It's a ridiculous thing to do in a recession—quit your job, start a band, go out on the road. But that's exactly what Portland's Nick Drum and Jon McNeill did. The former was a young lawyer working his way up the ladder through endless hours; the latter an ethnographer whiling away his days on product research far from home. They felt themselves settling, their freedom slipping, so when the pair finally met, they knew what they had to do. From a single jam session, Brave Chandeliers was born—a power-pop and soul-fueled answer to the nine-to-five grind ringing with heartfelt sentiment and optimism.
What began as a couple of fast friends playing cover songs—"Tempted" by Squeeze and "I Get Lifted" by George McCrae—quickly evolved into the piano-driven, hook-laden Brave Chandeliers of today: Nick on vocals and keys and Jon on guitar, plus bassist Cary Samsel and drummer Nathan Powell (tour-tested players for bluesman Terry Evans). In a sense, the band's founders had waited all their lives for this. Nick developed his voice in choir, and began piano lessons at 8 with a teacher who didn't quash his ability to improvise. Jon had instruction too, but taught himself guitar by memorizing the tabs to Siamese Dream.
It seemed significant that their first practice took place on the day of the TARP bailout. While the nation set out to fix itself, so did the men of Brave Chandeliers with a new outlook attested to by the poignant words of "Madmen," an early standout: "I can read the headlines / I know all the hard times / I'd rather take a slow night / Where you and me can get out of here / out from under the fear / and follow our lives." That romanticism couched in reality colored the band's self-released debut EP, Put Away the Camera, and helped secure them a seven-week tour around the U.S.
Brave Chandeliers' brand new album, 11 Escapes, finds the fresh-faced group already coming into their own. After locking themselves into rehearsal for two weeks, they repaired to KBC Studios, situated in a gorgeous old remodel in northeast Portland. With producer Jeremy Sherrer (Hockey, Dandy Warhols, the Gossip) at the helm, they recorded live to two-inch tape, everyone playing at once. In the parlor was a grand piano you can nearly picture as the rich notes ring out. Songs like "Sinking Ship" deliver propulsive pop à la Maroon 5, while the fuzzy raucousness of "Escape" evokes Arctic Monkeys and the upbeat jaunt of "Deep End" Ben Folds—others who put songwriting above all else.
As its title would suggest, 11 Escapes offers as many angles on the concept of breaking away. Each song acts as a window into one room, or one life, in contemporary America. "Say It's Alright" is told from the view of a repentant cheater. "Bumpy Ride" is about overcoming of a rut. "Life In Motion" takes stock of those things we simply cannot avoid: entropy, aging, time. "Viral" is about falling head over heels in love. And of course, it's deeply personal too. After all, 11 Escapes is the very document that proves that Brave Chandeliers, happily, are the ones who got away.
Nick Drum - keys, Lead Vocals
Jon McNeill - Guitar/Vocals
Nate Powell - Drums
Cary Samsel - Bass
Brave Chandeliers' debut EP, Put Away the Camera, was released in July 2010 through digital, physical CD, and hand-crafted Deluxe Edition.
11 Escapes, the group's debut full-length, dropped on March 20 on their own label, in a deluxe Arigato Pak edition from local Portland Stumptown Printers. Single Love Is (What You Only Get From Me) is currently getting airplay on Portland alternative and AAA stations.
Brave Chandeliers: Pushing for Rich Fan Engagement with Their Own App
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Portland’s Brave Chandeliers - Jon McNeill (guitar, vocals); Nick Drum (keys,vocals); Cary Samsel (b...Portland’s Brave Chandeliers - Jon McNeill (guitar, vocals); Nick Drum (keys,vocals); Cary Samsel (bass); and Nate Powell (drums) - find their passion to be more than just a labor of love. The group shares a common goal, works diligently on their music and is excited about their new full- length release: 11 Escapes.
Dropping this month, the album’s concept is relevant to what the name implies: “escape.” The songs have a general theme and share sonic ties that cover the spectrum from escaping relationships to the everyday grind.
McNeill explains: “In a lot of ways, we see ourselves as a Recession-era band. I’m sure it has shaped the way we approach our music, and what we want for the band. Part of the reason for the album being about escapes is that Nick and I have experienced ‘escape’ in a very real way with this band. We were both good boys who did what was expected of us – we went to college and got careers that paid well – but once we started listening to
that small voice inside, we both knew that we had to pursue what we really wanted to be doing: mak- ing music. We left our jobs - the exact thing you’re not supposed to do in a recession - put the band together, and here we are.”
