Since announcing his arrival with 2001's Tiger Pop, New York artist John Brodeur has produced a series of critically praised recordings as a solo artist and as frontman for The Suggestions and Maggie Mayday. Brodeur is a one-man band in the tradition of Todd Rundgren and Jon Brion, and his music has earned comparisons to Elliott Smith, Beck and Robyn Hitchcock. His new album, Little Hopes (Sojourn Records), finds the restless performer tackling both matters of the heart and battles of the soul, leaping from quirky bedroom-pop to the kind of breezy guitar-rock Performing Songwriter called “power pop at its finest.” It's a confident, tuneful collection that brims with personality—the sound of an artist staying unapologetically true to his own vision. Brodeur has toured the U.S. extensively with the likes of Todd Park Mohr, Greg Laswell, Joe Pernice, Fountains of Wayne, and They Might Be Giants, and his music has been used on NBC, A&E, VH1 and Discovery.
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"You’ll want to play this LP over and over. Don’t miss it." -Powerpopaholic
“A fine mix of small studio magic and guitar-fueled power-pop with Brodeur’s always brilliant songwriting providing the glue. . . . Stanza after stanza of world-class lyrics.” --Nippertown
“Pop records like this may be scarce, but when they are of this caliber, they won’t remain under the radar for long.” -Performing Songwriter
“A stoic sentimentalism that may well catapult Mr. Brodeur into the sort of alt-rock pinup status that [Lou] Barlow once enjoyed.” -PopMatters
“An amusing take on matters of the heart. Funny in a bittersweet way.” -New York Post
"Well-crafted songs . . . fascinating imagery and personal lyrics with great musical arrangements." -The Inquisitor
“Brodeur deadpans his urban pop constructions with the same arrogance as Runt-era Todd Rundgren.” -Amplifier
John Brodeur - Vocals, Bass, Drums, Guitar, keys, Etc.
-"Tiger Pop" (Mr. Duck Records, 2000)
-The Suggestions "Mix Tape" EP (Mr. Duck Records, 2003)
-Maggie Mayday S/T EP (2008/12)
-"Get Through" (Mr. Duck Records, 2009)
-"Tiger Pop Ten" (2-CD set, Mr. Duck Records, April 2011)
-"Young Man Vol. 1: Studio Recordings 1994-98" (2011/12)
-"Little Hopes" (Mr. Duck/Sojourn Records, 2013)
Little Hopes CD review
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The culmination of several years of work, Brodeur moves beyond Tiger Pop, to a more mature sound. B...The culmination of several years of work, Brodeur moves beyond Tiger Pop, to a more mature sound. Brodeur starts with the minimalist hand claps “Be Careful,” but quickly rocks out the confident guitars on “One Man Army.” The next few songs have a modern sound, like Matt Pond meets Arcade Fire, or Liam Finn. Both “Neil Young” and “Oh My” have a touch of roots rhythm and the echoing vocals here are similar to Mark Oliver Everett (Eels), but the album really picks up steam mid way through.
“Favorite Feeling” has a great bass riff and fast paced chorus, then “Old Wounds” is an amazing confessional tune full of great composition. But my favorite song here is “You Kill Me,” a slowly building power pop gem with layered chords and an killer hook in the chorus. Then”Spit It Out” gives us another fantastic guitar gem about “happy endings all around.” Trust me, you’ll want to play this LP over and over. Don’t miss it.
*8 out of 10*
CD: John Brodeur’s “Little Hopes”
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Little Hopes is the latest full-length CD release from Albany expatriate John Brodeur, marking his f...Little Hopes is the latest full-length CD release from Albany expatriate John Brodeur, marking his first album of new material in four years. The album is a fine mix of small studio magic and guitar-fueled power-pop with Brodeur’s always brilliant songwriting providing the glue for this collection of gems.
Opening with an understated clap-and-kick backing track and floating-on-top vocals, “Be Careful” brings to mind Liam Finn. “One Man Army” and “Favorite Feeling” show off Brodeur’s strong and adept power-pop leanings, while “Neil Young” and “Second Time” have more Americana leanings.
