BRAINSTORM
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BRAINSTORM

Portland, Oregon, United States

Portland, Oregon, United States
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Blown-out thumb pianos, homemade amplifiers powered by car batteries, and summertime dance anthems... The guitar mimics an overdriven thumb piano sound like on those Congotronics compilations; A driving dance track with thick vocal harmonies and an explosive finale. Something irresistible and fun.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/maybe-a-memory-by-brainstorm-free-mp3-20120927#ixzz2BVOac0XW - Rolling Stone Magazine


Between the skittery guitar line that opens the song to the layers of vocals that echo throughout it, “Beast in the Sky” — a new song by Portland, Oregon indie-rock experimenters BRAINSTORM (all caps, all the time) — is catchy without sounding cloying, avant-garde without sounding highfalutin. The song’s subject matter, it turns out, is just as esoteric. “The Beast in the song very loosely refers to Quetzalcoatl, a plumed serpent from Mayan mythology, rumored to have returned from some distant godly domain in a fiery blaze of feathers,” says drummer-keyboardist-vocalist Adam Baz, who characterizes the song as “kind of apocalyptic.” Then he adds, “It’s also just a story laced in abstraction.”

It’s the group’s musical abstractions, though, that make the song work — from the springiness of the drums in the middle section to that unpredictable guitar line. “We were listening to a lot of Colombian cumbia music,” Baz explains. “That kind of informed the middle section of the song, with the call-and-response vocals. Then the more driving guitar riffs at the beginning and end came together later, in an attempt to bracket the song with a more modern dancey feel.” The fact that they were able to tie it all together so perfectly is what makes it a great listen.

BRAINSTORM’s new album, Heat Waves, is due out October 2 via Tender Loving Empire. - MTV Hive


I'm a sucker for a stuttered guitar sound. It's a sound I came to love listening to Fela Kuti and other African greats in the '70s and '80s. American rockers often tend to crank their gritty guitars to 10 — they get loud and gritty about two and a half minutes into the tune. But it's that sweeter, stuttered sound that grabs me right away; you can hear it these days in bands like Fool's Gold or Vampire Weekend. - NPR


Bird watchers and enthusiasts use the word “lifer” for moments like this—when they see a particular species for the first time. “They’ll say, ‘Oh, is that your lifer?’ ‘Was that one a lifer for you?’” says Baz.

Although we music geeks don’t have a word like that to describe the first time we hear a band, like most obsessive pursuits, the principle is exactly the same: We always remember.

My “lifer moment” with Brainstorm came during last year’s PDX Pop Now! Festival. Playing on the outside stage in the early evening, the duo was a captivating presence. Phillips bounced and bobbed around the stage as he sent long, African-inspired guitar lines floating into the open air. Baz switched between a furious, math-rocklike attack on his drum kit to more measured beats, taking time out to throw in a trilling melody on a small keyboard. It was a positively joyous set that, amazingly, sent the all-ages crowd into a dancing frenzy.

“That was a real turning point for us,” Phillips remembers of the PDX Pop show. “It was definitely the biggest audience we’d ever played to by that point.”

At PDX Pop, Brainstorm was only two years old. Baz and Phillips met as members of the freewheeling country-esque pop group Ohioan and Native Kin. The two bonded over their mutual love of boundary-pushing duos like Lightning Bolt as well as artists from Northwestern Africa and Southeast Asia. “The idea from the beginning was to try and seam those things together,” Baz says.

Since then, the band has been making steady strides. It released a fantastic full-length (2009’s Battling Giants) and a pair of 7-inch singles. The popular Portland-based Into the Woods video project (intothewoods.tv) filmed the group performing in its practice space in Baz’s house for part of the project’s “Feels Like Home” series—playing the ecstatic, world pop-inspired “Beast in the Sky” in the band’s quilt-padded practice space. As of late, Brainstorm has been scoring some choice opening-act spots for groups like Akron/Family and Typhoon. - Willamette Week


“Two people build drums, guitar, keys, handclaps, headset mics and tuba into a deafening wall of joyous jams. A brand new band with unbelievable potential!” - NYLON MAGAZINE


When Patrick Phillips and Adam Baz started playing as Brainstorm in the spring of 2008, they had one simple mission: to make as much noise as possible using only their eight limbs. It just took a few shows to realize how much pain that might cause.

