Wednesday, October 20, 2010
CMJ - Br'er at Lit Lounge - 10-19-10
I caught up with Darian from Edible Onion Records at the Lit Lounge for his show with Br'er, it was a perfect compliment to Emanuel earlier in the day, the classical instrumentation at this intimate venue...well maybe that's not exactly the right word...the Lit Lounge basement is barely one step up from the Charleston...there's some weird couches built into caves areas. At least there's a bar in the back, but it's what makes NY venues great, use every crazy possible space.
Benjamin Schurr is the mastermind and vocalist behind Br'er and they brought an eclectic array of instrumentation, Benjamin was at points playing a harmonium and kick drum while Darian switched mid song between glockenspiel and bass clarinet. The recordings are just bases to jump off with completely different live reinterpretations. On a track I didn't recognize, the cellist, out of nowhere, created that saw-like high warble with a sustained operatic soprano vocal.
Br'er is densely packed with metaphorical imagery, and Benjamin ranges from a quiet controlled vibrato to an impassioned tortured delivery. Lyrically unsettling, they do everything to separate themselves from any kind of sentimental, comfortable pop. It's full of Siamese twins and strangely ugly things that have a voice. They have a single minded direction that isn't like anything else.
It's like you stepping into that forgotten sideshow tent on the edge of the carnival, like Neutral Milk Hotel, Br'er is taking you in bizarre emotional directions with sounds you're unlikely to hear together like this.