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Radiohead would dig Brooks. Lots. This really fine release drops out of the sky with songs that resonate like The Bends or Rufus Wainwright’s simmering 1998 debut – thoughtful tracks packed with cool instrumentation, evocative, weirdly funny lyrics and an uncanny knack for making ears prick up. Brooks’ gorgeous, powerful voice echoes Thom Yorke but has plenty of soft and jagged nuances all his own. There’s nothing timid or withdrawn about Spill, which seems drawn from a much deeper well than most stuff out there. Lay some of the credit on producer/multi-instrumentalist Paul Hoaglin (The Mother Hips/Sensations) who gives everything a lush wash worthy of Lee Hazelwood or George Martin. A nice range of moods prevails, from the handclap rush of “Lathered In Cream” to the string-boosted corridors of “Hit Me Like A Smile.” It’s easy to see this becoming someone’s favorite album. Brooks recklessly reaches into his own chest in an effort to grab your heart. Let him and you won’t be sorry.
Prime Cuts: “Ex-Stripper Librarian,” “Love On My Sleeve” – JamBase
These days, one of the benefits of being an adult is you get to enjoy a better class of pop music than the kids. It’s never been like this before. When I was a mere whippersnapper, too many years ago, I could happily sneer at the old folks listening to their crappy records, safe in the knowledge that I was plugged directly into the good stuff – and there was plenty of it to go ‘round, too. Now everything’s been turned on its head. The kids – poor bastards – get shovelled pre-packaged plinky-plonky arse gravy, and I’m still getting the quality gear. In fact, I’m having to introduce, instruct and educate my own kids in the pure unfettered joy of proper pop thrills, and today’s lesson folks is Brad Brooks. A contemporary and buddy of Chris von Sneidern (Chris, long time no hear…), Brooks is the archetypal 21st century pop maverick, beavering away with limited funds and a modest audience, but with plenty of time on his hands to get things just right. He borrows liberally from the past – think Beatles, Left Banke, Brian Wilson and some of Queen’s pomp and splendour – and completes the mix with modern influences like Rufus Wainwright and Thom Yorke at his most melodic. Needless to say, it hardly seems rocket science fusing the styles of some of the most talented and popular artists of the last 40 years, but that doesn’t quite explain why it sounds so damn good, and that so few other people seem to be doing it with quite the same zeal and, dare I say, panache. For those of you with your ears correctly tuned, I suggest that, without further delay, you check out Brooks’ MySpace page, and when you’ve agreed with everything I’ve said, purchase in the manner that suits. – Rob F.
Une chose est sure avec Brad Brooks, il a un certain sens du dramatique. Scott Walker vient a l’espirit. Apres une intro theatrale, ca rock, c’est puissant et sans cliché. Après ca tourne elegamment au pop drama. Une certaine legerete attend l’auditeur au morceau suivant, “The Loon Of Altitude”, dont la fin aurait fait la joie de Tom Waits. “Hit Me Like A Smile” vient ensuite, de la pure poe`sie musicale. “Katrina Is A Bitch” sonne douncement folk, malgrè le titre, puis on a “The Sonic Twins”, un retour bienvenu à un power pop rock. Avec “Pleading Amnesia”, on a finalement une touche de Pink Floyd. Pour terminer, Brad Brooks se met seul au piano, tel un pianiste de bar quand tout le monde est parti. La derniere phrase est “When the world comes into view the world is love”.
translation into english – One thing is sure with Brad Brooks, he has a sense of drama. Scott Walker comes to mind. After a theatrical intro the music is powerful and without being cliché then elegantly turns to pop drama. A certain lightness expects the listener to the next song, “The Loon Of Altitude”, the end would have the joy of Tom Waits. “Hit Me Like A Smile” comes next, the pure musical poetry. “Katrina Is A Bitch” sounds soft folk, despite the title, followed by “The Sonic Twins”, a welcome return to power pop rock. With “Pleading Amnesia” is finally a touch of Pink Floyd. Finally, Brad Brooks goes solo piano as a piano bar when everyone is gone. The last sentence is “When The World Comes Into view the world is love.”
