The Bright Light Social Hour
Gig Seeker Pro

The Bright Light Social Hour

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
Band Rock




"Band of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Bass Guitar, Best Keyboards, Best Producer"

The Bright Light Social Hour win Band of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Bass Guitar, Best Keyboards, and Best Producer at the Austin Chronicle's 29th annual Austin Music Awards during SXSW 2011. - Austin Music Awards 2010-2011

"The Bright Light Social Hour"

One of Austin's most beloved bands in its Savannah debut. For just four guys, TBLSH makes a mighty sound - it's got a a guitar-based, classic rock and blues core, with intense flurries of funk (killer rhythm section) and psychedelia, too, topped off by piano and organ and the occasional heart-stopping four-part vocal harmony. "In college, the guitar player and I were into some artsy experimental, hardcore kind of stuff," bassist Jack O'Brien tells us. "But once we started working with our current keyboard player and drummer, we started doing everything real naturally. And we kind of stopped forcing it, or doing what we thought we needed to do to be unique. The current music has come out of that; and we're a lot more happy with that direction."

A good, strong sense of humor can add to an artist's mystique (especially when the music's this good). To finance their 2010 album sessions, the members of TBLSH started a "please send us money" campaign online (see In a hilarious video, they informed fans that, for specific donations, they'd bake cookies, wash cars, scrub toilets and/or write a love song using the fan's name (of course, each scenario was appropriately acted out by a grateful band). Top prize was the privilege of shaving O'Brien's trademark handlebar ‘stache (it would then be mounted, suitable for wall-hanging). "Usually, it's just us joking around after practice," says O'Brien, who still has his facial hair. "Like, ‘wouldn't it be cool if the moustache talked?'" The band plugged a the vinyl release of their new album with a video called "The Vagina Dialogues" (and yes, it's what you think it is). "I've had some experience with editing video and stuff, so we're able to do those things," laughs O'Brien. "More for entertaining ourselves, really." See - Connect Savannah

"The Madness of The Bright Light Social Hour"

In Austin, great indie bands are found on almost every corner. Despite such a large talent pool, though, The Bright Light Social Hour (@tblsh) managed to walk away from the 2011 Austin Music Awards with both “Band of the Year” and “Album of the Year”. They’ve also been steadily gaining national attention with NPR’s broadcast of one of their electrifying 2011 SXSW performances.
This band truly deserves every bit of buzz they’ve received recently. Why? Because this foursome is able to activate all five senses into a frenzy. Their self-titled album, released last fall, not only showcases their musicianship, but also their ability to marry the genres of rock, R&B, and blues into a psychedelic sound of their own. Their songs “Shanty” and “Back and Forth” combine disco elements with a bit of twang, while the slow and sexy “Detroit” oozes with soul.
While their award winning album is fun to listen ad nauseum, the best way to experience The Bright Light Social Hour is live. New Yorkers recently got to enjoy a one night stand with the band at Mercury Lounge as support for local favorites Black Taxi. Hearing their songs live and experiencing the group’s raw energy made the crowd move, feel, and shout out of excitement and approval. Doing an absolutely ill rendition of Muddy Waters’ “Mannish Boy”, The Bright Light Social Hour unwound the usually pretentious NYC crowd. Despite it being their first time to play in NYC, they acted like they like veterans that owned every bit of the stage.
The band mentioned they would be back in NYC in a few months. Hopefully they’ll take advantage of the CMJ Music Marathon in October to show more New Yorkers, and the rest of the music industry, what they’re about. - The Wild Honey Pie

"New Music: The Bright Light Social Hour - The self-titled debut from Austin's own is rocking, rolling, and dancing its way into hearts across America. Don't be the last to hear it."

STOP! what ever it is you are doing, dig those headphones into your ear canals, and prepare your mind for this explosion of sultry bass grooves, rat-a-tat-ttacking drums, and raw life - in stereo.
This sounds pretty close to a promo or a plug for The Bright Light Social Hour. Like they are a distant relative of an estranged uncle and we're trying to get in their good graces so we'll be invited over for Thanksgiving dinner; but let me assure you, this album is every bit as important for dance-funk-soul-rock as Girl Talk's Night Ripper was for bringing mash-ups to the big leagues. Or hell - every bit as timely as when we realized that "Parents just don't understand."

