Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Darkly, the dark hand met his end

We are constantly being influenced by our experiences. And we hope that this enhances the way we deliver music to you so you can go on and influence those around you as well.

Mookie and The Little One are unabashed Brand New fans. So of course we were blown away by the new record, Daisy. We've got some new fans on our facebook page, namely Bradley Ball, who want to know if this album is any good. We take our reviews seriously sometimes, so we are working extra hard on this one. Just for you!

How about if we play you a sneak-preview, one of our favorites: Track 7, "Sink". You can go purchase their single, "At The Bottom", when you're done.

Download Brand New - Sink

Early on, it was reported that this album would be called and one head can never die. We passed that news on to you in one of our podcasts. In fact we even joked that it would be called The Second Coming of Christ! The boys changed their mind on the album title after giving Track 9 the title "Daisy." It was also reported that this album would be focused on what the band enjoys playing live, and be more of a matter of personal expression. Apparently, this bothered some fans.

Really? Is that because all you ever want to do when you see Brand New live is chant along with vindictive lyrics? It's amazing to both of us, the commentary from "fans". It's embarrassing to be included among Brand New fans when we read the majority of these comments. One proclaimed, "If it's anything like My Favorite Weapon then they've lost a fan for life."

Well, It might just be marginally like My Favorite Weapon. Lead singer Jesse Lacey was quoted by SPIN as saying "...I feel like a song like "Shower Scene," which is literally the first song we ever wrote, is more in the vein of our new album musically, with the exception of the lyrics. It's a pretty straightforward, loud, drop-beat rock song and it's got this weird, like, off-kilter bridge, and it's pretty much exactly the way we'd want to write a song now." Note the WE: Vin Accardi wrote most of this album.

In this way, Mookie likens Daisy to Nirvana's In Utero. "This is likely because I have been listening to In Utero a lot lately. If you listen to Daisy, you will catch some heavy punk/grunge riffs that are expertly placed over heavy drum work and between sweeping elegant guitar work. It works in my opinion," he says. The track "Sink" we offer to you today is one of the tracks that most resemble a Nirvana track, with its quiet/loud/quiet format.

The Little One says, "It sounds like My Favorite Weapon if it were produced by Omar Rodriguez Lopez." Speaking of being influenced by experience. Mookie & TLO got to experience the mind-melt that is a live Mars Volta concert and are now fascinated with the work that Omar does to lay down a record. Matter of fact, he also produced Juliette Lewis' newest release. She's split with The Lipps and formed a new band called The New Romantiques with whom she recorded Terra Incognita.

And getting back to the mind-melt of a live show, what could be more right than Brand New trying to make a record that they would want to play live? It only makes sense. Lacey says most of their songwriting has been done on acoustic guitar, despite recording the songs (obviously) on electric guitar. Then you get a record that sounds nothing like your conception, and though the fans have absolutely loved albums like The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me, it's gotta be frustrating to have this dichotomy of the end-product and the original brainchild.

We have seen Brand New a few times live, and we absolutely can't wait to see this album performed live. It's loud, and passionate. And yes, the sonic qualities you find on this record WILL result in a mind melt. Yes, we said mind melt again.

That's the music. Now, the lyrics. Mookie is also being influenced by reading the 33 1/3 series of books and the latest is "OK COMPUTER", written by Dal Griffiths. Mookie learned that sometimes just the use of certain words along with certain chords can invoke a strong emotion.
I've called this style of songwriting 'anti-lyric', where words are more like prose than like poetry, characterized more by the singularity of the words themselves rather than the way they fit in to the song as a whole.

"I had never really thought of that before, but it feels right in describing how I listen to the lyrics in songs." Mookie's favorite song so far seems to be "You Stole", for its beautiful angry/sexy guitar riffs.

The use of literature and poetry has always blown us away, and Brand New took it a step further this time. This interview that Lacey gave to SPIN was probably one of the best printed in a long time. He shared his hobby of collecting weird things, such as a collection of tapes from an estate sale. In it, he recognized a hymn he used to sing in church, and a scratchy recording of this hymn ("On Life's Highway") brackets the record. The band has always been interested in putting strange things on albums, and you can find more sound bytes placed here and there throughout the tracks.

One in particular is what is becoming one of The Little One's favorites from the album, "In A Jar." Mookie keeps telling her that every song is made up of the same four chords. He's been really getting into the guitar playing lately. But TLO can hear none of those chords in this track, and she likes it that way. This song has changes in tempo that the band has made legendary and obscure Biblical references that always delight - this time, coupled with other adages and historical references too.

These references are nothing new to the band... You can find parables, verses, poems, and such woven into all of the albums. But what should be most appreciated is how steadily this has progressed into a stronger message from a clearer head.

When I listen back to all of that stuff, I see mistakes I made, but also the sparks of something I was doing that was eventually going to be great. It's all very strange. We talk about it a lot. When we're just sitting around alone, the four of us -- we think about how this whole thing is so strange, and it just never stops being completely weird. --Jesse Lacey

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