And now for something completely different. Brad Brooks stretches the boundaries of power pop with Spill Collateral Love, a tour de force of different pop stylings that share the same level of inspiration. I’ve seen comparisons of Brooks to a number of different artists, with the consensus being that he’s Freddie Mercury meets Guided by Voices. There’s certainly an element of that in there, but there are several others that shine through. For example, the leadoff track “Love On My Sleeve” builds to a Rufus Wainwright via Thom Yorke crescendo that never wears out its welcome over nearly six minutes. “Lathered In Cream” is the closest to straight-ahead power pop, but it adds its own subversive GbV element as well. Other standouts include “The Loon of Altitude” (which starts off as a poppy-California-sounding ditty, only to dissolve into a “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” wall of sound, only to dissolve again into some ragtime piano with unintelligble whispers), “Francis of Alaska” (Freddy & Rufus again), the near-jangle of “The Sonic Twins”, and the 40s-style crooning of the finale “Luccurious Latitude”. Spill Collateral Love is the power pop equivalent of an art film, and although it my lack the immediate hooks that we normally deal in here, it’s worth the effort to explore. Absolute Powerpop
An absolute dream of an album! The fecundity of Brook’s true blue pop gift will positively flood you the moment you press play. I am a sucker for eclecticism and Brooks provides variety in spades. And what blistering entertainment – from chamber pop to guitar pop to music hall to modern balladry to country-folk and so on… the instrumentation is world class: real strings illuminate the proceedings like a breath-taking sunrise.
Hyperbole aside – this is an essential album for every pop music lover. Encore, maestro!
KEY TRACKS: Love On My Sleeve, Ex-Stripper Librarian, Hit Me Like A Smile, Francis of Alaska
SOUNDS LIKE: Queen, XTC, the Beatles, Brian Wilson, Pink Floyd, Kinks, Jason Falkner, Radiohead Power of Pop
For those of you who enjoy your pop on the baroque side, the new Brad Brooks album will definitely be your cup of tea. “Spill Collateral Love” contains a flood of orchestral and harmonic details with those guitar power chords. “Love on my sleeve” is a good track that recalls the hypnotically repeated guitar chords from Beatles’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy).” This is followed by “Lathered in Cream,” a bouncy, hook-filled classic slice of power pop and the obvious “single” on this album – unfortunately that’s it for the high energy songs. The rest of the album takes a rather moody turn. It begins with the melancholic “Ex-stripper Librarian” that sounds alot like a great Stephen Trask show ballad. “The Loon of Altitude” and “Francis of Alaska” mixes a bit of classic piano and Vaudevillian styled narrative rock that recalls Jellyfish’s best moments. In fact, Brooks sings his heart out on this album with an emotional resonance resembling Freddy Mercury or 10cc. I’m sure there is a full story connecting all these songs, with arcane run-on-sentence lyrics like, “..this town is a crazy playground of lost daisies are chaining…,” I’ll need to listen to it more. When we get to “The Sonic Twins” we get back to the classic Brad Brooks sound for a bit, before the album contiunes with the harmonica driven “Pleading Amnesia” that sounds like it would fit well on Pink Floyd’s The Final Cut or any Guided By Voices album. The album ends with “Luxurious Latitude” a fitting music-hall styled ending. It’s good to shake things up a bit and have power pop not so cheery, but very dramatic and visceral. Listen to this album streaming at Not Lame to hear it all. – Powerpopaholic
[quote]WARNING – MACH II: Challenging, high-reaching music may be dangerous to your culture-dulled ears![/quote]
Okay, now that we have those public service announcements out of the way, let’s talk about dangerous pop. Power Poppin’ music that forgoes conventions, leaves behind simple accepted formulas and aspires to the tattooed indie rock crowd who has no idea that a Raspberry, a Jellyfish or a Big Star has everything to do with timeless music and nothing to do with fruit and stardom. Not Lame has a special deal going on right now for this amazing release, as well. Go to this link to listen to a stream out on this album and find out what kind of extra, exclusive goodies we have for you! Not Lame
So what does it all sound like? Well, if you are familiar with the works of Jon Brion’s “Meaningless” you are heading in the right direction. “Spill Collateral Love” is work of big and beautifully sublime creations for people who want their music to comfort, enrich themselves – not entertain. The spirit here is intoxicating. The music moods are kaleidoscopic without being trippy because we’re talking pop music and all the arrangements fit snug inside the vision. You can hear it above, in fact. ONE OF 2007’s VERY VERY BEST, we are most serious on this one.
