ADAM SCHATZ—the keyboardist, frontman, and lead raconteur for New York psych-art rockers Landlady—is in a cab in Manhattan, elucidating the ins and outs of his band's second album, Upright Behavior.
"I think I have an innate ability to bring people together and make something bigger happen because of it," says Schatz. "But I'm just as strong with the people I'm attracted to making music with. Landlady does have the most of myself even if, as a person, I think I'm stronger around other people than if you had me in a vacuum."
You can almost feel the cabbie's brow furrow at Schatz's quiet bravado.
But his thoughtfulness, even in articulating his own confidence in himself and his band, is engaging and full bodied—not unlike the broad musical panoramas Landlady cultivate on their new record, one of the more talked-about releases of 2014.
Upright Behavior was forged during two and a half days of tracking at the IsoKon studio in Woodstock, New York, and followed up with extensive post-production. That initial burst of creativity, however, yielded a cathedral veil of moving parts, harmonies, and time changes that form double helixes of exultant, cathartic songs.
As Schatz explains, there's a bit of an ESP mentality within the band that's developed as they've been together, making songs like "The Globe," with its eerie refrain of "Heading toward a black hole/living under stars," sound like a lullaby in a cult house.
"The nice thing is that not too much happens on purpose," he says. "We write the songs we write and they manifest the way they manifest, and everyone in the band is really good at critiquing each other. What comes out is always the best. It's a really dense record, and I think it's amazing how much subtraction was part of the process. We're getting smarter and better and we're able to read each other's minds. And when we're working on something we can actually say, 'Actually, this should be just this way,' and we'll all realize that's the way it should be."
It's all very ambitious. But the big picture isn't lost on Schatz.
"My goals for Landlady are super simple," he says. "I just want to reach as many people as possible."