Monday, June 22, 2009

Br'er on Edible Onion Records

Darian from Edible Onion records asked if I wanted to give one of these super handmade releases a listen. I'm seriously grateful he was able to send me one of these Br'er singles which are limited to just 300...the work that went into this is really impressive.
Both sides of the sleeve have windows of vellum where a painting on inner sleeve shows through. There are even painted cutout cardstock inserts with credits handwritten on the reverse. Not even the vinyl single itself escaped painting, the inner label is color coded and lettered as well.

The handmade painstaking quality of the sleeve absolutely reflects what's happening on the record. It completely adds to the entire experience of this's this delicate object that was literally painted by someone hundreds of times in their apartment, in countless steps of complication...drying, cutting,'s preparing you for the work...the blood and tears that went into the songwriting.

Benjamin Schurr has an amazing vocal quality on both of these sides, it's what I keep coming back to over and over. The thing I can't get over to even pay attention to the's really the focus, for me, on both of these tracks. He's got an intimate high falsetto voice...a little more conventional than say a completely schizophrenic Xiu Xiu, or hoarse cracking Conner Oberst but it has all the epic tragedy. The content of someone completely stripped bare, and (pun intended) ....pulling it off.
There can be too much sharing, and this confessional intimacy can easily fall apart if not just carefully finessed. It's a careful combination of ingredients. It's nothing you can even know if you have it or not. Is that 'have-it' going to be different with everyone? I don't think so...I think when someone is completely sincere in their openness, it shows in the music. It helps to be have an ear for arrangement, to be skilled at composition, when you open up your diary to the world, and it better be honest. There's nothing easier to write off then being overly self aware....who wants to listen to an egotist? Himself.

As much as I'm really examining the vocals and why something like this is immediately of the caliber of Jeff Magnum, I do want to get into the orchestration which is insanely complex, and when I say orchestration, I mean it, I'm not just referring to an arrangement of the guitars and bass. This is an array of weird percussion, a beat consisting of multiple objects being struck in odd time. There's a harp, a saw...nothing ever gets gimmicky, or overused. You wonder what got these guys together in Philadelphia to construct this. It all works under a pop umbrella, but the pieces are impossible to pin down. Like watching a choir ring those bells individually, each person plays one ringing doesn't even make sense on an individual level. I know they have to be amazed listening to their own song. It's a magic trick every time.

It's completely live sounding, this has been recorded all at once in a room, and there's no tour dates listen on Br'er's website and I'm beginning to wonder if, like with everything too great to be true, everyone has since moved on to other projects. This being so taxing emotionally and musically, they couldn't keep that kind of effort up forever, and it just collapsed under it's own weight. God, I'm writing their obituary already...they just have me in that tragic mood, where the most beautiful things are the availability of this single.

Get it on Edible Onion

Side A
I'm A Kid Again (Geltabs Version)

Side B
I'm Sorry Mom (Angelic Version)

Edible Onion is proud to announce its first vinyl release, a 7" single from Br'er, featuring alternate recordings of "I'm a Kid Again" and "I'm Sorry Mom." The two tracks orginally appeared on Br'er's debut full length "Of Shemales and Kissaboos," and have long been audience favorites in Br'er's live sets.

The version of "I'm a Kid Again" featured on the 7" was orignally recorded by Audio Confusion in Mesa, Arizona, during Br'er's first US tour. "I'm Sorry Mom" was recorded mostly live by Dan Angel in Philadelphia on his digital sixteen track. The songs as they appear here capture the raw, chathartic sound that characterized the group's early live performances, and differ dramatically from their melancholy readings on "Of Shemales and Kissaboos."

As with every Edible Onion release, each "I'm a Kid Again/I'm Sorry Mom" 7" is packaged in handmade art. For this release, each record jacket has a hand painted outer jacket, with vellum windows cut out to reveal a hand painted inner jacket. The painting was done with a mixture of acrylic and watercolor paint on oak tag (outside) and American Masters printmaking paper (inside). All of the text is handwritten.

The release is being done in a limited run of 300 records.

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