Dec 29, 2011

Brokaw – Interiors ...

BIO: The word “Brokaw” stirs up all kinds of connotations. There’s the stern voice of reason held by news anchor Tom Brokaw, the expressive and colorful guitar playing of former Come/Codeine member Chris Brokaw…and now, the sound of one of the meatiest and meanest rock groups to emerge from Seattle, Washington.

“We chose the name because it’s simple yet has some very complex associations,” says Brokaw’s bass player Stuart Dahlquist. “And masculine which might reflect our music/composition process accurately.”

No one who has ever seen the band live would deny that they are a masculine group. The four members of Brokaw – Dahlquist, vocalist Mike Henderson, guitarist Rick Troy, and drummer Rich Medic – sweat and strain through every minute of their sets. Henderson often challenges the safety of his audience by wielding the mic stand over his and their heads, while the rest of the band churn out buzzing, brutal rock behind him. They burn so hot, you expect them to burst into flames at any moment.

And, yes, there is complexity to it as well. But we would expect nothing less from a group with the pedigree that Brokaw has. Dahlquist has worked with such iconic groups as Asva, Goatsnake, and Sunn 0))). The rest of the band are rock lifers in their own right, working in a variety of Seattle outfits like Hungry Crocodlies, Magnaaflux, and Hitshed.

But what makes the band so vital and so compelling how obviously they gel both on record and on stage. The members of Brokaw have been playing together “on and off for a very long time,” says Dahlquist. “I have been playing music with Rick for around 35 years, the two of us have worked with Mike since meeting at music school in 1984, Rich has been in and out of the picture for at least 10 years. We’ve been friends for a long time and have a great chemistry together, we all love playing music and it comes easily for us.”

You’ll hear right from the start of the band’s debut LP Interiors, to be released this fall on the new Seattle label Good To Die Records. Recorded with Steve Norman at Electrical Audio in Chicago, Illinois, Brokaw fed off the live current that runs through the band and the studio. Their hyperdriven barrage of sound pulls from the influences of the Amphetamine Reptile family (Melvins, Halo of Flies, Hammerhead, the Jesus Lizard), while acknowledging a wide variety of interests like the freeform ’70s work of Miles Davis and the swing of cheeky, literate Britpop band The Fall.

Live, on record, and in person, Brokaw put their backs, their hearts, and their balls into everything they do. They don’t ask you to do the same, just to pay your respects and enjoy every sweat-drenched minute of it. (Good To Die)

I don't normally post bio's in front of a CD review but in this case, I felt it was vital. I feel ashamed in knowing that this very good band is based in the same state where I live (Washington) and yet they have somehow escaped my attention but you know, better late than never. From the second you press play on this album from Brokaw titled 'Interiors' you get the sense this is some pretty original stuff. The band play a mix of stoner-metal, sludge, traditional hard rock, punk rock, and noise but it really sounds fresh and doesn't sound too much like anything from the past. While the band is within the realms of sludge-metal, they are very up-tempo, maybe too up-tempo to be tagged sludge but they are indeed heavy, intense at times, and have some exciting raw energy.

This album is short and very catchy so the 8 songs seem to fly by in no time at all even though it is about 30 minutes in total. From the opening 'Ambulance Red' to the last tune, 'You Didn't Invent Sex' there is not a second wasted and not a weak moment anywhere. The sound is full and constantly driving and it is very hard to get these songs out of your head once you have heard them. I can't really pick a favorite track as they are all solid tunes but there is also nothing here I would call essential but there is also nothing here that should be avoided. This might just be the shortest review I have ever done but there is not much to say about Brokaw, they are just a powerful, solid, and catchy combo that should appeal to sludge, stoner, and punk-metal crossover music fans everywhere. This album is due to drop 31 January 2012 and is on the Good to Die Records label, a label who is really delivering some great releases at the moment........8/10.

 Brokaw @ Bandcamp

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