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Hospice (album)

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Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 23, 2009
RecordedJuly 2007 – August 2008
StudioWatcher's Woods, Brooklyn
ProducerThe Antlers
The Antlers chronology
In the Attic of the Universe
Burst Apart
Singles from Hospice
  1. "Bear"
    Released: April 2009
  2. "Two"
    Released: June 22, 2009
  3. "Sylvia"
    Released: March 22, 2010

Hospice is the third studio album by American indie rock band The Antlers, and their first concept album. It was initially self-distributed by the band in March 2009, and was eventually remastered and re-released once they signed to Frenchkiss Records in August of the same year.[2][3]


Set in New York City's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, which the second track is named after, Hospice tells the story of a relationship between a hospice worker and a female patient suffering from terminal bone cancer, their ensuing romance, and their slow downward spiral as a result of the woman's traumas, fears, and disease.[4][5] The story of her deterioration also serves as a metaphor for an abusive relationship. Frontman Peter Silberman has been reluctant to divulge explicit details regarding the meaning of the record, and the extent to which it is autobiographical.[6]


Before the release of Hospice, the band recorded and released a 3-song EP titled "New York Hospitals" through their MySpace page in June 2008. While two songs from the EP were covers of songs by Magnetic Fields and Yo La Tengo, the song "Sylvia (An Introduction)" acts as a prologue to the events in Hospice, with the titular character and melody of the song becoming a recurring motif throughout the album.[7]

The first single was "Bear", released in April 2009 to promote the self-released version of Hospice. "Two" was the first single released commercially, as a digital download in June 2009. The song's music video features a combination of photography and cutout animation, and was directed by Ethan Segal and Albert Thrower.[8] In the United Kingdom, "Bear" was released on 7-inch vinyl on November 16, 2009, featuring an exclusive remix of "Bear" by Darby Cicci on the B-side.[9] Additionally, an exclusive live recording of "Sylvia" at The Orchard in New York City was released as a download on November 17, 2009.[10] "Sylvia" was issued as the third proper single on March 22, 2010. A music video was produced for the song, directed by Trey Hock, and premiered on the IFC's website on April 15, 2010.[11]

Reissue and 10th anniversary tour[edit]

On March 8, 2019, The Antlers reissued Hospice via Frenchkiss/Transgressive. The reissue was pressed on double white vinyl and featured updated artwork and packaging from artist Zan Goodman. The same year, The Antlers embarked on a 10th anniversary tour, playing the album in its entirety. However, Silberman's health concerns led them to perform acoustic versions of the songs during intimate shows in smaller venues. It was the band's first live performances since 2015. The tour officially marked the departure of multi-instrumentalist Darby Cicci.[12][13]


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
The A.V. ClubA−[16]
The Daily Telegraph[17]
The Guardian[18]
The Irish Times[19]

The album was released to critical acclaim. Pitchfork endorsed the re-release of Hospice with their "Best New Music" stamp.[21] NPR Music placed the album at number one on their list of the top ten albums of early 2009.[25] At the end of the year, Pitchfork placed it number 37 on their list of the best albums of 2009, praising its "power to emotionally destroy listeners."[26] Beats Per Minute named it the best album of 2009,[27] while Rhapsody deemed it the 24th best album of 2009.[28]

It sold 13,000 copies in the United States by October 9, according to Nielsen SoundScan.[29]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Peter Silberman. In the liner notes, all songs are given alternate titles.

1."Prologue" (Hospice)2:35
2."Kettering" (Bedside Manner)5:10
3."Sylvia" (Sliding Curtains Shining Children's Heads)5:27
4."Atrophy" (Rings Ill-Fitting)7:40
5."Bear" (Children Become Their Parents Become Their Children)3:54
6."Thirteen" (Sylvia Speaks)3:11
7."Two" (I Would Have Saved Her If I Could)5:56
8."Shiva" (Portacaths Switched)3:45
9."Wake" (Letting People In)8:44
10."Epilogue" (Sylvia Alive In Nightmares)5:25

Release history[edit]

Country Date Label Format Catalog no.
United States March 23, 2009 The Antlers Music CD 7 26167-4620-2 3
August 18, 2009 Frenchkiss Records CD (remastered) FKR041-2
LP FKR041-1
United Kingdom October 19, 2009 Frenchkiss/Studio !K7 CD FK041CD



