After spending stints in notable Los Angeles-based acts like Blank Tapes, The Relationship, Levitation Room and Nacosta, Brandon Graham decided that it was time to step out into the spotlight in his own terms. Initially starting the Los Angeles-based psych rock outfit Dream Phases as a solo, home recording project, the project became a full-fledged band when Garham’s brother Shane and their friend Keveen Badouin assisted him in fleshing out the material he had written.
Creatively, the sibling bond between Brandon and Shane is at the heart of the band. “There is a special synergy between us that wouldn’t be there if we weren’t brothers,” Shane Graham says. “We share many of the same influences, but we also have some different ones as well that help make the band unique. We don’t always see eye-to-eye creatively, but then we work it out and end up with something we are both excited about.”
The then-newly launched band released their debut EP 2017’s Maybe Tomorrow, which was quickly followed by their full-length debut So Long, Yesterday. Both releases saw the band establish a sound that drew from The Byrds, The Beach Boys, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young — as well as acts like Rain Parade, Elliot Smith and Autolux among others. The band supported both of those efforts with touring that found the Los Angeles-based psych outfit replicating the dreamy vibes of their studio work with raw energy, light shows and other visual effects at SXSW and two European tours. “Our albums are very thought-out, but our live show is more primal and exciting in a different way,” Dream Phases’ Brandon Graham says in press notes. ““We never wanted to be a band that sounds exactly like it does on record.”
Dream Phases’ sophomore album New Distractions is slated for a November 10, 2021 release through Nomad Eel Records and Lunar Ruin and the album sees the band translating the experiences of its members into something compelling — and universal while pushing their sound into new directions. The album. which was written through email and Zoom meetings is also the first album, where it’s a fully collaborative affair with all of the band’s members having songwriting credits. “In the past I would make a fully fleshed out demo recording and then show the guys that,” Brandon Graham recalls. “With this one I mostly just wrote the skeleton of the song, like the lyrics, vocal, guitar and sometimes keys and then sent that. We talked about structure, rhythm, and other elements that brought the songs to life.”
“I think there’s a lot more self-reflection in these songs,” Brandon Graham says. “They were written during the COVID lockdown, and there was so much happening in the world that you really had to look at yourself in the mirror and ask where you stood on a range of issues. Several of the songs deal with growing older and taking care of yourself both mentally and physically, as well as learning to not take things for granted.” Matters of the heart also were a new emphasis for the material. “In my previous bands, I rarely if ever wrote about relationships, but it seems like every other song on this album is about them. I guess I’m trying to be more direct now,” Brandon Graham adds.
New Distractions‘ latest single is the dreamy “In A Box.” Seemingly indebted to Summer of Love era psych rock and 70s AM rock, the song is centered around shimmering, delay and reverb-drenched guitars, Brandon Graham’s plaintive falsetto and expansive song structure that starts out a bit brooding and gets increasingly hopeful as the song moves towards its conclusion. And while decidedly trippy, the song is informed by personal, lived-in experience as the band explains.
“‘In a Box’ was the first song written for New Distractions, in fact we played this song on our 2019 European tour. The song is about overcoming writers block, and searching for the inspiration to do just that. The chorus progressively get more hopeful as the joy of writing something new is felt. The accompanying music video was made by Matthew Lingo and Styles Wolff Baker and visualizes the journey through the sub conscious mind, searching for inspiration.”