The Bright Light Social Hour's self-titled, debut full-length is a revival and revolution - a stand-out passion pit filled with the full spectrum of sound.

The journey begins with syncopated, digital keys, retrofit for a futuristic train ride into the sunset. Kick in the pounding toms, the deep bass, and an opening guitar solo reminiscent of classic Alabama rock and roll infused with Tron's victory song (the 1982 version). Enter Curtis Roush, "Gotta keep movin', broke down and I'm ruined. Now tell me what are we gonna do? Don't matter brother, keep on steady rollin'. We'll figure out somethin' soon." The opening track, "Shanty", is now full-throttle.

Spanning the album, the dueling lead vocals of guitarist Roush and bassist Jack O'Brien make you wonder if the Black Keys discography has been on repeat in their van for years. Yet the gritty, energized melodies take on a life of their own; acting as much as a driving force as the, many times, sixteenth noted hi-hat rides and power-bass lines.
Cue, "La Piedra De La Iguana". The spirit of Carlos Santana's, "Black Magic Woman" seamlessly flows through this spacey, reggae jam. As the sustain of the organ takes hold and the guitar plucks your heart strings, the spirit of 1968 comes alive and you're transported to, what one could imagine to be, an acid induced groove-fest. The track is sexy, dirty, and makes copulation seem imperative.
In a sweep of 2011's 29th Annual Austin Music Awards, during SXSW, The Bright Light Social Hour crammed their trophy mantel with six wins, including Song of the Year - for their psychedelic, swelling ballad, "Detroit" - Band of the Year, and Album of the Year. All well deserved.

"Men of the Earth" - one of three instrumental tracks - feels like a light, forest rainfall in which you are slowly finding your footing, in search of the next ray of sunshine to peak through the canopy and enlighten you. It'll find you, promise. The final notes ring out and emerging from the mist is the intro to the dance-pop tune, "Back and Forth" - the song the Rapture wish they wrote. A reflective bridge brakes up the track, utilizing O'Brien's spanish lyrics to propel the song's final chorus.

The album closes with "Rhubarb Jam" and we're once again bombarded with the past, present and future in one: Yes meets the Mars Volta on a spaceship headed for Jupiter.

Definitely check out The Bright Light Social Hour on their east coast tour through June. But hey, see for yourself below - you won't be disappointed. - Joonbug

"Shoot Out the Lights: Nakedly optimistic about the Bright Light Social Hour"

