Hardly to believe but they finally made it – THE BRANDOS are back with the new studio album Los Brandos!
No other band on Blue Rose has ever taken a break this long! After many months of rumors, followed by clues and pieces of information distributed by mastermind Dave Kincaid, their loyal fans‘ dreams finally come true. After ten a half years The Brandos are back with a brand new studio album. Los Brandos is released just in time for their current tour of Europe. Truly, Los Brandos is the next great comeback of this New York-based band that is the embodiment of terms like „street credibility“, „old school rock’n’roll“ and „handmade electric guitar rock“.
Since their debut album Honor Among Thieves (1987) The Brandos have been delivering no-frills rock’n’roll dominated by crunchy guitars and a barnstorming raspy voice – a captivating mix of CCR, 60ies garage rock ethos, American roots with healthy doses of Irish folk and Latino border rock. Dave Kincaid is the band’s creative center and founding member, his band members fluctuate but since some of them eventually come back, there is a pool of Brandos musicians he keeps drawing from. But, clearly, Kincaid is the band’s undisputed leader, songwriter, guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, producer and the guy with the band’s amazing trademark voice. He has been working on Los Brandos for years and played 90 percent of the album’s guitar, bass, mandolin, keyboard and percussion parts himself in his Staten Island home studio. The analog-sounding final mix was concocted by Don Sternecker, known for his work with the Feelies, Neal Casal, Silos, Richard Barone and many others. He also worked on a number of previous Brandos albums including 2006’s Over The Border. Tommy Goss (who played on some songs of 1998’s Nowhere Zone) played drums. Guitarist Frank Giordano was a steady band member from ’96 to ’99 and added some parts to Los Brandos. Goss and Giordano will tour alongside Kincaid in a quartet completed by bassist Sal Maida (Cracker, Roxy Music, Sparks etc.).
Named after Marlon Brando’s famous movie „The Wild One“, the NYC-based band tumbled into turbulent times after the success of their first album Honor Among Thieves: Major label shenanigans, management trouble, personnel changes and a second album that was finished and then scrapped … it was almost a miracle when they reappeared in 1992 with Gunfire At Midnight. A successive string of albums – The Light Of The Day (94), Pass The Hat (96) and Nowhere Zone (98) – and regular tours including a Loreley show for German TV show Rockpalast cemented their status as a powerful rock band with something special. But they mainly focused on Europe in those years and slipped below the radar in the US.
In 2006 the Brandos joined Blue Rose Records and celebrated a successful comeback after an eight-year hiatus with Over The Border, a scorcher of an album with plenty of rocking Kincaid songs, some unexpected 60ies covers, some Irish folk and two border songs that foreshadowed the band’s future course – the opening title track and a surprise acoustic cover of „Guantanamera“ as the album closer.
„Over the border“ is the leitmotif for the new album Los Brandos! Latin American culture and the Spanish language have become a well of inspiration for Dave Kincaid. Five of the album’s ten songs are sung in Spanish (English lyric translations included) which brings out unexpected facets of Kincaid’s voice. In order to avoid misperceptions, though, the Brandos start proceedings with two rockers!
„Señor Coyote“ is the story of a contemptuous human trafficker who takes a lot of money for illegally bringing Mexicans into the US under terrible conditions. Is he „a demon of hell or the angel of my salvation?“ is the refugee’s question. ‚Querer A Los Niños‘ is dedicated to all children who are suffering from physical or psychological abuse in their own family. „Suffer In Silence“ is the first of five English-language songs, a panorama-sound guitar rock number, ready-made to become a a radio or festival hit. The well-structured semi-acoustic ballad „Woodstock Guitar“ delivers a smart storyline that stretches from the legendary 1969 festival via Van Morrison, Bob Dylan and The Band to today’s vibrant scene – from a delicate acoustic intro to fiery guitar salvos and pounding drums. It is contrasted by ‚Jacinto Chiclana‘, a melodic, romantic love song written by Tango great Astor Piazzolla. It’s a beautiful duet between honey-voiced Marta Gomez and Kincaid accompanied by keyboards and Spanish guitars.
The glistening guitar rock of ‚Maligna Presencia‘ is a classic, guitar-driven Brandos song – sung in Spanish. This song features a Tito & Tarantula vibe, ready-made for a Tarantino movie. „What Kind Of World“ is sparse acoustic folk in a melancholy solo performance by Dave Kincaid. ‚Bella Encantadora‘ is a moderately-paced melodic song with beautifully layered guitars, a strong hook and an exquisite guitar solo.
The raucous rocker „These Troubled Times“ comes closest in sound to Brandos classics like „Gunfire At Midnight“ and „Gettysburg“ with Kincaid’s rasp spitting out his angry lyrics about the desolate state of the world. But, alas, there’s hope: „These troubled times won’t bring us down, won’t make us blind.“ The album closes on an upbeat note with a good time cover of ‚A Todo Dar‘, a 1955 Latino hit for Pedro Infante, written by Ignacio Jaime, performed as high speed garage punk.
It’s been 44 years since the American singer/songwriter ELLIOTT MURPHY first made his mark on the rock music scene with his debut album Aquashow. The opener of this album that has since gained cult status was entitled ‚Last Of The Rock Stars‘ – in some ways that’s a clairvoyant motto for a remarkable career that’s not near its end. The 67-year-old artist who has been living in France for many years still has a few surprises up his sleeve. He never quite became a commercial rock star with #1 hits but Elliott Murphy is still a vital, seeking, creative force and someone who has never let himself be bent or pushed around, even though he might have stood in his own way once or twice. But that didn’t stop him from releasing album after album with admirable regularity and quality. Prodigal Son is his brand new album on Blue Rose Records. It’s not an anniversary record, simply another excellent album by Elliott Murphy who – in his own way – may be a true rock star and certainly is a unique artist.