“Dig” – the song that contains the title Little Hopes in its lyrics – uses waltz-time in a modern context as effectively as Matthew Sweet, all built musically on the now-you-hear-them, now-you-don’t ump-pa-pas, strings and bells, leaving one to wonder if it is real or vividly imagined.
Harmonica opens the last track, “Spit It Out,” a more melancholy take on the song than the Brodeur-led trio, Maggie Mayday, re-purposed to great effect. Stanza after stanza of world-class lyrics – “Happy birthday on the phone, 3 AM, You took 30 pills, Suck the life out of the night, And spit it out” paired with “Happy endings all around, Keep your feet planted, And when the world stops turning, You’ll be the first one running, And we will all be tuning in, Until you change channels again” – will keep me tuning in again and again, and maybe you should, too.
Little Hopes has some lovely cover art by Nippertown’s own Phil Pascuzzo, as well as musical production help from Troy Pohl and Dominick Campana, and additional mixing and mastering by Grammy Award-winning engineer Michael Tudor.
Tiger Pop Ten album review
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Hmmm...interesting. This double CD is being released to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the origi...Hmmm...interesting. This double CD is being released to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the original release of John Brodeur's Tiger Pop album. The package includes the original album as well as a totally updated new recording of the original songs. We unfortunately never heard the album when it first came out so we're having to take in both simultaneously here. Brodeur recorded the original album entirely by himself. For the new recordings he enlisted support from other musicians which gives the songs a different sound and feel. So...which is better...? Hard to say, really...because each album has its own merits and curious warm qualities. What's probably best about this release is that it will reintroduce some folks to John's music while simultaneously drawing in new listeners. Whichever disc you choose to spin you'll be treated to nice, smooth, sincere pop tunes with a heavy emphasis on vocal melodies and lyrics. In an age of throwaway pop, these recordings immediately stand out like a sore thumb. Killer pop cuts include "Masterpiece," "Dying For Me," "It Goes Away," and "Peace."
Tiger Pop Ten album review
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Earlier in the month New York’s John Brodeur released Tiger Pop Ten, a 2-CD issue featuring a re-rec...Earlier in the month New York’s John Brodeur released Tiger Pop Ten, a 2-CD issue featuring a re-recorded version of his debut album coupled with a 10th-anniversary reissue of the original disc. I missed out on this one the first time around, but was lucky enough to have it find its way to my ears the second time around. The music’s been compared to everything from Todd Rundgren to Jason Falkner, and that’s appropriate enough to give you a ballpark on this one. Good songs, a reason to be, and a little bit of evidence by way of song below for your own deliberation.
Tour preview/interview, Philadelphia, 2011
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The Fire on 412 W. Girard Ave. at 9 p.m. on Friday night, March 4th. Philly Venues - So the albu...The Fire on 412 W. Girard Ave. at 9 p.m. on Friday night, March 4th.
Philly Venues - So the album you released prior to the one you’re touring on now (2009’s Get Through) was sort a redux of material you started recording earlier both with and without your former band The Suggestions? Your current album, Tiger Pop Ten, is also a look back, this time at your 2000 album Tiger Pop. It shows a real dedication to that material to keep it for so long. A lot of musicians will trash a song after a few years. Why, would you say, do you feel so strongly about this material?
John Brodeur - Actually, Get Through had been finished for a number of years when it finally came out. So that wasn't really a redux, just a long delay. But when I was playing those songs on tour the last few years, some of them were already 9 or 10 years old. Now I'm doing a bunch of the Tiger Pop songs again, which are minimum 10 years old. I enjoy what happens creatively when I revisit songs I wrote as a teenager, for example. Some songs get better as they, and I, age. But I'm psyched about putting out an album of new material next. This album was kind of a surprise; I'm planning to finish a new record right after this tour.
P.V. - John, it seems like power pop is out of vogue. It started making a comeback in the late 90’s and early 00’s with Fountains of Wayne and early Weezer and then again on the indie circuit with The Shins and Ted Leo. Where do you think the state of power pop is today? Do you see a lot of peers doing what you do or do you feel kind of alone?
