Wednesday, September 5, 2007

no more lies

Now that I'm moved in and finally settled, I feel as though I can breathe, and by breathe I mean write about something other than my daily music news daytime job. See, I've sort of half-heartedly decided that this blog is going to be of an output of daily (er, weekly) thoughts, and then have music play a part in there somehow. Frankly, I guess most of my thoughts have something to do with music anyways. It's a large part of my life, and even if it isn't the forefront of my mind, it's always a soundtrack in the back.

I heard from an acquaintance last week that I hadn't heard from in some time. When I first started this whole adventure, there was a handful of bands that I really latched on to, thinking most, if not all, would make it and I'd be able to be there with them along the way. I had all these hopes of Almost Famous like experience--a chick on the road with a crazy rock band, living the life and learning about life along the way. Anyways, this band and I saw differences about what "success" was, and as time went on, we both went our separate ways. There was no bad blood, of course. I can't keep those sorts of things on my conscious.

So turns out this band had some good news, and yet when I heard the news I wasn't surprised nor pleased. Partly, it came at a time where I was still juggling a million things at work, but also because so much time had gone and so many things had changed. I had changed. I've seen a number of bands I know go on to bigger and better things, and not to disservice those bands by any means, it's just sort of happened. And this band changed, and unfortunately not for the better in my opinion. There are still a number of bands left in New York that are still going after an image these days. I'm learning more and more each day how this industry works. There's a dark side. And I'm trying my best not to be part of it.

So I've sort of grown up, I guess you can say. I was 19 when I started this whole magazine/blogging adventure and now I'm making a living reporting about a scene that I hardly knew existed a few years before that. I learn a lot. I make a lot of mistakes. But somewhere in all of that there are these few surprises that help remind you that it's worth it, there's still something good out there.

The point of all this is that there is a band that I heard at the very beginning of it all, that I still believe in. And so it goes...

A Brief Smile has, I guess, grown up alongside me. Not much younger than I am, and still sticking with it, this band has been a constant for me, I can't even count how many times I've seen them live. Their latest effort, Now We All Have Horns in a way exemplifies every thing I've said above. This band has, for a lack of a better word, matured. They've found their sound. It's almost hard to put into words what that sounds like, but if you could put to music a certain "comfort" or "acknowledgment" Now We All Have Horns is it.

The band wrote, played, recorded, and produced every aspect of the album. Listening to it now is one of those a-ha moments, knowing all along they had this in them. Songs like "Vicious" and "Big Sky" had become live favorites for some time now, but hearing "Ladies And Gentlemen," "Tairs In The Cloth" or the instrumental noisiness of "red Giant 1406" and "Blue Star 2587" shows just how far both of us have come. I am a pop-music baby, a former teenybopper, who would not "get" this music, let alone listen to it on repeat. But I can find the talent and the heart in this. It's them. The long instrumental introductions, the wailing guitars, the cold-shoulder lyrics, and those grand ideas. And me? Well, after learning what "shoegaze" music actually meant, I've become quite fond of it.

And with that, the evolution of a band is heard through tiny speakers in a half-empty apartment. I listen to Now We All Have Horns with a certain sigh of relief. There's hope yet. And so much more time for even more discovery.

Check out their new website at Upcoming shows include a slot during Jukebox The Ghost's residency at Pianos on September 14, followed by their record release party at Midway on October 4.

With that said, here's some exclusive premieres of tracks off A Brief Smile's new album Now We All Have Horns.

  • A Brief Smile - Never Have The Time
  • A Brief Smile - Ladies And Gentlemen
  • A Brief Smile - Vicious

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