Taking time from their hectic schedules, the band began their recent recording process with Jeremy Sherrer, a well-known producer who has worked with and helped many Portland-area bands. Drum explains, “This year we wanted to do a full- length album: we did a six week tour of about twenty or so dates. We must have covered 10,000 miles. We recorded on two-inch in an analog studio in four days. Once we got it on tape, we took off for the tour, and then we came back in September to mix it.”
The album’s first single, “Love Is (What You Only Get from Me),” described as a ’50s dance num- ber, is about a girl trying to escape a relationship. Consistent with the album’s thematic structure, Brave Chandeliers are confident and eager to unfold their vision to the public. “We’re coming out with
an app that Jon and I developed. It will give the user a vast, comprehensive mobile experience so they can understand the music,” says Drum.
McNeill adds, “This will give people a deeper experience; they can sit down, read the liner notes, lyrics or enjoy the album art. We created images and video tied to each individual song. This content add additional layers to the tracks and their meanings.”
After the release of 11 Escapes, Brave Chandeliers will embark on a string of perfor- mance dates on the East Coast.
Brave Chandeliers listed as one of the Top 25 in 2012
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Indie-Music.com is proud to announce the 2012 winners in our final annual Top 25 Awards. #6. Brave ...Indie-Music.com is proud to announce the 2012 winners in our final annual Top 25 Awards.
#6. Brave Chandeliers
Brave Chandeliers Shine At Central
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The Brave Chandeliers lit up the SURC pit with a free concert on Thursday, Feb. 9. The band stopp...The Brave Chandeliers lit up the SURC pit with a free concert on Thursday, Feb. 9.
The band stopped by Ellensburg from Portland to play a set, showcase their sound and promote their up and coming first full-length album. Central was the last stop on their national tour.
The band began in 2008 with Nick Drum, keys and vocals, and Jon McNeill, guitar and vocals, just jamming and writing together.
“After about six months, we had enough material.” Drum said.
The duo paired up with bass player, Cary Samsel and drummer, Nate Powell who were both willing and able to go on tour and really kick it off.
Chris Blair, student and local musician played a few of his songs during the set and also joined the band on stage.
McNeill calls their sound a, "Suicide Slurpie." He says it's a combination of a lot of things that wouldn't really go together; a fusion of pop, alternative, and gospel.
According to McNeill they go together and the sound gives a flavor that’s fun, delicious, and sweet.
Drum said that their songs come out of their collective experiences. In 2010, their song ‘Madmen’ came from a traffic jam the band was caught in, and the song won an award from the Great American Songwriting Contest.
With their original sound, the Brave Chandeliers have struck a chord with a growing number of fans. McNeill said that one of their goals as a band is to have songs that say something.
With their first full-length album ‘11 Escapes’ the Brave Chandeliers are trying a new spectrum of sound.
"We want to give them a kaleidoscopic view of the escape," Drum said. ”We want to add to that legacy a bit.”
The legacy that comes when a band really connects with their audience. The legacy of that feeling when fans hear their song come on the radio and have to sing along. Legacy is that cathartic release that everyone feels.
Drum and McNeill said they also like their songs to impact their fans in some way.
For more information and upcoming show dates, check out their website. Sign up for their newsletter to receive a free download of their song, Love is (What you only get from me), which you can see on Youtube. Their new album 11 Escapes, is scheduled for release on March 20.
Imaginary Cities and Brave Chandeliers at Mississippi Studios, Wed Nov 23
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On Thanksgiving Eve, Winnipeg's Imaginary Cities came through town to play a show with young Portlan...On Thanksgiving Eve, Winnipeg's Imaginary Cities came through town to play a show with young Portland band Brave Chandeliers. But you don't need me to blab about it—you can see for yourself: The talented Rachel Bowman was on hand to get pictures of it all. Rachel reports that despite a small crowd, it was a great show. Take a look!
Modern Pop music doesn't get much better than what Brave Chandeliers have to offer
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Modern Pop music doesn't get much better than what Brave Chandeliers have to offer. This Portland, O...Modern Pop music doesn't get much better than what Brave Chandeliers have to offer. This Portland, OR combo of Nick Drum and Jon McNeill really have their craft perfected. "Madmen" screams hit single and does so loudly.
While it would be tempting to compare Brave Chandeliers to generic acts such as Maroon 5 and The Fray because those acts have good singers and utilize piano, the fact is, Brave Chandeliers are far and above those acts as they bring something extra to the table. The tunes are catchy, subtly sophisticated and have a nice romantic slant to them. The melodies are very engaging and the songs are strong and very well-played.
There are elements of Elton John, Billy Joel, Jackson Browne, Counting Crows, Toad The Wet Sprocket, Hall And Oates and others, but Brave Chandeliers also establish their own voice.
"Short Days" is a beautiful acoustic based track with some sweet organ/keyboard fills that might even have some accordion thrown in. This is one of those great songs you'd expect to hear in the background of Grey's Anatomy or any of those popular TV dramas that use songs almost like dialogue to accent a mood.