J.B. - Every interview or article about power pop begins with something about it being out of style. But it seems like there's always room for power pop bands and songs to break through if they're good--those four bands you mentioned cover a lot of ground. As a style, it's just never going to be as mainstream hip as it was in the late '70s. I don't see a problem with that.
P.V. - Truth is, I kind of put you in a different class than those bands. I hear a lot of Jason Falkner (The Jellyfish) and Mike Viola (Candy Butchers) in your songs. Those guys both have similar stories to yours. They each broke away from collaborative efforts to kind of take the helm. Do you think of yourself as a pop song perfectionist (it sounds like you almost admit to that when you sing the line ‘it’s not like me to forgive and forget’ on Be True) or did you just feel it was time to streamline your ideas?
J.B. - The original Tiger Pop was about as far from streamlined as you could get, and that was the result of a bunch of failed bands. Jason Falkner's first few solo records had a big influence on my making that album that way. These days it makes sense for me to put records out under my name because I'm more comfortable in my sound and style, and more interested in letting the songs do the work. I'm probably less of a perfectionist now than I was when I wrote Be True. Though, I'd love to make another purely solo record in the future.
P.V. - I sometimes like to imagine I can pick out the equipment I’m hearing. The guitar on Birthday Girl is so Help-era Beatle’s I have to wonder if you use a Rickenbacker or maybe it’s just a very careful study in that jangly tone. Do you consider, when recording, what George Harrison would play or, if you could have Pete Townsend in the studio, how he’d handle your songs?
J.B. - The guitar on Birthday Girl is my Epiphone Casino. Right band, wrong guitar. I don't think about Townsend much (though I am a fan), but Harrison is a huge influence on my playing.
P.V. - Tell me about using PledgeMusic.com to raise money. It sounds like an amazing success story that enough people contributed to hearing your work. Does it make you feel validated?
J.B. - Maybe not validated, but very pleased. Pledge Music was super helpful in bringing this project to life. Benji and his awesome team kept an eye on every aspect of the project to make sure it went smoothly. I am thankful for everyone who pitched in. Plus Pledge has a charity component--I was happy to donate a portion of the funds raised to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
P.V. - A lot of artists who see the album as a whole work and not just a collection of songs seem irritated with i-tunes for raising a generation of music fans who are focused on singles. But there’s the argument to be made that it’s an outlet for out-of-print albums like Tiger Pop to be re-released without much overhead. Any thoughts on that?
J.B. - Sure, it's super easy to issue albums digitally these days. I prefer Bandcamp, mostly because I can put an album up in half an hour and it's in the store on my website. Barring a stretch between the late '60s and '70s, I think the pop market has almost always been about singles. It's all about getting that one song to hit, and hoping that success trickles down to the rest of the catalog. It's not iTunes' fault that people have short attention spans. I'd love for people to discover my work 10 songs at a time, but I'll take what I can get.
P.V. - Tell me a little about the first time you picked up a guitar. Did it feel right, right away? Do you come from a musical family?
J.B. - My family was never musically inclined--I gravitated to music on my own. My first guitar was one of those cheap solid-body electrics from the Sears catalog, with the little built-in speaker. I taught myself chords and songs by ear. It felt natural pretty much right away certainly more so than saxophone (which I studied in school).
P.V. - What’s next for John Brodeur? Are you working on any new recordings?
J.B. - I've been working on a new album called Little Hopes for a few years. Hoping to wrap that up for a fall release. And I'm thinking about putting out a collection of my old 4-track demos. I'm sure someone will want to hear that. At least I hope so.
Tour preview/interview, Amarillo 2011
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John Brodeur is taking his pop rock tunes from coast to coast, literally. The New York City resid...John Brodeur is taking his pop rock tunes from coast to coast, literally.
The New York City resident is California-bound on his U.S. tour. Brodeur is scheduled to play in Amarillo after performing at Austin's annual South by Southwest music festival.
