Traversing the Digital: Luxury Liners Plays the Independent Tonight

Luxury Liners‘ name exists in a bit of a dichotomy. The side project of singer-songwriter Carter Tanton is electronic bliss without the pretension or complaints of a high-end cruise through the Atlantic. It’s just chill enough to wash over you like a sonic blanket meant for beach bonfires and worlds away from his usual sound.

“The name kind of goes with the vibe,” Tanton tells the Appeal.

“It’s opulent and got this glossy sheen. I chose [the name] Luxury Liners because I liked the alliteration and I feel like it conjures up harmony. It’s taking you to a place to relax.”

Fittingly, the initial seeds that spawned Luxury Liners were planted while on the road. While touring, Tanton took his scant free hours and quietly began crafting an organic mixture of samples and vocals. As soon as he was home, he polished up those tracks and released Luxury Liners’ debut LP They’re Flowers. Standout track “Lash by Lash” is chillwave bliss, its driving force a sample from the Staples Sisters and Tanton’s cosmic harmonies.

The side project took the Baltimore artist’s usual approach to songwriting and completely turned it on its head. There’s a big difference between sitting down with a guitar and jotting down lyrics and stealing away time on a tour bus to mix samples like acrylic paint on a palette. As Tanton’s usual solo works cater to his analog side, so Luxury Liners complements his passion for the digital.

“The process is totally different. Strict composition took a back seat and I abandoned song structure. I feel like these tracks are more of a collage of samples. Sometimes they just serendipitously come together. It’s awesome that anything works. It just solidified this vision.” Tanton says.

The two projects may never mix, as Tanton describes them as more split personalities than joint efforts. Drastic differences and a change in context make Luxury Liners all the more enthralling, given Tanton’s deft ability to shift creativity from one project to the next.

“It’s nice to have two bands to work with,” Tanton continues. “I mean, I’ll be putting out another solo album in 2014 but at the end of the day, that’s still more singer-songwriter and folk with maybe a few hints of electronic.”

You can catch Luxury Liners tonight at the Independent and may even find Tanton in SF for the long-term someday.

“I love the city. It’s crazy and beautiful and I’d love to live (here) just once,” Tanton says.

the author

Always in motion. April Siese writes about music, takes photos at shows, and even helps put them on behind the scenes as a stagehand. She's written everything from hard news to beauty features, as well as fiction and poetry. She most definitely likes pie.

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