“I’ve practically thrown out my back swinging my guitar around me and trying to grab the tuba at the same time,” Phillips says of the band’s onstage multitasking. “Playing a show is like a health routine. We definitely burn a lot of calories.”

Instead of relying on extra band members to flesh out its winding experimental pop sound, the duo decided to play everything itself. It’s a conceit that makes Brainstorm’s live shows resemble a sporting match as much as a concert, with Phillips juggling his guitar and, yes, tuba as Baz beats that crap out of his kit while trying to play keyboards at the same time. Both members also sing, an endeavor that only started to work after Baz began wearing a headset to conserve energy.

Brainstorm’s furious live energy is perfectly captured on its new 7-inch, Beast in the Sky. Recorded live to a Tascam reel-to-reel in the living room of house venue Dekum Manor, the record’s two-and-a-half songs showcase the band’s unique sound, which at times resembles Polvo (check out the tricky, elliptical guitar that closes out “Word Up - Upward”), a high-school marching band (Phillips’ unchained tuba playing) and a self-help manual (the shared, chanted vocals). It’s influenced by everything from the global sounds of the Sublime Frequencies label to Mississippi Records’ collections of old folk and blues songs, but Baz maintains that the band still keeps things relatively simple. “There are only a few overdubs on the 7-inch,” he says proudly. “Even though our music is weird or experimental, we keep a kind of punk-rock sensibility.” - Willamette Week


These days they seem to do it all for me. He really is up there, you know? I can't be sure, but I hope they're trying to stop it. The sky is this tumultuous black and I keep breathing it in. Tar. The kids seem to think it should just stay there, like some goddamn trophy. To hell with those kids. They don't know anything. They weren't there for the sparks of demons bursting from it's seams. They didn't witness the goats as they tore each villager from limb to limb. There is no good plan. We start stacking stones. Stacking stones for pillars, and we're just stacking them. It's like you can feel you every vein tear open up as every ailment leaves you. If we get high enough none of it matters. So we just keep stacking stones like pillars and we get there. Then we try to go fast and no one is speaking the same anymore. These days we're all overzealous children. - Get Off the Coast


Hailing from the ever-expanding music scene in Portland comes the electrified-pop duo known as BRAINSTORM. The band is made up of just two guys who together take a little bit of all your favorite genres and do a hell of a job mashing them up into one single track. Usually this feat is seemingly a recipe for complete disaster in music, but Brainstorm passed the test with flying colors. Both members help out on the chanting, tribal-like vocals, but there are still plenty of other things going on. Adam Baz holds down the drums and keyboards while Patrick Phillips takes on the guitar and tuba. Tuba? Yeah, Brainstorm has that.

While it is quite difficult to pin down some of the sounds you hear in the songs, there are still elements that stand out more than others. Like the spiritual journey through the B-side track “Word Up”. Chanting vocals and lightning fast guitar licks help give the song an ethnic feel, ranging from “Colombian Cumbia” to “African High-Life”, but it basically all comes down to what you think. Towards the middle the song slows down a bit, clearing a nice path for the unusual tuba to make it’s humble appearance. The last two minutes suddenly come out of nowhere, turning into an instrumental onslaught complete with rampant drumming and fiery guitar licks. This is almost like a bonus track included on the 7?, because it’s considered to be a completely different song aside from “Word Up”. It’s called “Upward” just in case you’re curious.

And then let’s not forget about the A-side, “Beast in the Sky”. More frantic drumming and blazing guitars fill out this track, but right around the 1:45 mark, some nautical sounding keyboards come in to steal the show. This careful keyboard work is enough to crack a huge smile on your face as you suddenly decide that you’re going to play this song at least one more time. These songs are without a doubt unique in their own right – and mixed with their high energy approach – are sure to drop some jaws. Now this has me wondering what a live show with Brainstorm would be like. Hopefully we’ll all know soon enough. - The Styrofoam Drone


THE NEW 7-INCH SINGLE from Portland duo Brainstorm covers a tremendous amount of ground in a mere 10 minutes. Title track "Beast in the Sky" hosts sheets of guitar squall from Patrick Phillips, which are tightly knotted to Adam Baz's syncopated stomp, while the two members trade reflecting vocal lines to form a round. Meanwhile, B-side "Word Up – Upward" traverses through a lightly creeping verse to the all-out blare of its instrumental break, with liquid guitar drops performing as much of a percussive role as Baz's drums, which in turn are wholly as melodic as Phillips' front line.