  • Peter Silberman – vocals, guitar, accordion, harmonica, harp, keyboards
  • Darby Cicci – trumpet, bowed banjo
  • Michael Lerner – drums, percussion
  • Justin Stivers – bass
  • Sharon Van Etten – vocals on "Kettering," "Thirteen," "Two," and "Shiva"[30]


  • Recorded at Watcher's Woods, Brooklyn
  • Mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound
  • Original release mastered by Timothy Stollenwerk
  • Artwork by Zan Goodman
  • Design by Darby Cicci


  1. ^ a b Lymangrover, Jason. "Hospice – The Antlers". AllMusic. Retrieved July 1, 2010.
  2. ^ "Interview with Peter Silberman". Archived from the original on June 30, 2012. Retrieved July 4, 2009.
  3. ^ "The Antlers: An Album Review". Archived from the original on August 4, 2009. Retrieved July 4, 2009.
  4. ^ "The Antlers Hospice". exclaim.ca. Retrieved February 20, 2023.
  5. ^ "The Antlers' Hospice 10 years on: Tender, timeless concept album about death". The Irish Times. Retrieved February 20, 2023.
  6. ^ Ayers, Michael D. (August 21, 2009). "Interview: The Antlers' Peter Silberman on their strikingly haunting debut Hospice and those nagging Arcade Fire comparisons". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on August 5, 2022. Retrieved August 5, 2022.
  7. ^ Breihan, Tom (April 15, 2010). "The Antlers Share New Video, Free EP". Pitchfork. Retrieved July 24, 2023.
  8. ^ "The Antlers — "Two"". Chart Attack. Archived from the original on June 7, 2011. Retrieved August 19, 2009.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  9. ^ Antlers, The - Bear (7″) at Discogs
  10. ^ "Sylvia: Live at The Orchard NYC: The Antlers". Amazon.com MP3 Downloads.
  11. ^ Kim, Brandon (15 April 2010). "Exclusive! Video premiere: The Antlers' "Sylvia" + free EP!". IFC. Archived from the original on 18 April 2010. Retrieved 15 April 2010.
  12. ^ Minsker, Evan (January 16, 2019). "The Antlers Announce Tour, Hospice Reissue". Pitchfork. Retrieved October 1, 2021.
  13. ^ Ayers, Mike (September 1, 2021). "The Antlers: Easy Like Sunday Morning". Relix. Retrieved October 1, 2021.
  14. ^ "Hospice by The Antlers reviews". AnyDecentMusic?. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
  15. ^ "Reviews for Hospice by The Antlers". Metacritic. Retrieved July 1, 2010.
  16. ^ Kornhaber, Spencer (August 18, 2009). "The Antlers: Hospice". The A.V. Club. Retrieved May 7, 2016.
  17. ^ McCormick, Neil (November 18, 2009). "The Antlers: Hospice". The Daily Telegraph.
  18. ^ Hughes, Tom (October 22, 2009). "The Antlers: Hospice". The Guardian. Retrieved May 7, 2016.
  19. ^ Carroll, Jim (March 27, 2009). "The Antlers: Hospice (Self-release)". The Irish Times. Retrieved July 1, 2010.
  20. ^ "The Antlers: Hospice". NME. 2009.
  21. ^ a b Howe, Brian (August 4, 2009). "The Antlers: Hospice". Pitchfork. Retrieved July 1, 2010.
  22. ^ "The Antlers: Hospice". Q (281): 111. December 2009.
  23. ^ Fitzmaurice, Larry (August 2009). "The Antlers: Hospice". Spin. 25 (8): 84. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
  24. ^ "The Antlers: Hospice". Uncut (151): 98. December 2009.
  25. ^ Hilton, Robin (February 26, 2009). "2009 already better than 2008". NPR Music. Retrieved July 4, 2009.
  26. ^ "Staff Lists: The Top 50 Albums of 2009". Pitchfork. December 17, 2009. Retrieved December 17, 2009.
  27. ^ "The Top 50 Albums of 2009". Beats Per Minute. December 21, 2009. Archived from the original on August 30, 2012. Retrieved January 11, 2010.
  28. ^ "The 25 Best Albums of 2009". Rhapsody. December 29, 2009. Archived from the original on July 31, 2010. Retrieved July 31, 2010.
  29. ^ "Pitchfork Top 10 Albums, in US Sales". December 2009.
  30. ^ Kaloudis, Evan; Koepp, Brent (December 21, 2009). "Interview: Peter Silberman of The Antlers". Beats Per Minute. Retrieved October 15, 2013. Yep. She is on 'Kettering,' 'Thirteen,' 'Two' and 'Shiva.'