Quilt: “Arctic Shark”

Photo by Allison Pharmakis

When they started recording their second album, the Boston trio Quilt made a conscious decision to run the sessions like a job–not in a punch-the-clock, go-through-the-motions manner, but in a structured environment built around experimentation. They spent a month in New York, grinding out the songs in a freewheeling-yet-meticulous setting. “We would go in for 10 hours a day, six days a week, and we just made sounds and jokes for the entire time,” says vocalist/guitarist Shane Butler. Eventually, these sounds coalesced into a coherent whole: Held In Splendor, which sees a release on January 28.

It’s a far-cry from the band’s humble beginnings. The three band members met through the noise and visual arts scenes in Boston. While they all appreciate the value of the avant-garde, the trio also bonded over classic pop and folk. Their self-titled debut came in 2011, reflecting the members’ post-college lives in the ramshackle sound.

Held In Splendor ups the ante considerably with tighter rhythms, sharper hooks, and a general sense of direction–perhaps due to its slow gestation. “Arctic Shark” kicks the record off with a cloud of country-fried dust. It’s a simple song, but underneath the hood lay hours and hours of work to make it sound just right.

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