Celebration

Baltimore, Maryland's eclectic but always passionate Celebration feature vocalist/percussionist Katrina Ford, multi-instrumentalist Sean Antanaitis, and drummer David Bergander. Ford and Antanaitis -- who are also husband and wife -- started out in Ann Arbor's chaotic, early-'90s noise-punk band Jaks, where Ford began exploring the formidable vocal style that shaped the sound of the couple's future musical projects. After stints in Chicago and New Orleans, Antanaitis and Ford settled in Baltimore and formed Love Life, a band that traded the fury of Jaks for a darker, more theatrical sound that put Antanaitis' keyboards at the forefront. Love Life released two albums, 2001's The Rose He Lied By (on Troubleman) and the following year's Here Is Night, Brothers, Here the Birds Burn (on Jagjaguwar), before disbanding in 2003.

Later that year, Ford and Antanaitis started Birdland, which saw the two performing as just a duo for the first time in their career. With the addition of Bergander, they became Celebration. The trio recorded their self-titled debut album with the help of TV on the Radio's David Sitek; Ford had contributed vocals to several tracks on that band's Young Liars and Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes. Sitek also introduced them to 4AD, who signed Celebration in 2005. That fall, the band embarked on a tour that included a CMJ appearance, coinciding with the release of Celebration. After touring Europe and the U.S. during 2006, the band returned to the studio in early 2007 with Sitek, and the lusher but still challenging results of their sessions, The Modern Tribe, were released later that year.

Celebration released their next album, 2010's Hello Paradise: Electric Tarot, via their own Friends Records label; the project came about after six months of intense songwriting, after which the bandmembers realized many of the songs they'd stockpiled related to the Major Arcana cards in a Tarot deck. Ford formed the band Mount Royal with some other Baltimore friends while Celebration continued to write and record steadily. Tomorrow's Here Today/Don't Stop Dreaming, a limited edition 7" whose title track was inspired by the birth of Bergander's son, arrived in 2013. Also that year, Mount Royal signed to Bella Union and Celebration soon followed suit, issuing Albumen -- the band's first album to feature keyboardist/percussionist Tony Drummond and bassist/guitarist Walker Teret as full-time members -- in August 2014. Drummond and Teret helped record Celebration's fifth album, then Drummond left to pursue his solo career and Teret joined Lower Dens as a touring member. The core trio of Ford, Antanaitis, and Bergander were also joined by Future Islands' Samuel T. Herring and Wildhoney's Lauren Shusterich on 2017's Wounded Healer, a cathartic set of songs that paired midlife concerns with fantastical sounds. ~ Heather Phares

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