Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Brosby Kills and Kash on Eastern-Watts Records
This single came to me via Chris from Unread Records, this one from a new label Eastern Watts Records. Their first one is a 3 song EP from Brosby, Kills and Kash.
This sleeve feels nostalgic, there's something about 2 pieces of color xerox surrounding the vinyl that just says, 'We want to keep this small and intimate.' Like the late '90s, those 'Asshole' Sebadoh sleeves were xeroxed and crayon colored in. You can do it inexpensively and have more of a personal connection with the artist.
This collage masking tape framed photo of the moon reflecting that water, it looks exactly like an old Eric's Trip single or Palace music variation. An immediate loneliness there, you can already hear the single acoustic bouncing over that dark water.
Lonely is the Night on the A-Side is uptempo strumming of single notes pounded out (almost Barlow style) that turns into a layered complex weave of melody and three part harmonies, it's one of those tracks that's always been all about the vocals. The minimal instrumentation is the barest of foundation for the vocal setup. There's a little '70s road feel to it, you get that they're actually going for that supergroup classic rock American sound.
'If we get back to San Francisco...'
A clap stomping rhythm drives this one, it's that deluxe heavily choreographed, upper register singalong on the highway, keep the spirits up on the trail track...a warm electric solo comes in with a harmonica and electronic(?) mouth harp.
It eventually slows down to a crawl as they pull in and transition's to 'Old Brigade', there are more harmonies here, but they've transitioned into some lonesome accordion chords panned back and forth across the speakers and closer mic'd vocals. There's a lot of room in the recording and this close vocal style is almost a little like Sam Beam's. The quiet moments of just a slow nylon acoustic melody being plucked out, right before the instrumentation starts back in again is one of those great moments where holding back nails it home. The guitars sound just slightly out of tune, the strings periodically bent slightly, and the 'boom' and 'pow' whispered vocals are a great scratch percussion track that definitely belongs in this final cut. The whole bands harmony comes in right at the end, a sort of choir moment right before it fades out.
The B-Side's 'Joy to the World' as with all good B-Side's gets a little more experimental with a foundation of live room sounding drums. When the chorus vocal 'Joy to the World' starts it's a slowed down, deep vibrato with these minor piano chords, the entire thing could have been pitch shifted somewhere along the way, but it's far from any kind of church hymn. There's a distortion hissy undertone running underneath the whole track which threatens to fall apart. The piano eventually running off in fisted chords, the distortion gets thicker and the vocals adds more layers of this monster chorus. It's a hymn to some kind of collapse, the last minutes before the end.
It all fades away to reveal a little bit of sunshine at the end, with a simple acoustic melody and buried piano. They leave the listener thankfully with some kind of hope.
They have a unique take on the home recorded experimental folk sound, and the name says it all, they pay a kind of homage to that power '70s harmony classic rock sound while pulling out some tricks to keep it anything but.
Kevin is one of the members of BKK and the founder of Eastern Watts Records. This whole venture sounds very familiar, loving the format and deciding to throw his hat in the ring according to this interview.
Get it from the Eastern Watts Records site.