Tag: Funkadelic

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Brownout Releases a Swaggering Arena Rock Friendly Single

Over the course of this site’s nearly ten-year history — yes, ten years! — I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering the critically applauded, Austin, TX-based Latin funk-based outfit and JOVM mainstays Brownout. Now, as may recall the act was formed over a decade ago as a side project that has composed and arranged music that at points evokes the likes of WAR, Cymande and Funkadelic that features members of the Grammy Award-winning Latin funk act Grupo Fantasma. Interestingly, during that same period of time, the project has managed to evolve into its own unique, critically applauded effort, completely separate from the members primary gigs — while having a long-held reputation as being a highly sought-after backing band, collaborating with GZA, Prince, Daniel Johnston and Bernie Worrell.

Adding to a growing profile, the act has toured across the national festival circuit, playing at Bonnaroo, High Sierra Music Festival, Pickathon, Bear Creek Musical Festival, Utopia Festival, Pachanga Fest, and others in support of the act’s handful of EPs and their six full-length albums — 2008’s Homenaje, 2009’s Aguilas and Cobras, 2012’s Oozy, 2015’s Brownout Presents: Brown Sabbath,  2016’s Brownout Presents: Brown Sabbath, Vol. II and 2018’s Brownout Presents: Fear of a Brown Planet.  

Slated for a March 6, 2020 release through Fat Beats Records, the Steve Berlin-produced Berlin Sessions is the Austin-based JOVM mainstays’ full-length album of original material from the band in over eight years. Interestingly, while the album continues an ongoing collaboration with Berlin, it’s also the first album of original material featuring lead vocalist Alex Marrero, who collaborated with the band on the band’s successful Brown Sabbath albums. Sonically, the album reportedly finds the band drawing from and meshing a multitude of sounds and genres including rock, psych rock, Latin funk and breakbeat. 

The album evolved shortly after the Fear of a Brown Planet sessions. Recorded during hot Texas summer afternoons in Beto Martinez’s Buda, TX-based Lechehouse Music Studio, many of the album’s takes were recorded with the AC off — and with the temperature well past the 90s. And as a result, the sessions captured the enthusiasm, sweat and swiftness of a band eager to record their first batch of new, original material in close to a decade. “The ideas came swift and there was much experimentation in recording techniques and instrument usage,” Brownout’s Beto Martinez says in press notes. “Steve Berlin was very hands on with implementing new sounds and tones through effects or otherwise. I not only played on the record but recorded it at the same time. After placing mics and setting the recording gear, I had to play parts I had either just written or just learned all while watching meters and the tape machine to make sure it was all recording correctly with Steve Berlin sitting directly behind me. It was a nerve wracking and trying experience, yet a very fulfilling learning process.”

With the addition of Marrero as the band’s full-time vocalist, Brownout’s material features a lyrical depth and themes that the instrumental albums simply didn’t exude.  “As I started writing lyrics for Berlin Sessions, I noticed there were more abstract yet universal themes,” Brownout’s Alex Marrero says in press notes. “Writing in a way that doesn’t spell everything out directly. They can mean anything to anyone depending on what they need it to. Although seemingly ambiguous, all the songs ended up having a lyrical thread and thematic connection of stepping outside of your physical realm and connecting to a more universal energy.  Fighting for your individuality. Healing and processing our human emotions, connections and turmoil with a sense of awareness that we are still connected to something outside of what we consider ‘physical reality.’ It’s about overcoming your problems, the cards you’ve been dealt in life or just enhancing your personal connections by acknowledging we cannot be defined strictly by how the material world has laid ‘reality’ out to us; especially not societal norms and expectations. There is a bigger truth we just keep forgetting to look at. I don’t mean religion, I mean energy.”

The swaggering, arena rock friendly “Somewhere To Go” is Berlin Session’s first single. Centered around a propulsive and funky groove, the enormous horn section that they’re known for and Latin percussion, the song is an uplifting anthem that the band says is about tackling complacency by taking chances. 

Brownout will be celebrating the Berlin Sessions album release with a pair of shows at Austin’s 3TEN ACL Live on March 6, 2020 and March 7, 2020 with more national dates to be announced. “I think the history and evolution of this band is being captured and showcased well in our live shows,” Brownout’s Alex Marrero says in press notes. “We’re perfecting the marriage of the instrumental catalog of the band and the newer material where I can step away from the percussion and serve as full-on front man for the songs that require it. It makes for an exciting live performance.”

Over the course of this site’s eight year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the  Liverpool-based shoegaze quintet and JOVM mainstays The Vryll Society, and as you may recall, the band, which is comprised of Michael Ellis, Ryan Ellis, Lewis McGuinness, Lloyd Shearer, and Benjamin Robinson received attention from across the blogosphere with the release of an early collection of singles that drew from a diverse array of influences, including FunkadelicAphrodite’s Child, krautrock and classic shoegaze.

