Intentions - Brave City
I love listening to bands who clearly love what they are doing. It inspires me and gives me hope for the future of music and although 'garage bands' may be becoming a thing of the past it is still so awesome to hear an album that is made with love and with little care for ultimate perfection. Leaving in the grittiness and rawness of not so finely tuned guitars and soulful vocals add a charm to it that proves that music and the making of it truly is an art and must be appreciated in every way possible. The newest EP by California natives Brave City, 'Intentions,' is a perfect example of the kind of pure joy one can receive from doing something that they love so much.
The first track, 'Sweet Teeth,' is a great track that opens with a nice alternative riff and showcases dual vocals that clearly have a great deal of heart put into them. The “dirty” guitars on the track add immensely to the overall production value of the album and help to keep the original sound of the alternative genre. 'You, Me, & A Ghost' fades in slowly and has a bit of electronic work thrown in, with the vocalists playing nicely off each other as the track speeds up and slows again, allowing plenty of breathing room for excellent bass and guitar solos and lots of fantastic musicianship.
The sadder, more melodic 'Coming Home' is a lovely track that features a quiet guitar and single vocalist until we get into the meat of it, as it grows louder and more soulful until the haunting vocals wail out over the last riffs. It is evident that the lyrics are very personal and carry heavy meaning to the men who sing them, encapsulating the feelings of love, loss, and regret perfectly. Jumping right in with a heavy, catchy riff is 'Avalanche,' a more melodic track with angst filled lyrics and an undeniably head bopping rhythm. It is very evident that the guys like to step back from the mics and just jam, which leads to more memorable tracks and expands their horizons as they allow themselves to be overrun with the noise and take and give away it's energy with ease. With the last and longest track, 'The Great White,' the guys really up their game and lose themselves in the breaks and starts and just enjoy the satisfaction of creating something that you love and can truly call your own; something you can be proud of and look back on fondly.
The vocalist, Garret Jackman and Danny Pruitt, work so well with each other and even though they write their lyrics separately you would never know as they blend so seamlessly together, supported by the talent of Mike Britton on bass, Brian Matthews on guitars/keys, and Ben Alisea on drums. I am looking forward to the release of a full length album, as the EP was only a small taste of the superb talent that is showcased by Brave City. I would highly recommend this album to any alternative and indie rock fans, and I wish the guys the best of luck in their future endeavors!
I had the pleasure of interviewing lead singer Garret Jackman to learn more about the band, so check out his answers below! But before you do that, make sure you listen to his entire album here:
Interview with Garrett Jackman (Lead Singer)
1. Tell me a little bit about your background and why you formed Brave City.
Danny and I played in shi**y bands throughout the East Bay area around 2008. We struck up a friendship founded on musical taste, and began playing together mostly by laying out shi**y Blink-182 and Taking Back Sunday demos at our parents' houses. Once we had a little bit of original material between us, we began putting together a permanent lineup for live sets. After a couple of iterations, the first form of what is now Brave City came together in 2011. He and I recruited Ben Alisea and Cody Robertson to play drums and keys, respectively. Our first release was a demo titled "Focus", which we released in 2102. I originally played bass in the four piece setup of our outfit, but I am a guitarist by trade and we felt like only having one guitar limited our scope. In 2013 We brought Michael "Jay" Britton (who produced "Focus") on to handle the bass, production, and management duties. After a couple of name changes we landed on Brave City and it really resonated with us. We recorded "Intentions" primarily at the now extinct Under the Sun Studios in Concord, CA with production help from Brian Matthews. After releasing the record in July, we parted ways with Cody. We've since brought Brian on as the fifth member.
We formed this band because we are all incredibly passionate about music and feel that collaboratively we have a lot to offer anyone who will lend us their ear. Ultimately,we want to be able to give back all that music has given to us. Pass it down, pay it forward, however you want to put it.
2.What/Who are your musical influences?
Brave City is largely a collaborative effort, so we think the best way to answer this would be for us to each give a few artists that we use as inspiration.
Garrett - Built to Spill, Brand New, Manchester Orchestra, and Modest Mouse
Danny - Led Zeppelin, Modest Mouse, Bloc Party, and The Killers
Mike - Justin Chancellor (Tool), Rex Brown (Pantera), Daft Punk
Brian - Foo Fighters, Chris Thile, Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails)
Ben - Billy Talent, Primus, Billy Cobham, and Thomas Lang
3. What are the benefits of recording an EP rather than an LP?
At the inception of "Intentions", we felt the advantage of recording an EP as opposed to a full length was primarily an economic one. It was more practical at the time to write a small group of songs we felt really meshed well - we wanted a thread or theme to run through the entire release instead of wasting more time, and therefore, money on a full length LP that had a bunch of filler songs.
4. Why is it important to have the duality of two singers on an album like this rather than just the one?
We feel like having the dual lead vocalists is beneficial for translating emotion to the listener. Our songs are primarily written from a singular perspective... meaning that when the two of us are singing together or back and forth in a song we're not necessarily singing back and forth at one another. Rather, we are speaking as one addressing an issue. For us, we feel like it helps hearing more than one voice talk about a topic. Also, the amount we each sing in a given song is typically indicative of how the song was written. Danny and I are the two song writers and will work on our own pieces, separately at first, then together to finish a song. Having two main writers to bounce concepts off of one another really helps to round things off and flesh out our ideas.
5. How do you feel about the digital revolution of music and has it helped or hindered your success?
It's really awesome that music is so accessible these days. It's definitely a double edged sword, though. On one hand, we have a free platform for promoting our music that can reach literally anywhere in the world, which is invaluable. At this point we're not too concerned with pirating or anything like that. We just want people to hear us, money isn't our motivator in this project anyway. The other side of it, though, is that its really easy to get lost in the market with how saturated the internet is with new music. I'm sure that there are thousands of incredible bands that each of us has just skipped past online because it's "just another one of those bands". You become desensitized due to all the constant input and stimulation. It's tough to stick out. Inversely, there is really something to be said for having a tactile experience with music at a record store or what have you. You're going to remember searching through the piles of albums and finding it, putting it on for the first time, etc. Ideally, I think we would like to live in the age where a record label could come to you and say "Hey we think you're great! Here's X-Thousands of dollars. Go make an album!" However, that time is long gone, and we could definitely be worse off.
Thank you very much! I also would like to point out that this album was recorded by our bassist Mike and was produced and mastered by Mike, Danny, and Brian. We are a DIY band all the way!