Several hundred yards from where the Mississippi River borders Baton Rouge's industrial section, the Spanish Moon rises on a Friday night. Outside the venue, through the chain-link-fenced parking triangle, the white lights outlining the Mississippi Bridge glitter on the dark waters rolling southward to New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico. The river has lured humankind from time immemorial, its power genuinely awesome, wild, unstoppable.
In front of the stubby, two-story, old red brick building, the Bright Light Social Hour unloads its gear. Tonight is the last show of the quartet's first major tour, a two-week stint built around shows in Florida at a Miami festival, with stops in Texas and Alabama on the way, and in Georgia and Louisiana returning. Two weeks is twice as long as the group's been out on the road before. That makes them babes in the swamps.
Back at home in Austin, after three EPs and a well-organized voting campaign in Dell Lounge's Sound & the Jury competition, the Bright Light Social Hour won a slot at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in 2009. Six months later, they walked off with Best Indie Band at the Austin Music Awards, and when the group's release show for its eponymous debut sold out Antone's last fall, they finessed rave reviews (see "Texas Platters," Dec. 24, 2010) and year-end accolades from radio, print, and Web media, backed up by an avid following that landed them a headlining gig at the Parish on New Year's Eve. Right now, their South by Southwest 2011 dance card includes the prestigious NPR showcase.
Here in Baton Rouge, the townies haven't yet blinked.
More Songs About ...
"Hello, we're gonna do a song about fucking!"
Bassist Jack O'Brien, arguably the band's most recognizable member for his handlebar mustache, doesn't introduce "Detroit" by title, but as the foursome slides into three-part falsetto harmony, crooning "I need your love," he doesn't have to.
The Bright Light Social Hour had the audience at "Hello."
They're a handsome bunch, jazzed to be playing this Friday night in January, though it's not a big audience and this isn't an auspicious gig. They weren't even listed on the website as opening for Austin power combo Megafauna, with Baton Rouge natives Monsters Will sandwiched in between. The 60-odd college-age clubgoers respond to O'Brien's cheeky intro and the band's ensuing magnetic beat with the whoops and hollers of a Louisiana party crowd. And Bright Light Social Hour owns the moment. They have the songs and the sound.
Mapping modern rock requires as much intuition and influence as it does style and substance. The Bright Light Social Hour galvanizes with the right combination of songs and sequencing – the delivery, the track lengths. Nine indie dance and bluesy electric jam tracks dripping with white funk. Think MGMT for Southern hippies, the euphoria and segues. Nine's an odd number, but there's not a clinker in the lot, and taken as a whole – Woodstock-leaning LP art included – the group's full-length bow rightly turns heads.
"Shanty" propels itself with the elastic kick drum of club music, while "Bare Hands Bare Feet" resounds like a 1980s stadium anthem demanding the audience chant its title. The dreamy instrumentals "Men of the Sea," "Men of the Earth," and shifting "Rhubarb Jam" drift alongside the lyrically simple "La Piedra de la Iguana" and rhythmically smart "Garden of the Gods."
"This song's on the new record. It's about fucking."
Jo Mirasole's kinetic drumsticks sucking the air from the high hat and O'Brien's muscular bass confront Curtis Roush's chunky guitar and A.J. Vincent's dangerous keyboard swell on "Back and Forth." No one backs down. BLSH takes cues from the dance rock of LCD Soundsystem and Daft Punk, but the album as a whole suggests the band stands on the cusp of a musical cycle about to reclaim indie bounce from the staged take over of Lady Gaga. Even then, considering BLSH's trio of lead singers, what comes to mind is the Band's Richard Manuel whenever Roush scales a note.
Maybe the smartest move the Bright Light Social Hour made was to hand over the album's reins to musician/engineer/producer/mix master Danny Reisch, whose short list includes White Denim, Suzanna Choffel, What Made Milwaukee Famous, and the Black Angels, and whose equally sparkling résumé includes mixing for the ABC festivals – Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, and Coachella – plus SXSW and Fun Fun Fun Fest. Reisch supplied the Midas touch.
The disc's aural dynamic is matched by a hair-flailing, foot-stomping, drumstick-twirling, guitar-crunching stage show. Bass and drums pound the Spanish Moon's irregular layout, guitar and keyboards swirling in the drifts of cigarette smoke and lifting the songs up into the hazy blackness and voodoo ether. The Bright Light Social Hour is transcending, but the audience is oblivious to the tribal significance. They're just happy to dance.
The Townie Effect
Way back in the Dark Ages of Austin music, the 1980s, the phras - Austin Chronicle (cover)

"The Bright Light Social Hour, Austin foursome that brings their Southern grimy funk-dance-prog-psyche rock to The Hub"

No indie rock band has ever banked on the marketability of a mustache quite like The Bright Light Social Hour did with bassist/singer Jack O’Brien’s handsome handlebar. In fact, the shaggy ‘stache earned the Austin foursome a good chunk of the money to record their 2010 eponymous debut.