"I'm definitely keeping busy," the musician said, noting that the outing is his largest solo tour to date.
Brodeur's Amarillo debut is planned at 9 p.m. Tuesday, March 22, at The 806, 2812 S.W. Sixth Ave.
Brodeur is celebrating the 10-year anniversary of his first release, "Tiger Pop." He re-recorded the album, which went out of print several years ago, and will release the new version, "Tiger Pop Ten" on April 5.
"I wanted to play them again, making some changes," he said. "It turned out to be a fun project."
Brodeur has released three other full-length albums, plus several songs online, since the release of "Tiger Pop" in December 2000. His songs largely concern struggles, heartache and love. "I try to write songs people can connect with on some emotional level," he said.
Brodeur's fifth release, tentatively titled "Little Hopes," is due out this fall.
On his current tour, Brodeur will perform acoustic guitar and "keep it interesting" by beat-boxing, he said.
"I hope people come into my little world of music and find some songs they can't shake off for at least a few days," he said.
Live review, Minneapolis, 2011
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John Brodeur was very minimalistic with his one-man show. It's kind of interesting to see Brodeur pl...John Brodeur was very minimalistic with his one-man show. It's kind of interesting to see Brodeur playing all the acoustic, loops, beat boxing, tambourine, etc., all in real-time.
The toy piano was used for "Daily Affirmation". Other songs played were "Young (Neil Young)", and "Movie of the Week". I don't know if these songs were actually released on any albums, but these songs were: "Spit it Out" (from Brodeur's other band, Maggie Mayday), "Dying For Me" from the new/old album Tiger Pop Ten and "Heartbreaker" from Get Through.
He ended the set with "Sucker", but a cappella style.
John Brodeur is wrapping up his 2011 tour. Check out the double-disc album, Tiger Pop Ten, which was recently released. You can pick up a copy at johnbrodeur.com.
Pens Eye View interview, 2010
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What were you doing 8 years ago? Me? I was in the second semester of my freshman year of college. Pe...What were you doing 8 years ago? Me? I was in the second semester of my freshman year of college. PensEyeView.com was just a glimmer in our eyes and I’d still need to wait 2 years to have my first legal drink. One music web site (and many, many legal drinks later), and here we are today. But what about our latest feature, NYC-based singer/songwriter John Brodeur? Well, 8 years ago he was recording his second solo record, “Get Through”, the follow-up to “Tiger Pop”. So you may be a little surprised to hear about Brodeur’s latest release… you see, it took about 8 years to put “Get Through” out on the streets.
Why? Bunch of things. Timing with band members. Money. Other gigs. Those kinds of things. Today, it doesn’t matter – we’re finally going to hear the album that is most of a decade in the making. We asked John about the collection: “It's a pretty dark record masquerading as a bunch of big pop anthems. Lots of pretty stuff to distract you from the fact that I'm singing about depression and heartbreak.” Definitely worth a pickup – the record gets even better with age!
Brodeur is now ever-busy, wrapping up his next solo album, “Little Hopes” for the summer time, as well as a re-issue of “Tiger Pop” come the Fall. He’ll be touring hard to support all of his records, so check out the schedule. He’s played with bands like 311, Gavin Degraw, The Bravery and PEV alums Greg Laswell, O.A.R. and Rooney. There’s much more below, so keep reading for the answers to the XXQ’s.
XXQs: John Brodeur.
PEV: How would you describe your sound and what do you feel makes you stand out over the others in your genre?
John Brodeur (JB): Melodic guitar pop with a rock edge, featuring deeply personal lyrics infused with a touch of humor.
PEV: Calling New York City home now, what kind of music where you into growing up? Was anyone your main influence?
JB: Like anyone else I raided my parents' record collection as a kid. Got into the Beatles and their solo albums (though there wasn't much solo McCartney around except for Wings Greatest), early Bee Gees, Zeppelin II (and IV, which we had on 8-track), and '70s singer-songwriter fare like Croce, Chapin, Diamond, Billy Joel, Cat Stevens. But the Beatles definitely had the biggest impact--I played the hell out of those records when I was little, and I still do today.