It's an indie rock sound approached from a bird's-eye perspective—and leavened with Old Weird America, white-kid math, African blues, instrumental post-rock, and classic soul. With Baz doing double duty on drums and keyboards, and Phillips throwing in tuba lines along with his guitar, it's easy to be impressed by the sheer size of Brainstorm's music. They don't sound like a two-piece, but it is essential to the complexity of their compositions—and to the comprehensive approach of their music, which is intrinsically reliant on the fluidity of interplay between Phillips and Baz—that they are.

Baz and Phillips first played together as members of Ohioan, and Brainstorm began when the two decided to play together in the summer of 2008. "We shot back and forth our musical tastes and inspirations and what we were listening to," says Baz, "but we never really talked about what we wanted the project to be. Then we realized there was a high level of compatibility between us, and it worked out well."

The "Beast in the Sky" single, a joint release from Lasercave and High Scores and Records, follows last year's excellent full-length, Battling Giants, but for this single Brainstorm wanted a rawer sound than the pristine recording they'd achieved on Giants. They tracked it live onto tape at Dekum Manor, playing in the same room with only a tiny amount of overdubbing. "We went for a little rougher approach to try and capture something closer to our live sound," says Phillips. "And some of our older songs have parts that are quite disparate and change quickly. We've been writing songs that are more seamless in transition—like, 'Beast in the Sky' definitely has a steady beat throughout it, and I think is more accessible as far as something people can dance to."

"I grew up listening to punk, and that transitioned into noise and experimental and textural music," Baz says. "At some point when I was in college, I stumbled upon Tinariwen. I started branching out and went to Mexico and Venezuela and collected a lot of music down there. And so, throughout that I was interested in synthesizing that with a pop sensibility, or punk, or experimental rock."

"When we started out, we exchanged mix CDs of what we were listening to," says Phillips, "and Adam put on things like Tinariwen and USAisamonster; it got me thinking about the sort of guitar I wanted to play. That, mixed with being very proximate to Mississippi Records and the reissues they put out, and Sublime Frequency stuff, that sort of informed my own guitar playing. That's where the tuba came, too—our attempt to make as many sounds as we can as a two-piece." - Portland Mercury


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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RECENT:
BRAINSTORM just released their sophomore album "Heat Waves" on October 2nd through Tender Loving Empire records and, with the help of Big Hassle Publicity, Duck Club National Touring, and ADA distribution, has been touring extensively promoting the record. "Heat Waves" was recorded and produced by Robby Moncrieff (producer for the Dirty Projectors, Why?, Youth Lagoon, and Ganglians), and it shines with that inexplicable shimmering quality that all those bands' recordings seem to possess.

The record received rave reviews on Rolling Stone, MTV, NPR, Impose Magazine, and Magnet Magazine.

BAND HISTORY:
Multi-instrumentalists Adam Baz and Patrick Phillips formed their post-genre duo BRAINSTORM in the summer of 2008. They exchanged a mix tape, featuring such bands as USAisaMonster, Tinariwen, Ponytail, Sam Cooke, and Lightning Bolt, and quickly realized the extent of their musical compatibility.

That summer, Baz participated in the grand spectacle of the Boredoms' 88 Boa Drum, playing adjacent to fellow shredder Zach Hill (Hella). Upon arriving back in Portland, Phillips proposed adding his long unused tuba and a dusty casio to the BRAINSTORM sound and two-piece rock has never been the same.

Now, three years into the project, the duo has added a third member, Dasha Shleyeva on bass, filling out the sound and adding the undeniable presence of lofty female vocal harmonies. The diversity of sounds made by these three people is truly a sight to behold.

TOURING & SHOW HISTORY:
BRAINSTORM just returned from a full US tour promoting the album. This spring they toured in France, supporting YACHT. The band has also done strings of dates with Portugal The Man, The Thermals and Tame Impala, and has shared the stage with the likes of Best Coast, Nurses, Surfer Blood, Akron/Family, Tanlines, Free Energy, and many more.