The Liverpool-based shoegazers’ long-awaited full-length debut Course Of The Satellite is slated for an August 10, 2018 and the album’s first single “Andrei Rublev,” which was inspired by  Andre Tarkovsky’s 1996  historical, arthouse film Andrei Rublev was a slow-burning and meditative song that found the band’s sound simultaneously nodding at shoegaze and 70s AM rock. Course of the Satellite‘s second and latest single “Light At The Edge Of The World” possesses a shimmering cosmic glow familiar to space rock and shoegaze with subtle prog rock leanings while centered around enormous hooks and some swirling and towering guitar work.

 

 

Originally formed by its founding duo Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and video director Peter Christopherson after the breakup of Throbbing Gristle in the early 1980s, Psychic TV (also known as Psychick TV or PTV) was conceived as an experimental video art and music project. Throughout each of its three incarnations, the project has included a diverse and rotating cast of collaborators including Coil, Current 93, Hafler Trio, The Cult, Soft Cell, Fred Giannelli, XKP, Master Musicians of Jajouka, Matthew Best, Abino Brolle, Daniel Simon Black, William Breeze, Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, Derek Jarman, John Gosling, Timothy Leary, Rose McDowall, Stephen Kent, Vagina Dentata Organ, Andrew Weatherill, Larry Thrasher, Z’EV, Zef NoiSe, Jeff Berner and a lengthy list of others. Interestingly, the project has a long-held reputation for relentless experimentation with its sound and aesthetic, and at one point for being incredibly prolific — with the release of a monthly series of live albums starting in 1986, the band earned an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records for most records released in one year.

Psychic TV’s latest effort Alienist can trace its origins back to 2009 when the project’s creative mastermind and primary member Genesis Breyer P-Orridge proposed that the band cover Funkadelic‘s “Maggot Brain” as a musical interlude while on tour. After that tour, the members of the band went into the studio to record their interpretation of “Maggot Brain,” that lead to the band recording a series of 12 inch records annually which included the band’s interpretation of a classic song on the A side and a new song on the B side. Mostly chosen by drummer and co-producer Edley ODowd, the band has covered Hawkwind‘s “Silver Machine,” Can‘s “Mother Sky,” and Captain Beefheart‘s “Dropout Boogie” among others. Alienist is the latest effort in their 12 inch series and the album includes the band covering Harry Nilsson‘s “Jump Into the Fire” and 60’s British psych rockers, The Creation’s “How Does It Feel to Feel,” one of Breyer P-Orridge’s all-time favorites, along with two original tracks “I’m Looking For You” and “Alienist,” a trippy, dance-floor friendly song that sounds as though it drew from Evil Heat-era Primal ScreamZooropa-era U2 and house music, while also channeling the project’s acid house experiments of the late 80s.

 

 

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Over the past few months, starting around the end of last year, you may recall coming across a couple of posts about Liverpool-based shoegaze quintet The Vryll Society. Comprised of Michael Ellis, Ryan Ellis, Lewis McGuinness, Lloyd Shearer, and Benjamin Robinson, the band was discovered by Alan Willis, the late founder of Deltasonic Records, who noticed potential in the band and guided the quintet through their development as a band and as songwriters. Over the course of the following year, the British shoegaze quintet locked themselves away in their rehearsal space, where they jammed and began writing material that was inspired by FunkadelicAphrodite’s Child, krautrock and classic shoegaze.

Coshh,” the second single off the band’s debut EP Pangea had the Liverpool-based quintet pairing a tight, motorik groove consisting of a wobbling bass line and propulsive four-on-the-floor-like drumming, shimmering guitar chords played through layers of reverb and effects pedals, atmospheric electronics, falsetto vocals, anthemic hooks and a cosmic sheen. “Self-Realization,Pangea‘s third single further cemented the quintet’s growing reputation for shimmering and anthemic shoegaze in an expansive and sprawling song that nodded at  The Verve, as the song structurally twisted, turned and bent at weird and unpredictable angles — with guitar work that also subtly nodded at Nick McCabe’s expansive and expressive sound.

Interestingly, “La Jette,” The Vryll Society’s latest single is a dreamier and ethereal single that hints at the contemporary obsession with the sound of 60s psych rock that sounds as though it draws from the likes of Elephant Stone, Sleepy Sun and others; in other words, shimmering and jangling guitar chords, ethereal vocals and a strutting bass line are paired together in the Liverpool-based quintet’s trippiest, most subdued  and most introspective song to date.