[quote] Undeniably talented singer songwriter struggles to stamp his own identity on his music:[/quote]
There is a certain something about Brad Brooks that makes you want to dismiss him and his album straight away. A singer songwriter, originally from Tucson, Arizona, the music that Brooks creates, on first listen at least, seems somewhat one dimensional and the tracks that do stick around a while in your head seem too derivative to be given any real credence.As you give Spill Collateral Love a closer listen, it becomes clear that the problem with this album is that it paints a somewhat blurred picture of who Brad Brooks is and what he’s trying to say with his music. Opening track Love On My Sleeve, though relatively simple, evokes so many other artists all at once – Elliot Smith, Rufus Wainwright, Keane, etc. – that it becomes difficult to concentrate on the fact that it’s actually quite a good, atmospherically moody song in it’s own right. In fact, aside from the upbeat guitar driven Lathered In Cream, the sun-drenched The Loon Of Altitude, which again inescapably evokes thoughts of Elliot Smith, and the Counting Crows-esque track The Sonic Twins, atmospherically moody serves as a suitable description for the album as a whole, with the weapon of delivery alternating between piano and guitar.Spill Collateral Love does contain some genuinely good songs, in particular Francis Of Alaska and the intriguingly titled Ex-Stripper Librarian, but it’s almost as if Brooks is trying a bit too much at once for it to be an altogether enjoyable listen. Worth checking out though. Subba-Cultcha
The telltale self-indulgence of the third track here, “Juliette Lewis’s Day Off”, a fantasy from the point of view of a movie crew worker having an affair with the actress, is the early clue to Brad Brooks’s biggest influences, and later songs make them come through loud and clear. Brooks is the kind of guy whose favorite Beatles period would be the all-studio, post touring era. Who would buy a boxed set of nothing but Brian Wilson’s unfinished noodlings. Whose favorite Tears For Fears album would be Seeds of Love with all it’s over-the-top production and bells and whistles. And who would hold XTC all the more close to his heart for Andy Partridge’s stubborn refusal to venture out of the studio with his band. You get the picture.Now, there is nothing wrong with any of those things. Indeed, at least one of those descriptions applies to me. But…You just knew there was a “but”.Though his references to their blueprints are obvious, Brooks has not built a very fine house on their foundations. This is all pop, pop, but without (forgive me) the fizz, fizz. The effervescence, excitement or exhilaration those bands supplied in their highest flights is in small quantities here.The unfortunate but true reason is that by waving their banners high, Brooks has invited comparison with Lennon, McCartney, Wilson, Orzabal, Smith and Partridge as songwriters. And that is a promise he cannot keep. “All My Favorite Bands Broke Up”, for example, gives us the not-exactly-heartstopping line “I don’t understand why bands die and do they cry?” and is otherwise given over to a list of those favorite bands. I’ll give him credit for listing ABC, Spandau Ballet and even Kajagoogoo — but I’ll withdraw it if he’s being ironic. (Irony is so ’90s, don’tcha know.)This CD is…well, it’s the damnedest thing, is what it is. Splashing musical and lyrical ideas onto a cinema-scope sized canvas, it leaves you with a picture that is always interesting, if not always as developed or refined as one might like. I would likely hire Brooks as a producer-arranger, but as a songwriter he needs to make a few more trips to the well.Note: This CD may be difficult to find. It wasn’t listed at any of the four online CD services I checked, and Brooks’s own web site wasn’t helpful at all. However, if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area (as does Brooks) and you’re curious, it seems to be available in record stores there.