"Sinking Ship" is another great piano-Pop number with a little bite in the guitars. One has to admire the guys in Brave Chandeliers, because they know what songwriting is all about and that is a tough art to perfect. Brave Chandeliers are most certainly on their way to achieving that difficult feat.
"Brave Chandeliers have head bobbing grooves, strong musicianship & engaging songwriting. What more could you ask for?"
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"Brave Chandeliers have head bobbing grooves, strong musicianship & engaging songwriting. What more ..."Brave Chandeliers have head bobbing grooves, strong musicianship & engaging songwriting. What more could you ask for?"
First winners announced for “Intel Superstars Competition”
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Cakewalk, the world's leading developer of powerful and easy to use products for music creation and ...Cakewalk, the world's leading developer of powerful and easy to use products for music creation and recording, Intel Corporation, and the preeminent online community-powered, new music discovery site, OurStage.com, announce the "Superstars" songwriting competition first round winners. The first round of the "Superstars" songwriting competition invited artists to submit original music in the Rock, Pop, and Country genres. The submitted tracks were judged by fans of Intel's Facebook page with five winners from each genre winning prize packages including Intel® Core™ -processor based computers, Cakewalk SONAR Producer Software, V-Studio 100 & V-Studio 20 recording solutions. Additionally, the first round winners are in the running for the $10,000 cash Grand Prize that will be awarded at the conclusion of the contest in January 2011. The first round of the "Superstars" competition opened for Pop, Rock and Country on July 1 and ran through August 31, 2010. A new round of the "Superstars" songwriting competition focused on three new genres— Latin, Urban, Singer/Songwriter Artists began September 1 and runs through October 31, 2010 (with a submission deadline of October 22). After the new round is complete, the Top 5 in each new genre will receive prize packages. Additionally, the Top 20 of every music genre will also roll into a Grand Prize competition with details to be announced shortly. Interested entrants can submit their original song at Facebook.com/intel Please visit Ourstage.com/go/superstars for "Superstars" Competition rules including track submission and fan voting schedules, and a complete list of all the fantastic prizes to be awarded. The artists and their winning entries: ROCK:1st: The Strange Kind- "The Last Time"2nd: Brave Chandeliers- "Sinking Ship"3rd: John Allred- "Let Somebody In"4th: Jules Larson- "Falling for the First Time"5th: To the Thief- "Butterflies"
Outstanding Achievement in Songwriting
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The songs are well-written and the musicianship, vocals and melodies are all outstanding, catchy and...The songs are well-written and the musicianship, vocals and melodies are all outstanding, catchy and memorable. I was very impressed with everything I heard.
Brave Chandeliers: IPO Official Program
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Sophisticated piano pop songs with a simple and honest folky touch are what you'll find on the soon ...Sophisticated piano pop songs with a simple and honest folky touch are what you'll find on the soon to be released Put Away the Camera EP from these Portlandians. Fans of artists from Billy Joel to John Mayer to Ben Folds will want to check it out!
New Inductee To The Song Cat Wall Of Fame - Madmen by Brave Chandeliers
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Hey everyone, we have a new inductee to the Song Cat Wall of Fame. They’ve been placed against some ...Hey everyone, we have a new inductee to the Song Cat Wall of Fame. They’ve been placed against some really good songs for the past 10 days and have come out on top.
I’m featuring the song on this week’s podcast which will also be out a bit later today. If you haven’t heard this song be sure to check it out.
Congratulations Brave Chandeliers! Great song!!
“Madmen” by Brave Chandeliers (winner-past ten days)
Track of the Week
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Track of the week... I was quite excited to put them on the show... absolutely fantastic stuff!" Ju...Track of the week... I was quite excited to put them on the show... absolutely fantastic stuff!"
Justin Wayne - The Justin Wayne Show Podcast
Brave Chandeliers: Madmen - Track of the Day
"Madmen... pretty much became an earworm upon the first listen."
Come Let Me Inside on ShockPop Radio
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While "Madmen" is a wonderful pop tune and is easily accessible for mass consumption (and I'll be pl...While "Madmen" is a wonderful pop tune and is easily accessible for mass consumption (and I'll be playing it often in the future!!) - I feel that "Come Let Me Inside" is more of a creative tour de force. It begins deceptively easy and smooth then builds to a powerful gut clenching paean to craving, pleading, love and lust - lost and found and lost again. A great slice of pop-prog!
What You Only Get From Me
Say That It's Alright
What You Only Get From Me
Soothe Your Soul
Life In Motion
Come Let Me Inside
One Year From Now
Say That It's Alright
There are no upcoming dates at this time.