It's always helpful when a new band telegraphs at least a bit about what it's about in its name. Take the Vancouver-based quartet known as Brasstronaut for example. The "brass" in the first part of the band's name hints that it has horns in its line-up and sure enough, Brasstronaut features trumpet/flugelhorn player Bryan Davies along with singer/pianist Edo Van Breemen, drummer Brennan Saul, and stand-up bassist John Walsh. The second part of the band's name hints that they're space travelers, which may be a misleading, because as you'll see and hear in the video clip below, Brasstronaut has its feet firmly on the earth, playing a brand its own brand of melancholic indie-rock with jazz, soul, and blues influences. (If you like the track, feel free to right click on the link below and hit "save as" to add it to your music library.)
I'm not sure if you caught the lyrics in that little ditty, but it seems as if Van Breemen is biting the hand that feeds, lashing out such hipster sacred cows as VICE magazine, Pitchfork (OK, the actual lyric is "sharpen your pitchforks" but I think I know where he's going). He also suggests we "burn down the Internet." While I wouldn't go that far, I can feel Van Breemen's pain. At times, it does seem like this Interweb thing--between Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc. etc. etc.--has become a substitute for life itself. Instead of bringing us together, in a sense, it's tearing us apart as well spend more time starring at our computer screens and handheld devices rather than interacting face to face.
Nonethless, like most bands in this day and age, Brasstronaut is taking advantage of the Internet to spread the word about its recently re-released debut EP, Old World Lies, originally issued in fall 2008 via Unfamiliar Records. The band has its own website, blog, videos on YouTube, and MySpace and Facebook accounts. But by the very nature of its sound, Brasstronaut isn't just your run-of-the-mill indie rock act. The band was initially formed as a duo consisting of Davies and Van Breemen after the pair found themselves at the center of an improvisational jam at a 2005 house party with winning results. Both had impressive backgrounds in academia and music. Davis had racked up two years of studying trumpet at the Amsterdam School of Music while Van Breemen was at work on a chemistry degree and experimenting with electronic music.
The Old World Lies EP was recorded by the duo along with various guest musicians from the Vancouver scene, but since then the duo has expanded to a quartet with the addition of drummer Saul and up-right bassist Walsh. Earlier this year Brasstronaut was holed up in the Banff Centre, in the mountains of Alberta, as part of the Winter Music Creative Residency. During the program, the band hoped to polish off its debut full-length release and fine-tune its live show.
If I were you, I'd keep an eye and an ear out for more from Brasstronaut. Until then, enjoy this performance of "Old World Lies," the title track from the EP, recorded live at the Media Club in Vancouver in April 2008.