Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Brute Heart - Lonely Hunter (2011) (1.0)

Soft Abuse Record Label info

Brute Heart (Crystal Myslajek, Jackie Beckey & Crystal Brinkman) craft tense, dense, trance-inducing sounds with primarily bass, drums, viola & voice (all three sing). Informed by the fringes of post-punk, art rock, dark folk & other idiosyncratic strains, Brute Heart’s warm, mysterious music evoke recollections of Dog Faced Hermans, Family Fodder, and ESG, as well as contemporaries Quix*O*Tic and Grass Widow.

Lonely Hunter is Brute Heart's second album, and it showcases an eerie ability to shift through several rites, all towing the line between familiar and alien: swaths of extended Eastern-influenced melodies inform primal dervishes, hypnotic & danceable punk movements are cloaked by occult mysticism. Coaxed by the haunting echo of viola and the trio’s spoken / moaned / sung vocals, the nine songs on Lonely Hunter unravel in a multitude of ways, listen after listen…

01. Eclipse
02. Blindfolded [mp3]
03. Hunter
04. Serpentine
05. No Darkness
06. Satellite
07. Charmed One
08. Evil Eye
09. Open Window

Release Show is 1-week from Saturday where I presume I'll be picking up my copy of this up.

3/21/11 12:24AM
Brute Heart on Facebook

Brute Heart on myspace

In 2007, Crystal M and Jackie discovered Crystal B was born with a special gift of rhythm. They joined forces to form a three-headed creature they eventually named Brute Heart.

The record contains a wide breadth of colorful tones, tinged with emotions that words can't translate. Howls, hoots, aahs, and a rapid rhythmic snare create delightful ruminations unspoiled by pretension, driven only by instinct, experimentation, and a hunt for spatial parameters. Their sultry and intense delivery recalls a younger Grace Slick, making for a surrealistic and hypnotic experience that lacks any trace of rock bombast or overindulgence. -Warren Wills, City Pages

Brute Heart pushes further into quiet instrumental minimalism/abstraction, not just as an expression of artifice, but of worldview. These people have found a sound and learned to communicate to one another with it... -Doug Mosurock, Dusted Magazine

This ("Lonely Hunter") is the title of their upcoming, 2nd record, which will be released or at least available, presumably, at a "CD release" show at The Turf Club on May 14th, 2011.

Wow, I have kind of a lot to do here, and of course not enough time or energy to. But I'll do what I can for now.

Brute Heart I saw last evening (March 19th, 2011) at The Kitty Kat Club in Dinkytown (on or near the University of Minnesota Campus). I'd never seen them, never been to The Kitty Kat Club (which, maybe would be worth adding more to that for another post in this blog), nor was I familiar with the other 2 bands I saw (The Great Confinement and The Funeral and the Twilight) , and the 3rd (Aura Soul Spark) I didn't arrive in time to see.

So, given this is a posting about Brute Heart, I will not elaborate about the other groups, namely The Great Confinement, much more, but to say I was certainly glad I saw them, and I mean to say more soon in here about them as well (and more of their gigs coming up I hope).

But Brute Heart are a 3-piece, all-female band who formed a few years ago (2007 as that little bio states) in Minnesota. And, I've really fallen for their music in the brief amount of time I've taken it in. Why now and not a few years ago? exposure of course.

But the story with them is/was (assuming I've yet to write much if anything about them in here. I recall on twitter, for those who may have seen, but I don't think in the actual blog here), back in December or early January, I think January it was, a friend of mine who works at the Cafe that is attached to where I work, told me about them after seeing them at a show at the Hexagon Bar.

I have of course been on a huge Warpaint obsession, you could say, for the majority of the last two years, and I'd introduced some of Warpaint's music to him. And he suggested this band Brute Heart were like, or would appeal to me since I enjoy Warpaint so much.

And, I can't or couldn't deny why. Yeah, Brute Heart are a little bit like Warpaint. Both groups are all female, and both have a hypnotic sense with their music. Both are pretty rhythmically driven.

But Brute Heart differs in some ways, and last night's show probably more so made me notice. For one, Brute Heart have this great mystical, tribal, or almost Middle-Eastern element to their music. Warpaint don't exactly incorporate that.

Brute Heart also use vocals more as a timbre and texture than as a lead melody. Even the emphasis on melody specifically, takes a backseat to the mood and trance-like approach. And I suppose part of that comes out even more live.

Their music probably would work well with (female) Bellydancers, :)/;)

But Brute Heart are also a group who doesn't actually use guitar, but instead Violin, some more lead-like bass lines, and a bit of piano. And those haunting vocals. That, the Grace Slick-comparison actually seems to make more sense now to me. Jackie Beckey and/or Crystal Myslajek seemed to channel. I want to say it was more from Crystal, but my memory isn't perfect. Maybe both?

So, they released their debut LP Brass Beads in 2009. And I recall they gained some attention from places like City Pages and Radio K. Although I don't recall ever hearing them on the air there, including Off-the-Record (Radio K's local show on Friday Afternoons), but I probably just never noticed it.

But it's good to know they have caught somewhat of a following already. And now with this upcoming, 2nd record, Lonely Hunter, 2011 might become a pretty big year for them. And that show being on May 14th (same weekend/2nd-evening-show-of Dean Magraw's Red Planet at the Artist Quarter, and dredg/The Dear Hunter in Chicago), it's not too far away.

I should spend some more time with Brass Beads soon, but I certainly am more than anxious to hear this new album of theirs, especially after they had my jaw drop multiple times last night.

edit: and I must confess having yet to hear Brass Beads, as I forgot what I have been listening to primarily from them was not it, but a Daytrotter Session, which is great. So based on that, a separate review of Brass Beads should come soon, as I purchased a Vinyl copy of it at the show, which includes a download card. I'm not aware if Brass Beads has even been issued on compact disc anyway. So if you are someone who wants to hear it, either purchasing it on Vinyl or digitally may be your only option at this point. But Lonely Hunter, that may not be the case since the May 14th show is a "CD Release" show.

I'd say along with the likes of The Galactic Cowboy Orchestra, Lehto & Wright, Cloud Cult, and Greg Herriges, this band may be the most intrigued by a local artist since maybe Between Two Skies 5 years ago. They may become one of my favorite Minnesota artists. I'm *that* impressed/intrigued by them. They're doing prog, like Warpaint or whoever else you can compare them to, but in their own way.

They seem to create an atmosphere I've yet to really hear specifically. Their approach to vocals for one, really is unique. And they carry that less-is-more approach I sense. Nothing seems overdone, but yet nothing is too simple to seem boring.

I guess I'll know more in the coming weeks/months.

Oh, and perhaps I'll run into at least 2 of the members at the Warpaint show (Crystal Brinkman, Brute Heart's drummer, mentioned to me she was going out of town this week), at the Varsity Theater on Wednesday, which of course is right around the corner from where I saw them last night, The Kitty Kat Club. Funny how that happens/Small World.