love to cover me
Scatter the light in shades of green
And all I will be is wild and free
I want love to cover me”
There is a wide range of flavors on the record from the astute acoustic softness of “Saccharine” to the heaviness of “When We Were Birds”. Each lends a thread to the pensive tapestry of Branches inquisitive sound. One of my favorite tracks on the record is the instrumental “Summer Spring”. After going through the wide expanse of doubt, fear and questioning that covers a large portion of the record, the words that are inevitably circling around your head all fall silent and only the sound of musical rain can be heard in the delicate tinkling of guitars. It’s a perfect rest.
Listen to the full album below
Jeff and Wanda took their love of music beyond the stage with the creation of Glory in Sound, a blog where both regularly post music reviews. “I felt the music scenes were so disconnected and I wanted to communicate with other people and have them listen to our music and listen to their music. Making connections on a listening level” said Perkins. Between the two they have reviewed a copious amount of local bands and have managed to create a solid music community.
On August 6th Glory in Sound will be hosting the Green Valley Festival located at The Retreat. WHICH I AM SO EXCITED FOR. The event will have bands galore, art and food, what more could be better?! The line up includes:
- Miss Shevaughn & Yuma Wray
- My Friday Anthem
- Selena Benally
- Alex Katsenelenbogen
- Ryan Gibson
- Austin and Olivia
- Owl Like Creature
- AND OF COURSE, The Meer!
The Meer also have shows coming up all over DC,MD, WV and PA.
Make sure you follow The Meer on Facebook for updates and upcoming gigs.