Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Art Brut: New Record, Spring Tour, Independent In June

We have to admit: Art Brut's sophomore effort It's A Bit Complicated fell somewhat flat here at HAD. We were huge fans of Bang Bang Rock And Roll, but the second disc felt something like a rehash, and none of it really took hold. Things being what they are, it also left us sort of lukewarm for subsequent releases. Lukewarm, that is, until we started hearing the details of the new record.

Art Brut vs. Satan, which drops on April 20th, is by all accounts a pretty huge departure for the band. For one, it's produced by Pixies frontman Frank Black. For another, it was apparently recorded extremely quickly. The experience was apparently so revelatory to the band that they have pledged that all future records will be recorded this way. That's saying a lot.

If the lead off single, "Alcoholics Unanimous" (video above), is any indication, the band has adopted a slightly edgier sound for the new record. The guitars are crunchier, the riffs fatter, and the drums straight ahead. Long gone are the jangly guitars and poppiness of Emily Kane. Still, despite the change in sound the band's trump card is still in full effect: vocalist Eddie Argos. If there's anything that defines Art Brut's persona, both on record and live, it's Argos self loathing, half spoken, always tongue in cheek vocal delivery. It's almost so much a part of the band's sound that it almost seems like it's the only thing that matters. Such is not the case. Masterpieces like "Emily Kane" and "Rusted Guns of Milan" rely heavily on Argos, but they're also great songs, and the band delivers amazingly solid performances.

By contrast, "Alcoholics Unanimous" almost feels a bit more like an off-the-cuff delivery, which may very well be the case. While we might be inclined to raise an eyebrow based on the first single, it's also true that Bang Bang Rock And Roll was not without its rockers. We're far more excited to hear the record as a whole, and see which of his varying personas Black adopted when taking the reins. We won't be too quick to judge, and we're certainly planning on catching the band's legendary live show.

After some European dates, the band has plotted a US spring tour. It primarily focuses on hitting the large markets of New York, Chicago, and LA, with a multi-night stand in each. We here in SF are lucky enough to catch one of the off nights - the band will be at the Independent on June 15th. Having seen Art Brut a number of times before, we can assure you - these events are a circus. Argos is a great frontman, and he completely gives his all on stage. Plus, what better way to check out the new record than in the wild?

Art Brut Spring 2009 US Dates
Jun 1 Mercury Lounge New York, New York
Jun 2 Mercury Lounge New York, New York
Jun 3 Mercury Lounge New York, New York
Jun 4 Mercury Lounge New York, New York
Jun 5 Mercury Lounge New York, New York
Jun 6 Johnny Brenda’s Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Jun 8 Schubas Chicago, Illinois
Jun 9 Schubas Chicago, Illinois
Jun 10 Schubas Chicago, Illinois
Jun 11 Schubas Chicago, Illinois
Jun 12 Schubas Chicago, Illinois
Jun 13 Neumos Seattle, Washington
Jun 15 The Independent San Francisco, California
Jun 16 Spaceland Los Angeles, California
Jun 17 Spaceland Los Angeles, California
Jun 18 Spaceland Los Angeles, California
Jun 19 The Echo Los Angeles, California


Hanan said...

I like their second album, but not as much as Art Brut vs Satan.

I am quite jealous that you get to see them