PEV: Having played in the business for a good time now, what was it like when you first started out?
JB: I started my first original (mostly) band in high school, and started playing gigs in the nearest "big" city (Albany) as soon as possible. That was about 17 years ago. The difference between now and then, I guess, is that I'm allowed to keep the car out later. And I write better songs. Otherwise not a lot has changed--I'm still making and distributing my music independently. The industry itself has changed a ton, but that's for another interview.
PEV: What do you feel makes the New York music scene so great and why did you decide to set up camp there versus that of LA – another hotbed for great music?
JB: Having lived just a few hours north (in Albany) for the last 10 years or so, New York was a natural move. (Plus, my wife was born and raised here.) Los Angeles definitely has its perks though--I wouldn't rule it out at some point in the future. As a songwriter, as opposed to a guy playing in a band, I think LA might be more suited to my style. But I'm stubborn enough to make a go of it here.
PEV: What can fans expect from a live John Brodeur show?
JB: My solo shows are probably the best representation of my personality. Totally sincere but never too serious, with no shortage of rock despite the acoustic guitar. Band shows are usually more aimed at the hard sell: less ballads, more straight-ahead bashers. One day I'll figure out how to bring the two together in a way that doesn't come across as awkward.
PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage?
JB: Something like "where's my capo?" or "I hope I remember how this song goes." Usually takes a few songs for me to relax and settle into a groove and stop thinking about the process.
PEV: Since you started “Get Through” with a full band, and then turned into a solo project, did you find that you prefer solo over working with your band? What was the biggest difference you found? Good or bad.
JB: I played almost everything on my first record, Tiger Pop, so I'd had the experience of flying solo prior to this album. I wouldn't say I prefer one over the other--on my own I get to dictate how every part is played, which allows me to get closer to the sonic vision I have in my head. With a band, the personalities of the other players change the color of the song, and I tend to find myself reconsidering the way I tackle my own parts (in a good way, usually).
PEV: What can fans expect from your latest release, “Get Through”?
JB: It's a pretty dark record masquerading as a bunch of big pop anthems. Lots of pretty stuff to distract you from the fact that I'm singing about depression and heartbreak.
PEV: What was the underlying inspiration for this album? Where do get your best ideas for songs?
JB: I had a pretty rough year and used these songs as a way of working through it. (Not to be too obvious or anything.) But most of my songs start with a single phrase, or a bit of a melody I sing to myself while I'm walking down the street. Sometimes they end up dark, but really it all depends on my mood.
PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about John Brodeur?
JB: I've watched Gossip Girl, more than once, willingly.
PEV: Was there a certain point in your life when you knew that music was going to be a career for you?
JB: I wanted to be a singer since I was a little boy, and I started trying to write songs by the time I was 10.
PEV: What one word best describes John Brodeur?
PEV: How is life on the road for you in the music world? Best and worst parts?
JB: I love traveling and playing wherever I can. It can be rough (and expensive), but it's worth it to know I'm reaching people. If just one person tells me after a show that my lyrics connected with them, or that they want to learn how to play one of my songs, that night is 100 percent worth it for me. The worst parts are, in no particular order: sleeping in the van after a bum gig, 10-hour drives, unexpected vehicle work...I'll stop there.
PEV: Is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?
JB: Other countries! I'd LOVE to get to Europe and Japan in the next few years.
PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career? What’s it like when you get to play at your hometown?
JB: I'm very lucky to have a great network of friends and a family that has always been supportive of my music. Though as much as I love playing back in Albany, I consider New York to be my home.
PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?
JB: Watching movies, walking around in the city... I feel kind of boring for not having a better answer, because I spend so much time making music.
PEV: Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?
JB: Six months ago I would have said Phantogram but everyone seems to know them now. Been digging on the new Frightened Rabbit and Broken Bells records. Otherwise, my advice is to listen to Big Star and Badfinger until your headphones break.
PEV: If you weren’t playing music now what would you would doing for your career?
