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Standout Track: No. 4, “Ambergris.” A trio with an occasionally noodly and pulsing post-rock sound, Arlington’s Bella Russia favors instrumentals, with brothers Alex and Josh Braden on guitar and drums and Nathan Mitchell on bass. On its recent Epaulet EP, the almost two-year-old band sounds grown-up, lush, and intriguingly snarled.
Musical Motivation: Ambergris is a musky fluid produced by whales, which Herman Melville references repeatedly in Moby Dick. The only song on the EP written in major key, the surging track resembles the rhythmic battering of salt water on sand. “It’s cool water, dark blues, darkness, maybe a little bit of light-pink sky and icebergs,” says Alex Braden, 27. “We wanted to allude to that imagery but didn’t want to get too literal.”
Tape Expectations: At first, the band butted heads over whether to release its music. “John didn’t want to record,” says Alex. “I thought we have to have something, and he said he didn’t want to have a bad record.” Mitchell offered that “everyone has to have a Pablo Honey,” referring to Radiohead’s debut album. “I said, ‘That’s not a bad record!’” Alex says. “In defiance, I started listening to it and really enjoying it, too.”
Listen to “Ambergris” below.