Brad Brooks solo debut CD is an elaborate fusion of west coast baroque, melodic pop aesthetics and wispy psychedelia. A nice combination, and one that is rooted in the music of ’60s and ’70s Anglo-pop geniuses like The Zombies, 10cc and Wings, with just a hint of some modern practitioners, such as Chris von Sneidern and even Ocean Colour Scene. Upfront pop songs are at the forefront of the album, and Brooks is an accomplished writer, always engaging the listener with catchy hooks and clever lyrical twists. Much of the material is piano based which only adds to the ’70s ambience and the best songs on Sanctified Into Astroglide – “Frosty Chronic Memories”, “The Velvet Flu” and “Mildred Cross” – deserve a much wider audience. Rob Forbes (Leicester Bangs, UK)
Brooks is a mid-tempo, piano-based pop magician who originally hails from Tucson, Ariz., home of nothing. If his latest album, Sanctified in Astroglide (Mouth Magic), is any indication of what is to be expected live, he could be the talk of the festival. Or he could be an unmitigated disaster. Brooks’s quasi psychedelia-meets-West Coast baroque owes to obvious influences like Brian Wilson and the Zombies, but it owes just as much to the bombast of ELO and Wings (the only thing more embarrassing than McCartney’s solo output). Disconcerting? You bet. Either way, it’s a must-see.
Most likely to: Own a copy of Pipes of Peace.
BRAD BROOKS Sanctified Into Astroglide [Mouth 1=”Magic” ] www.Brad-Brooks.com Sci-fi pop. Edgy, angular, oddball but always with melodic quotient intact. Psychedelic John Lennon, Traffic, Smile-era Brian Wilson, the Move, Syd Barrett, Robyn Hitchcock, XTC, Teardrop Explodes and Blur — y’know pop with a distinctive flavour. Mildred Cross, Second Only To Nature, Barking Dogma and Juliette Lewis Day Off attest to Brook’s way with quirky tunes, spacey effects, studiocraft and a healthy dose of fun. The last 3 tracks end on a rootsy note but, what can I tell ya – it works! (8)
Brad Brooks is a San Francisco singer-songwriter who has been working the in mines of the local music scene for years, in addition to earlier musical stints in his hometown of Tucson Arizona. Finally coming to terms with hiswell-versed pop music acumen, Brooks has assembled a fine collection of compelling mid-tempo pop on his debut album “Sanctified Into Astroglide”. With the help of various Bay Area musicians, Brooks has melded his piano-based songs into rich, complex and sometimes psychedelic songscapes with sweetly melodic 60’s and 70’s pop overtones.
“Frosty Chronic Memories” has a distinct Zombies flair with its soft vocals and rich gliding piano, while the punchy “Juliette Lewis Day Off” is pure 70’s pop indulgence ala 10cc and Queen. Equally adept at just guitar and vocals,
Brooks offers a change of pace with the sweet, stripped-down “Mildred Cross”, perhaps the album’s most memorable track. As if searching for even more variety, “Sanctified’s” later tracks astroglide into mid-tempo pop that is almost country-tinged. Certainly not lacking influence and ability, Brad Brooks is a pop solo artist on the rise, who will hopefully take his pop appeal beyond the reaches of the Bay Area.
On his singularly titled self released album “Sanctified Into Astroglide”, Bay Area singer-songwriter Brad Brooks favors a complex approach – major chords, tambourines, acoustic and electric guitars, pianos, calloipes, third-year music theory chord progressions, and layers upon layers of sugary backing vocals – the end result of which is a very pleasant 13-song pop toothache. Brooks takes notes from ’90s pop fiends like Guided by Voices and Matthew Sweet, but still holds old-school syrup-mongers like 10cc, Wings, Supertramp, and XTC close to his chest. “Sanctified Into Astroglide” is a promising recording from a rising Bay Area songsmith.
