Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

Bonnaroo preview: Fearless Indie Rock from brakesbrakesbrakes

OK. These guys are really interesting. First off, front man Eamon Hamilton used to play with British Sea Power. Other members have played with Tenderfoot and Electric Soft Parade. Apparently, they used to be just The Brakes until they got big enough to bump up against a Philly-based American band that already had that name. They’ve now changed their name to brakesbrakesbrakes – but only in the U.S. That’s strategery.

Their sound is… hard to describe. If you listen to any one song, these guys are easy to digest. When you listen to an entire album, however, it gets confusing. In my opinion, The Brakes are at their best when they play punk-influenced Pop. The rough vocal delivery suits the hard and catchy guitar. Sometimes their sound gets softer and ranges more into mainstream Pop and even Indie (think Belle and Sebastian, only with testicles). Most of those are pretty cool too and some are absolutely beautiful. Then, inexplicably, they have several songs that are a Country/Southern Rock blend. And I mean Hank Williams country. Here they lose me, but I have to respect the earnestness with which they play these songs.

Their first album, Give Blood, includes my favorite 12-second song ever, Cheney. It goes, “Cheney! Cheney! Cheney! Cheney! Cheney! Cheney! Cheney! Stop being such a dick!” It also includes another short one, the born-to-be-a-ring-tone Pick Up the Phone. Give Blood contained a lot of rough-hewn Indie songs and a few polished Pop tunes, and generally gave the impression that these guys would be a lot of fun live. I think you will enjoy this song and video: All Night Disco Party.

Indie Rock, Punk, and Country? wtf?wtf?wtf?

Indie Rock, Punk, and Country? wtf?wtf?wtf?

Their second release, The Beatific Visions, shows greater maturity in both the songwriting and production. Sometimes the sequencing of the tracks leaves me scratching my head, but then I don’t know how you could put some of these songs on the same album without having incongruous switches. I like 5 of them enough to give them a permanent home on my iPod.

Hold Me in the River – Guitar dominates this song, and why not? Some guys spend their entire lives playing guitar and never concoct a riff this catchy. Regardless of what you may think after watching, James Cameron did not direct this video.
Isabel – Voice and solo acoustic guitar. What a sweet love song.
Beatific Vision – A straight up Pop song The La’s would be proud of. More video weirdness.
Porcupine or Pineapple – Coming in at 1:04, this ridiculous punk song makes me laugh and rocks out. It seems to discuss (albeit briefly) the pointlessness of war. I think James Cameron DID direct this one.
Cease and DesistThe lyrics to this song are off the chain, opening with God came down and said, ‘I’m fucking bored.’ Add another great guitar riff and it’s irresistible.

I will definitely be checking these guys out at the Roo, though it looks like the end of their set conflicts with Wilco. But then, that kind of scheduling conundrum is unavoidable at Bonnaroo, and I’ve seen Wilco…



May 28, 2009 - Posted by | Alternative, Indie, Popular, Rock

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