Labels have not worked in music for the past few years. How do we describe the latest Rihanna release? What about Yeasayer or Animal Collective? In a world where Kesha actually qualifies as ‘good music’ to some people, perhaps labelling what a band sounds like nowadays is akin to describing France as a footballing nation. Oh, zing!

Anyway, in some quarters, Maps and Atlases are being hailed as math-rock, a title that should belong solely to Battles who must fight anyone who wants to challenge them to the helm.

Perhaps, I need to explaint hings a little better. Maps and Atlases have been plugging away in the Chicago music scene for six years now, and at the end of June, in America at least, they will release their first full album, “Perch Patchwork” after a sleight of eps. Comprised of Erin Elders, Shiraz Dada, Chris Hainey, and Dave Davison, the band play the guitar up high and feature ever-so-slightly more technical drums than the usual rock band. Therefore, they qualify as a math-rock band.

Apparantly.

But Maps and Atlases are so much more than just a math-rock band. Having toured with Foals and Frightened Rabbits in the recent past, they have certainly learned how to build a song up and this is most evident on the tracks you can stream below. The four-piece do intricate pop music with a penchant for hitting the loud button. SOmetimes they explode from the speakers. Sometimes they prefer to take it easy, to make you wait.

“Daily News” is from their 2008 ep, “You And Me And The Mountains”. Shouting stop-start interludes make it a track that is hard to get distracted from. Maps and Atlases expect full and attentive listeners ready to be bombarded with a sonic arsenal of musical intricities.

From the forthcoming album, “Perch Patchwork”, is ‘Solid Ground’, which comes in at just under the three minute mark and sees singing that sounds like it is sung while under the influence of the flu.

The album, “Perch Patchwork”, is out in America at the end of the month. They are playing a launch party in Chicago with the wonderful Fang Island to mark the occasion. Sadly, I am a little bit too far away from Chicago, so this video will have to suffice.

Maps & Atlases – Ted Zancha (Live @ AEMMP Records Industry Night 2009) from The Belmont Sessions on Vimeo.