Some artists have great ideas. Some have great songs. Brad Brooks has both. Quiet, yet powerful, Brad’s music is very compelling. Complex vocal arrangements, excellent instrumentation and just plain old fashioned quality songwriting that grabs the cynic in you and kicks its ass. If you like the Eels, Elliot Smith, Brian Wilson, and the softer side of Jellyfish, Brad Brooks is your next pop crush.
If you could take sunshine, collect it in a jar, and then pour the incandescent liquid over piano keys and unplugged guitars and chiming tambourines, you might end up with a Brad Brooks song. All those dream-inducing Beach Boy harmonies and syrupy slow music combine to sound like a summer day when the gentle breezes keep the heat away and gently brush the hairs on your face.
ist eines dieser Alben, die man sich wegen ihrer Vielschichtigkeit schon ein paar Mal zu Gemüte führen muss. Der aus Tucson, Arizona, stammende Brad Brooks (ehemals Pollo Elastico) hat sich für sein Debüt von vielen Seiten inspirieren lassen. Ein Fixpunkt sind die an die Beach Boys angelehnten Gesangsharmonien, die immer wieder in den dreizehn Songs auftauchen. Zum Beispiel im wunderprächtigen «Second Only To Nature» oder dem behutsamen «All My Favorite Bands Broke Up», in dem Brad die Auflösung seiner Lieblingsbands betrauert. Dass dazu Kajagoogoo und Twisted Sister gehören sollen, kann er aber nicht ernst gemeint haben?! Die Eröffnungsnummer «Frostic Chronic Memories» mit dem schönen Pianopart könnte man sich auch von den Ben Folds Five vorstellen, wenn es die noch geben würde. «Juliette Lewis Day Off» ist purer Psych-Power-Pop à la Jellyfish. Ein Tabla (arabische Trommeln) und ein Mismar (eine Art Mischung aus Klarinette und Trompete) geben «Mildred Cross» orientalisches Flair. Überdies finden sich auf «Sanctified Into Astroglide» auch noch folkige Elemente, Alt-Country, bluesige Parts oder wie in «Misfortune» fast grungige Züge. Hier beweist Brad Brooks die Wandelbarkeit seiner Stimme, die im besagten Songs ziemlich rau daherkommt. Trotz dieser Vielschichtigkeit klingt «Sanctified …» aber nie zerrissen, sondern eher wie ein unterhaltsamer Trip durch den Mikrokosmos eines Pop-Lovers!! (rpa) Robert Pally
translation into english – is one of those albums that is due to their complexity has already lead to heart a few times. A native of Tucson, Arizona, Brad Brooks(formerly Pollo Elastico) drew inspiration for his first of many pages. A fixed point, the style similar to the Beach Boys vocal harmoniesthat appear repeatedly in the thirteen songs. For example, in the beautiful magnificent “Second Only To Nature” or the gentle “All MyFavorite Bands Broke Up” in which Brad mourned the dissolution of his favorite bands. Kajagoogoo and that this should includeTwisted Sister, but it may not have meant seriously? The opening number, “Frostic Chronic Memories” with the beautiful piano part, one could also imagine the Ben Folds Five, if it would give. “Juliette Lewis Day Off” is pure psych-power pop à la Jelly Fish. A tabla (Arabicdrum) and a Mismar (a kind of mix of clarinet and trumpet) give “Mildred Cross” oriental flair. Moreover, can be found on “Sanctified IntoAstroglide” even folky elements, alt-country, bluesy parts or as in “Misfortune” almost grungy trains. Here, Brad Brooks proves theversatility of his voice, which comes in the song suggests pretty rough. Despite these complexities sounds “Sanctified …” but neverbroken, but rather as an entertaining trip through the microcosm of a pop-Lovers! (RPA) Robert Pally