Sometimes you have to put yourself first, no matter how difficult that notion seems; no matter how much time and effort you’ve already put into this one person—the person who’s reduced your very being to its absolute core. Just ask Peter Silberman, the string-pulling founder of The Antlers, a solo project that suddenly went widescreen on the self-released Hospice LP (now receiving a proper widespread pressing through Frenchkiss). The first Antlers effort to feature two key permanent players—powerhouse drummer Michael Lerner and the layer-lathering multi-instrumentalist Darby Cicci—it’s an album with a sound that’s actually as ambitious as its concept. “Hospice came from the idea of caring for a terminal patient who’s mentally abusive to you,” says Silberman. “You don’t have the right to argue with them, either, because they’re the one who’s dying here; they’re the one that’s been dealt a wrong hand. So you take it, but you can only take so much. Eventually, you realize that this person is just destroying you.” Appropriately enough, Hospice’s 10 distinct chapters resonate on debilitating sonic and lyrical levels, from the hypnotic harp and tension-ratcheting build of “Two” to the sing-or-sink choruses of “Bear” and the speaker-rattling peaks of “Sylvia,” easily one of the year’s most immediate epics. It’s here, amidst contrasting shards of ambient noise, sweeping strings and smoky horns, where The Antlers truly transcend Silberman’s singer-songwriter beginnings—a striking escalation of expectations first hinted at on 2008’s New York Hospitals EP. The progression doesn’t end there, either. In a move that could be taken as the riff-raking extension of his thorough guitar training (from the age of 6 ‘til right before college), “Atrophy” and “Wake” delve into sheets of distortion, subtle shades of soul, cicada-like effects and enough movements to fill an entire EP. “We were going for something that’d be dense but not too complicated,” explains Silberman. “I hate the word ‘lush,’ but I guess that’s the best way of describing it. The structures are like pop songs—verse/chorus, verse/chorus—but the sound is a little more shoegaze-y or post-rocky.” It’s about to get even more complicated, too, as The Antlers’ Technicolor-tinged trio take all of Hospice’s songs—and three previous releases—in a completely different direction, jettisoning a note-for-note rendition of the record for “a massive sound” doused in delay, reverb and unrehearsed chaos. And to think Cicci was a stage actor with a desire to drop it all for music just a few years ago. “Hospice was the clear indication that this isn’t a singer-songwriter thing at all,” says Silberman. “Whatever we record next is going to define the three of us as a ‘band.’ He continues, “I always figured I’d be the ‘shredder’ in a group…But things somehow ended up this way.” We wouldn’t have it any other way, either.