Friday Full-Length: Brant Bjork, Local Angel

Brant Bjork, Local Angel (2004)

I bought this album from the Duna Records website when it came out in 2004. I remember it because I had dug Brant Bjork and the Operators and Keep Your Cool and waited for Local Angel to come out, and when it did, and it showed up in its glossy digipak, I don’t think I completely got the vibe at first, but I knew I liked it, a lot, and it’s been a record I’ve gone back to periodically ever since. The digipak is still in pretty good shape too.

Brant Bjork would shortly go on to form Brant Bjork and the Bros. and release the double-album Saved by Magic, and his next solo outing was the acoustic Tres Dias in 2007, but until that came out with its sometimes-I-sit-in-a-field-with-a-guitar vibe, Local Angel was the most peaceful, intimate vibe Brant Bjork had put on a full-length, and it was a record that showed that you could take a desert groove to places that most people probably wouldn’t think of as heavy and make it work. Or that Brant Bjork could do it, anyway. I haven’t heard too many others try and put the same kind of soul influence into what they were doing and make it work as well as the folk of “Beautiful Powers,” the classic rock of “The Feelin'” or the laid back psychedelic funk of “Hippie.” From “Chico” to “Spanish Tiles” and the covers of “Hey Joe” and The Ramones‘ “I Want You Around,” Local Angel was a spirit that even Brant Bjork never really went back to. It stands alone in his catalog and outside of it.

Part of that is the simple method of double-tracking the vocals over acoustic guitar, the in-and-out of the drums, and particularly compared to later work like 2007’s Somera Sól and 2010’s Gods and Goddesses — his most recent solo outing — much more of an individual feel as opposed to a band presence. So cool. So smooth.

Hope you dig it.

Tonight The Patient Mrs. and I went down to New Bedford, about an hour away, to see William Shatner‘s one-man show. Ever since I finished watching the original Star Trek series, we’ve been on a pretty big kick, making our way through the first seven movies and starting in on The Next Generation and the animated series as well as some of Shatner‘s Trek-centric documentaries like The Captains. All that stuff is on Netflix so it’s pretty accessible, and there’s a lot of it. Shatner’s World, though, which is the name of the one-man show, was awesome. I laughed, I held back tears as he played a clip of an introduction he recorded for the last flight of the space shuttle Discovery, I laughed more when he talked about recording an album with Ben Folds. It was very, very cool, and though it’s a balmy 9 degrees out, well worth leaving the house. I may or may not review it on Monday. I paid for the tickets and got shot down for a photo pass, so I hardly feel obligated, but it might be fun anyway.

This week I reviewed five albums. Last Friday, I laid out the next five reviews I wanted to do — Weedpecker, Colour Haze, Conan, Mammatus and Papir, in that order — and this week I fucking did it. I can’t remember the last time I reviewed five albums in the same week. It’s been at least a year. It felt good, even if it didn’t leave me much time for anything else. Next week I want to try something different. I’ve got a little stack of stuff that’s been around for a while and I’d like to try putting together a roundup that’s somewhere between the Reviewsplosion-style 100-word stuff I’ve done a couple times and the 1,000-ish words (I’ve actually been trying to cut that down too) that a lot of records seem to get around here. Seems like an interesting challenge to try to say everything I want to say about an album in 300 words, still try to convey some of what I perceive of the spirit of the thing in that limited space. Trying to hone a more efficient approach, in other words. I’m still going to do larger-form reviews as well, but maybe once I week or once every couple weeks I squeeze in a roundup of stuff I might not otherwise have room for and at the same time force myself a little bit out of my run-on-sentence comfort zone. I’ll give it a shot this week and see how it goes, and look out for a Green Dragon tape review, a review of the live Leaf Hound record that Ripple put out, the new The Wounded Kings and other stuff as well.

Wherever you are tonight, I hope it’s more than 9 degrees and that you’re grooving out easy on the Brant Bjork and there’s no drama where you don’t want it and that all is cool. We’re coming to the end of January, so I’m thinking about the anniversary of this site, and it’s a big one. I don’t have anything really on tap to celebrate — as I see it, the way you celebrate working on something is by working on it — but we’ll mark the occasion this week anyway, though I think posts might be light on Friday otherwise. We’ll see how it goes.

Have a great and safe weekend, and please check out the forum and radio stream.

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One Response to “Friday Full-Length: Brant Bjork, Local Angel

  1. goAt says:

    Dedicated to Phil Lynott, baby.

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