JB: Something I hate. Scratch that -- I'm sure I'd be involved the music industry in some way. As a writer, or maybe in A&R. (There's still such a thing as A&R, right?)
PEV: So, what is next for John Brodeur?
JB: Finishing up my next solo album, Little Hopes, for a summer release. In the fall, a "deluxe edition" reissue of Tiger Pop, and hopefully the beginnings of another record shortly thereafter. Lots of shows, all over the place. World domination.
Get Through album review
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John Brodeur has been a fixture of the Albany, NY rock and pop scene since before his 2000 debut alb...John Brodeur has been a fixture of the Albany, NY rock and pop scene since before his 2000 debut album, Tiger Pop, started getting serious notice from outlets such as Performing Songwriter, PopMatters.com and Indie-Music.com. While based these days in New York City, Brodeur has a laid-back writing approach wrapped around edgy melodies and deeply ensconced pop sensibility. Brodeur's latest album, Get Through, started out as a band project with his previous cohorts, The Suggestions. That band essentially fell away in the process of writing and Brodeur soldiered on with the help of Pete Donnelly (The Figgs, Candy Butchers) and Ryan Barnum (Strange Faces). The end result is Brodeur's most well-rounded effort to date.
Get Through opens with Make A Change, a positive song about taking the reins of your life and making things happen. Make A Change is upbeat without being over-the-top and has a great pop hook buried in the middle. I'm Bad is a big, fuzzy rock song built on a great melody, pleasing melodies and the self-story of a bad boyfriend. Wit and a self-deprecating charm are the heart and soul of I'm Bad, which has some real potential as a single. Brodeur slows things down a bit with Flame, a moody and almost mournful look at a friend who's out of control. Shades of Elvis Costello can be heard here.
Security suggests a sound that could take Brodeur a long way. There's a Classic Rock element here in the harmonies, and the Costello-esque songwriting is evident, but Brodeur just shines through his songs, even on CD. Security is a musical rocket that soars, and Brodeur just has a Je-ne-sais-quoi that makes you want to hit repeat again and again. Silence, Please takes on a relationship doomed by the emotional instability of both participants; each living in fear of upsetting the other and dooming themselves to eternal misery instead of setting each other free. Listeners may hear echoes of Ben Folds here with the strong piano presence in the arrangement and the neurotic, self-destructive relationship archetype, but Brodeur's creation is wonderfully unique and his own.
Fight dances around the roots of the Grunge sound propagated by Nirvana and deals with addiction in very blunt terms. Meltdown is a straight-up down-tempo rock tune that begs to be let loose into the Americana/Country arrangement it wants to be become. Hints of this appear, particularly in the guitar part, but Brodeur keeps things on the guitar side of the scale with passages and phrasing that almost suggest late-stage Beatles compositions. Love And Misery is a great rock tune, complete with compelling harmonies and a melody line that just won't quit. Of all the songs on Get Through, Love And Misery is the one I would pick for a lead single, and with the right break you'd be hearing it coast to coast all summer long. Get Through recalls Folds again, in a surreal and melancholic song about surviving. The album closes out with Home. Home is a dedication of sorts; with home not being a physical place but the person to whom he has cleaved. The arrangement is the most bare on the album (Brodeur and guitar) and is quite engaging. The song itself has a slightly neurotic sense driven by the narrator but is a great listen.
John Brodeur is one of those artists that you might not get on the first listen, but the more you listen the more drawn in you become. He's kind of like that kid from high school who seems a bit odd or stand-offish when you first meet him but then it quickly becomes apparent he's the most interesting kid in the class. Get Through is a wonderfully varied collection of songs that range through Rock, Grunge and Alternative styles without ever losing a distinctive pop appeal. Brodeur writes intelligently, conveying thoughts and stories in a personal style that make the listener feel a part of the show. He might take a listen or two to dig into, because his style isn't exactly the flavor of the month, but careful listening brings great rewards. Brodeur is capable of writing big Pop/Rock songs (see Love And Misery), but is more likely to be the sort of artist who builds a stellar catalog for a not-so-small and appreciative fan base over time. For now, Get Through is brilliant.
Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)
Mix Tape review and interview
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http://www.indie-music.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=1960 By Jennifer Layton Back i...http://www.indie-music.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=1960
By Jennifer Layton
Back in 2001, I reviewed Tiger Pop, a high-energy experimental alt pop CD by Albany artist John Brodeur. When he e-mailed recently to tell me he had a new 3-piece band (The Suggestions) with a new EP (Mix Tape), I jumped at the chance to review it.
Then I really lucked out. The Suggestions just happened to be playing right up the road in Chapel Hill while touring to promote the EP. I met them at a college hangout on a Sunday afternoon to enjoy the sunshine and talk about Brodeur’s new turn on the career path.
I’d already had a chance to listen to Mix Tape and was happy to see that having to answer to bandmates hadn’t forced Brodeur to compromise his no-rules musical playground approach to songwriting. The primary difference between Tiger Pop and Mix Tape is an underlying discipline that shapes such experimentation into tight, solid, radio-ready Britpop songs. Tiger Pop had a continuous flow. Mix Tape is more defined, a commercial-ready product that still manages to dodge the predictability of commercial radio music.
From the jumping, fun, rough-edged nostalgia pop of “Be True” to the George Harrison-like Middle Eastern harmonies of “Art of Dying,” Mix Tape offers a foregone conclusion that The Suggestions will be major label clients before too long. What surprised me was the fact that Brodeur was able to find bandmates that were willing to allow him such creative control. Clashing egos are usually a problem for bands, and Brodeur had been in and out of many bands over the past few years for that very reason. What made bassist Keith Hosmer and percussionist Jason Schultz so different?
“We follow orders,” Schultz says, only half-joking. But he and Hosmer go on to say that Brodeur’s drive is part of what made them want to work with him.
“John really works hard at promotion, and we really appreciate what he does,” says Hosmer. “When we’re playing at a club, we all work to promote ourselves through the shows and through selling CDs, but after the show, John’s still working. Jason and I will go throw a football or something, but John’s still inside, shaking hands, talking to people, promoting the group. He’s always working.”
It also doesn’t hurt to have such a strong product to push. More than once during the interview, the group says that it’s all about the song. “Right now,” says Schultz, “we’re just concentrating on making great music.”
The increase in sales is proof that they’re doing just that. “MP3 plays on our web site have skyrocketed,” Brodeur notes with satisfaction. “We’ve also been playing a brand-new song called ‘Meltdown’ which is getting a great crowd response at every show. We’ve also just started getting into college radio.”
“We’re breaking even on this tour, too.” Hosmer chimes in. “It’s paying for beer and gas!”
All three guys have taken time off from school or day jobs for this tour. Schultz is a full-time nursing student currently on break, Hosmer works as an internet engineer while getting a Masters in Business Administration, and Brodeur, who has a data entry job, will be out of vacation time in a week. “I was up front about this band during the interview,” he says, “and they were supportive. This band is my most important priority.”
Brodeur talks briefly about wanting to get back into the studio by the summer to make more of a rock album. The new effort will contain all new tracks, although he is toying with the idea of redoing one song off the Mix Tape EP. (Ironically enough, the track he wants to remake is called “Masterpiece.”)
All that will have to wait for now, as the tour is only three days old, and they still have Atlanta, Nashville, Chicago, Cambridge, and many other cities to cover. For Brodeur, that means several more gigs of relentless promotion and wedging his foot in the door at radio stations and possibly indie label offices.
True to form, he says overstepping boundaries while promoting The Suggestions is not a concept that concerns him. “It never hurts to keep pushing,” he says. “The key is to be courteous.”
And to have a product that will push the door the rest of the way open. With Mix Tape ready to market and a high-energy live show evoking enthusiastic crowd response, Brodeur and crew may not have to push so hard in the future.
Available for sets ranging from 30 minutes to 3 hours.
Repertoire includes more than 60 original songs, and twice as many cover songs.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.