Prodigal Son is his 35th album, more than a third of his oeuvre was released on Blue Rose. And almost all of these albums were developed in collaboration with French guitarist Olivier Durand. He has long been one of Europe’s finest, most original stringbenders with his fluid solos and excellent slide playing on acoustic & electric guitar and his mandolin picking. Together with Alan Fatras (drums) he forms Elliott’s backing band, The Normandy All-Stars. They have been accompanying Murphy on Coming Home Again (2006), Notes From The Underground (08), Alive In Paris (09), Elliott Murphy (10) and Aquashow Deconstructed and are doing so on Prodigcal Son, added by Gaspard Murphy, Elliott’s son, who replaced the longtime partner on bass, Laurent Pardo, who passed away in 2016. Murphy himself usually plays acoustic or electric guitar but also contributes banjo, piano and harmonica.
It’s been said before that love is a battlefield, and on his latest album Love Versus (out April 7, 2017 through True North Records), Leeroy Stagger comes well armed. The eleventh studio release by the Western Canadian native is also a milestone, marking the first recording made at Stagger’s home studio in southern Alberta. But more significantly, his ever-evolving fusion of roots, rock and pop reaches new heights on Love Versus, resulting in 10 tracks that confirm his status as one of Canada’s best contemporary singer/songwriters.
“Leeroy is one of the most insightful songwriters I have ever come across. He has a gift for distilling complex images, commentary and concepts into brilliantly succinct lyrical one liners,” says Geoff Kulawick, President, True North Records.
It’s not that Stagger needed much more validation; after working with acclaimed producers Russell Broom (Sam Roberts) and Steve Berlin (Los Lobos) on his previous two albums, Stagger teamed up with Colin Stewart (Dan Mangan, Black Mountain, Yukon Blonde) to produce Love Versus, and put together a dream band for the project. Longtime friend and collaborator Steve Bays (Hot Hot Heat, The Mounties) remixed and ‘reimagined’, as Stagger would say, the title song and single in Vancouver.
The cornerstone was Pete Thomas, longtime drummer for Elvis Costello, who came up from L.A. for the sessions, joining guitarist Paul Rigby (Neko Case), keyboardist Geoff Hilhorst (The Deep Dark Woods), and Stagger’s longtime bassist Tyson Maiko. Over the course of three weeks, they christened Stagger’s new studio, and in the process changed his perspective on his art.
After 26 years the company (Massacre Records and Blue Rose Records) is moving. Just a few kilometers from our old location we’ll settle in Untergruppenbach. Here is the full address info, valid from April 1st, 2017:
Massacre Records/Blue Rose Records
Walter Salas-Humara is a musician who seems to have a lot of fun with his rich back catalogue. It’s not that he lives in or from his glorious past – he’s been releasing quite a bit of new material this decade, solo and with The Silos – but he continues revisiting his early material after the successful start with Work: Part One now, consequently, with Work: Part Two. Again, he focuses mainly on classic, early Silos albums from 1985-1990, broadening his spectrum to include songs from early- to mid-90ies‘ albums. Once again he re-imagines these songs in a contemporary acoustic alt.country/Americana sound.
Walter Salas-Humara! The name is as unique as the man it belongs to. More than 30 years ago this versatile artist first appeared on the scene as the mastermind of alt.rock pioneers The Silos. With him as songwriter, lead singer and guitarist at the helm, the band created sensitive, smart, hooky, American „indie pop goes alt.country“ rock of the highest order. The 90s, however, were a decade of restlessness and experimentation. Changing places between New York, L.A. and the vibrant Austin, TX scene, the band repeatedly changed personnel and direction. They found their form again after the turn of the millennium in a series of albums for Blue Rose Records between 2001 and 2006 – and then in 2011 with the fabulous Florizona. Recently, Blue Rose released Curve And Shake, Salas-Humara’s first solo outing after 18 years. It was followed by the aforementioned Work: Part One in March 2016 and Explodes And Disappears just two months later. With this burst of releases, Walter Salas-Humara has cemented his status as an important and relevant independent musician and darling of the alt.Americana/No Depression scene.
Rich Hopkins came of age on his abilities as a guitar-slinger and songwriter. His ear-bending way of expression became a rock ’n‘ roll definition of the romantic American southwest, these desert blasts filled with spirited tales, soaring hooks and a warm, beating heart. The songs pump blood in that essential way that says there’s nothing else in life for Hopkins but the song. Think of the music as an aural equivalent of rainwater-etched swirls in sandstone-it’s got timeless unstoppable beauty, and its shape sometimes shifts in graceful ways, but it’s always formable, always heavy.
Yes, that might sound like bio-ready hyperbole, but hold on: Trust the sizable audiences the world over who have long regarded Hopkins as the essential lifeguard of „desert rock,“ audiences who have responded to Hopkins‘ guitar heroics and scruffily quixotic songs since the storied, late-’80s and ’90s albums he made with that rowdy (now-mythological) major-label combo he co-founded called The Sidewinders (later rechristened The Sand Rubies), and then his own Rich Hopkins and the Luminarios. Nearly two-dozen albums all told, each persuasive and subtly dramatic, like a mounting monsoon storm, and also fun as hell.
Along the way he met Texas born-and-raised Lisa Novak, another gifted singer/songwriter whose shrewd yet empathetic storytelling rivals good short-story fiction, and whose voice and songwriting resembles a dusty mix of Emmylou Harris and Aimee Mann, and that’s considering just how hallowed (and odious) such comparisons can be.
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