Where: The Spinning Jenny
What About It: Brother Oliver returns to The Spinning Jenny and Future Chord Fest, this time with a new album in tow.
Brother Oliver push the boundaries when it comes to Americana, one of several genres that could be considered their base. Their upcoming self titled release shows them coming into form, with gritty acoustic guitar and driving beats in some songs, while moving into darker more wandering moments in others. It feels more thought out, more carefully constructed than before, an advantage of home recording as they’ve been able to capture more of their live sound and energy. This can be heard most on the debut single “What Will Be Will Be”, a grinding pysch jam that riffs as much lyrically as it does instrumentally.
We caught up with Andrew Oliver of Brother Oliver to chat about the new record out August 25th.
What’s the biggest difference to you in the new record and Stubborn Fool?
We really went “big” with the new record. Our previous records were more subdued in comparison. Our sound has filled out in a way that translated well into the studio this time around. The excitement of the stage really carries through to the listener on the new album—at least to me.
Sound and songwriting wise, where did you expand the most on the new album?
I’ve always felt good about our songwriting, but with the new album I feel like Stephen and I really honed in on the tone of our instruments—and bringing Devin Taylor in to play drums was pivotal.
I play an acoustic guitar through a gritty, bassy rig that provides a low-end that carries surprisingly well—all the while visually incognito. Stephen on the other hand has really come into his own with how he manipulates the lead tones of his electric mandolin. It’s become a head-turner on stage because it’s such a big sound coming from such a small instrument.
It’s been for outlets to pin you down genre wise, how do you describe your music to someone whose never heard you before? Do you offer any specific bands as a reference point?
I like to describe our music as “wild-west psychedelic rock”, which seems to resonate well with folks. If you took The Black Keys, Jack White, Death Cab For Cutie, and mixed them all in a pot with a pinch of Americana-folk for flavoring, you’d have it.
What were some of the biggest influences both musically and lyrically going into writing and recording this album?
Musically our influences have been all over the place. The biggest thing we wanted with this album was to create something that was undeniably honest, both in content, but also the performance. We didn’t want something that was incredibly polished, but at the same time we didn’t want something that was too gritty to be taken serious. I’m pleased with how we were able to toe the line.
Where did you record the new album and who else had a hand in contributing to it?
We actually recorded the album mostly in my personal studio (Andrew’s). The drums were recorded off-location at Devin’s space. The album was mastered by John Baldwin, who mastered many of our favorite records and did an exceptional job with ours as well.
What’s changed the most about the upstate music scene since you’ve been there?
It seems like there’s more chatter than ever on social media about the scene. It could be that I’m just paying more attention, but it really does feel like there’s a whole lot of people trying to make good things happen with music. There’s so many cities in the surrounding area that it makes for a little hot bed. There’s always places to play if you’re staying on top of things. I like where things are going right now—it feels right.