We believe there aren’t many better things in life than discovering awesome new music. Music discovery is and always will be something that makes our lives worth living. Alongside holidays, sex, food, socialising and a handful of other human activities, it’s just one of those magical things that alleviates the brain from the usual stresses of life. Therapeutic activities such as these remove all concerns, making all those common thoughts about money, relationships and work evaporate from the mind. Evaluating music is also something a music blogger tends to do alone, allowing space and time to focus on the sounds on offer. Today’s recommendation is not only one packed with a soothing distraction from the mundanity of life, spinning the listener off on a journey of stress-free bliss, but it’s digested perfectly during those enjoyably thoughtful times when you are left alone with your headphones.
People often ask us how we discover our music and alongside many of the other music bloggers out there we have the traditional routes, such as friendly PR people sending out their wares, tips from mates or from associates within the music industry, direct contact from bands and of course going to gigs. Although there is a multitude of avenues open to a music blogger to allow them to satiate their hungry appetite for newness, there’s still something to be said for the organic approach. Simply clicking around online, sometimes randomly, can uncover something attractive. Soundcloud-hopping, ‘Bandcamp-ing’ or simply clicking link after link from other band’s pages, are popular ways to discover something that isn’t in anyone else’s conversation, with each of these various routes allowing blogs like ours the chance to deliver something genuinely new to our audience. Today’s find came onto our radar following our discovery of another band, Night Engine. Whilst we were in discussions with their manager he explained that Night Engine were headlining a show and an unknown artist called Brolin were supporting. With our ears flicked on we enquired further and Night Engine’s manager sent over some details accordingly. Our ears were duly rewarded with nothing short of pure discovery gold.
The British solo artist, Brolin, recently explained to us that he goes by the real name, Koko B. Ware. As fictional as that awesome name sounds (we have no idea if it’s real or not, but research took us to some random wrestler who takes a parrot everywhere with him – how’s that for a deflection!), we believe that Brolin is a rather simple yet fantastic moniker. A recent Guardian article, which briefly mentioned him and debuted the video to his first tune, NYC, a few days ago, explained that he doesn’t do interviews, yet The Recommender obtained a few A’s simply by posing the Q’s. Admittedly he wishes to remain anonymous, which might explain the Koko B. Ware synonym, earning early comparisons to Burial, which marries up the mystery and the minimal music that they both purvey. As yet another protagonist of the minimal, white soul sound, he is bound to earn comparisons with the likes of Ghost Loft or James Blake, with particular strengths being focussed on melody and an appealing attraction to his key changes throughout; something that requires significant skill by dressing a song this naked. Consider the emotion and appeal that we found when Blake covered Feist‘s Limit To Your Love and you will understand how the lightest of touches can still be touching.
With Brolin we have an artist who can write a tune with only about four things going on at once. Take the song, NYC, and you get a stripped-back example of his masterful productions, tightly controlling simplified elements in the song, yet making it as rich and endearing as anything you’re likely to hear this year. This debut single officially arrived on September 17th on the National Anthem label (who happen to be white hot this year following their releases of both HAIM and Chvrches). A useful remix was also completed by Sinkane, better known as a member of Yeasayer, which further proves the level of talent being recognized here. It’s still early days, but if the James Blake comparisons continue then we can join the predictions that suggest he could be a credible nomination for the BBC Sound Of 2013 Poll at the end of the year. Producers clearly agree, as he’s picked up studio time with the likes of David Pye (Wild Beasts/Egyptian Hip Hop) and Brolin is known to be collaborating with Luke Abbott on new tracks too. Another tune, that’s been lovingly handed to The Recommender as an exclusive new stream, is Lisboa. And if anything, it’s slightly better than the debut single.
We pointed out Brolin to a friend of The Recommender recently and he duly described him as “imagine James Blake covering Numb by U2“, which lends some insight, but there’s a far more contemporary feel to this. The new tune, Lisboa, continues the arresting chic sound, but this time with a set of singular heavy piano notes that patiently match the beat, strutting behind his calming voice. It leaves you breathless, and you too can have your breath duly removed by catching his debut live performance at the aforementioned show supporting the exciting band, Night Engine, (who have also remixed his NYC tune), at The Sebright Arms in Bethnal Green, on Wednesday 17th October. For such intimate music it will be interesting to see how it feels when witnessed in a crowded room. And it will be crowded, as A&R folks will do well to attend a hot ticket such as this, so expect the industry to make up half the audience. As we mentioned, there’s little better in life than discovering new music, but if it’s your job to then you have no excuse for missing this gig. All going well the rest of the country will soon be discovering Brolin for themselves, as although his music is touching and personal, this find was an experience so exciting that it’s impossible not to pass it around. (MB)
BROLIN – NYC
BROLIN – LISBOA