For the last five years, Cartographers have been one of the most creative, engaging, irreverent, and technically talented forces in San Antonio music.
If you frequent live music events in this town, chances are you've enjoyed/been harassed by their heartfelt and scatterbrained brand of experimental indie rock with a poppy sheen and a grunge heart. They released a well received (and quite killer) self-titled album back in 2009 and have been regular performers at places like Limelight, Jack's, and 502 Bar. But now, with a new album basically completed, Cartographers are hanging it up and with little fanfare. In fact, the deed is already done, according to the band's leader Jackson Albracht.
"Let's bury this bitch," he said at the start of a recent Limelight gig. Later on, I caught up with him and asked him what gives. "We're splitting up because it's time for me to move, to spread my wings and such."
Albracht said that, while the recent departure of former member Marcus Rubio had been a small factor (as had the fact that practices have become increasingly hard to plan due to band members pulling duty in other bands), the end of Cartographers is mostly about change. When I mentioned how much the band would be missed by the scene for their music and their mythos, Albracht seemed more genuinely emotional than I had ever expected to catch him. But what about the music?
"We have our second record basically done and it will be released in some capacity, perhaps under a new name or perhaps not," he said. "I have a new group of awesome dudes who I have already started working with in Austin."
When asked what advice he would give up-and-coming bands in Saytown, he replied, "Vote and don't shoot heroin." Pretty solid advice.
At the end of our conversation, feeling a bit nostalgic, I asked him what he would remember most about Cartographers. His reply reminded me of the fiery confidence that first drew me to their music.
"We were awesome and I was hilarious."