Brothers of Brazil – On My Way EP (2012)
There’s no shortage of duos sticking to drums and guitar in music these days, but few are as original as Brothers of Brazil. Mixing samba and bossa nova with rock and punk, the band’s clever sound works incredibly well on stage with Joao’s Elvis style offset by brother Supla’s Billy Idol punk demeanor.
Supporting Flogging Molly and Adam Ant has created a buzz and the new EP manages to bring some of that excitement to record. Lead single ‘On My Way’ leaves little doubt about the shared blood of the two, as their voices work perfectly together. Interesting rhythms and articulate guitar populate the album that stretches from folk-punk (‘My Heart Is Shattered’) to traditional Brazilian (‘Tears On My Face’). All over the map musically, the band doesn’t sound like they’re wandering in search of their sound as much as they sound well-versed in the global influence of music.
Where the EP comes up short of their live show is in the lyrics. While ‘Viva Liberty’ serves as a manifesto for free living, the writing falls flat. Writing in a non-native language presents a challenge in itself, but Brothers of Brazil are moving in the right direction.
One of the most unique records of 2012, On My Way demands a few spins. – Jason Lent
Jonny Greenwood – The Master OST (2012)
This past Sunday, I had the good fortune to score a ticket to a screening of Paul Thomas Anderson’s highly anticipated The Master in NYC (at the East Village Cinema in 70mm). As for the film, it’s dense, sprawling, and masterful. Joaquin Phoenix should win Best Actor, although that honor may go to Daniel Day Lewis for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in Spielberg’s upcoming film.
One of the many aspects that make the film a riveting experience is Jonny Greenwood’s brilliant score. Those familiar with Anderson’s work will of course remember his excellent turn as director/DJ in Boogie Nights and also that Greenwood composed an Oscar-worthy score for There Will Be Blood, only to be disqualified by rules even the Academy does not understand.
For Greenwood’s part, he has a feel for the emotion conveyed in every scene and how to administer it via sound. Anderson slowly prods along, developing various emotions that pile onto each other one scene after another, and Greenwood is no different. His score is a minimal masterpiece that utilizes strings, piano, and ambient noise to keep the audience off-balance. The OST also includes Ella Fitzgerald’s ‘Get Thee behind Me Satan’ — those who have seen the film will surely connect the song’s title to one of its characters.
Greenwood and Anderson are at the height of their powers in The Master and the results are truly something to behold. – Joe Mateo
Marble Sheep – Old From New Heads (1993)
Down in this unrelenting mass of gray, we’ve been herded toward the fringes, for the hub’s hubbub mutters nonstop threnodies of docility, harmless, intertwining dirges that have proven difficult to stomach on the best of days, deadened inside out, whole worlds removed from the rhapsody bubbling away in our mind’s eye. Though we’ve hewn ourselves some semblance of a den within the urban sprawl, it’s not home by any stretch of the imagination. We only manage to tiptoe to our own beat, careful not to tip off the higher-ups to our location. On that account, our songs, too, consist of paltry hums and maunders. They’re ours…but they’re pitifully frail. They’re falling apart at every seam.
A self-imposed exile. A self-contained bay at the moon. An empty bagatelle to drown out the babel of a nucleus we don’t figure into. A daily orbit of trifle.
And yet, despite the oppressive smog overseeing these streets, a single fated ripple can shatter its shackles and send us careening into the stratosphere without a tether in sight. It’s a sensation old as dust fallen into new hands, primitive, primal, pure — the original psychedelic. On this go-round, the grooves birl tighter and the guitars bellow louder, imbued with additional ruckus to fight off the thorns of routine with thorns of their own. It’s sorcerous noise-rock or blustery psych-rock or whatever the fuck else. Who cares? This thing shakes like its life depends on it. It feels like ours does, so we surrender to the squalls — timidly at first, but as we grow more familiar with the uproarious rhythms, we stumble into step with them, yelping alongside their yowls, snatching the torch from their paws to trace fiery and ferocious constellations in the pitch-black cosmos, screaming through the night as if to defy the darkness’ sole reason for being.
Up in the exalted air of abandon, mind and body have been offered up as sacrifice to the vault of heaven, which opens up, inch by inch, gleam by intoxicating gleam, luring us into the thick of a storm we may not survive. Massive discharges ring in our ears and illuminate our imagination, dripping with the very rarest tonic of life. Until we burn out, we’ll burn bright enough to light whole galaxies.
We’re at the center of…everything. – Vinh Cao