“We’d heard about a lot of bands doing donation campaigns,” O’Brien said when I chatted with the musicians by phone last week. Some bands have found success via online crowdfunding platform; TBLSH ran their own quirky yet effective campaign completely independent of Kickstarter. “AJ had this idea to put my mustache in charge of the fundraising. So we set up, where you would donate different amounts and in exchange receive different services from the band – dinner cooked by us, or a car wash. Pre-ordered CDs really helped. We funded about a third of the record from donations that way.” [Check out the hilarious video after the jump.]

click to enlarge

Getting noticed in the “Live Music Capital of the World” isn’t easy, either. “There are a million startup bands here, so it can be hard to rise above the pack.” said O’Brien. “Which is good because it forced us to really take a look around us and do something new and inventive and really hone our sound in our live show. Once we did start developing, the city became very supportive and enthusiastic about what we were doing.”
So much that TBLSH took home “Best Indie Band” honors at the 2010 Austin Music Awards, SXSW’s closing celebration. Past honorees include high-quality Austin exports Okkervil River and The Octopus Project, a good sign for Bright Light’s own future.

Their music is definitely attention-worthy – fist-pumping Southern rock and 1970’s-style prog-psychedelia marked by muscular funky grooves, blues-soaked swagger and house-influenced rhythms. A trio of appealing vocals are set against it – bassist O’Brien does mustache gruff, guitarist Curtis Roush serves blue-eyed soul, and keyboardist AJ Vincent delivers sweet-toned tenderness that rises to powerfully emotive howls and smoother falsetto wails, all three trading between lead and harmonies. Drummer Joseph Mirasole contributes modern-minded beat-keeping fueled by a long-standing love of electronic music. “There’s a lot of rhythms in house music you don’t really find in rock music that I like to bring into the mix,” he explained. “A lot of tribal house, a lot of African influence.”

Bright Light first took shape when O'Brien and Roush met as students at Southwestern University in Central Texas, and became friends and musical collaborators after performing together in an experimental art rock collective. That project dissolved, O’Brien studied abroad, Roush did music at home, and upon O’Brien’s return in ‘07, the two decided to form a new band. “We found Joe on Craigslist,” O’Brien recalled. “He was in a high school drumline at the time. And AJ was a friend of my brother’s I’ve known for years, a good singer-songwriter and great pianist, so we got him on board, too. And that was the birth of the ‘new sound.’”

click to enlarge

The fresh young band dove into the Austin scene in ’08, spent the next few years road-testing material and after successfully completing the mustache fundraiser, started working on their first LP last summer. The Bright Light Social Hour was recorded in five studios around Austin with producer Danny Reisch, who incorporated vintage and modern recording techniques to get a ‘70s-evocative hi-fi sound.
The feel of the album changes from track to track without ever sounding awkward or erratic, from the anthemic march of “Bare Hands, Bare Feet” with its infectious get-up-and-go sing-along chorus, to the slow and unrelenting dark psyche groove of “La Piedra de la Iguana,” to the made-for-shaking-it disco-funk of "Back And Forth” and fiery 10-minute prog-jam epic, "Garden Of The Gods.”

Roush said the band stumbled upon a few common themes just writing from their experiences at the time. “A lot of those songs ended up being about issues of getting together as a band and having some solidarity, ‘cause a lot of this stuff sort of isn’t easy at first – it’s a lot of work with minimal rewards. It’s about keeping positive and keeping together and focusing on the collective benefits that we all enjoy, like making music together.”

The eye-catching album cover materialized after a series of fortunate events that started when O’Brien met an artist while working for the U.S. Census Bureau and ended in a band-artist brainstorming session and final vision of “a rock n’ roll paradise, or rock utopia party community sort of thing, which fits with the theme of our songs … getting together with your friends and building something fun.”

The panoramic front-to-back cover shot features a big group of crunchy bohemians in all states of dress sprawled up and down a muddy creek bank, the subjects invited to the shoot via Facebook and told to wear “whatever they w - Creative Loafing Tampa

"Bright Light Social Hour's Favorite Summertime Jams"

With a sound influenced by Sly & The Family Stone, The Allman Brothers, Daft Punk and Muddy Waters, Austin's Bright Light Social Hour has become one of the city's most prominent party bands. Imagine Foxy Shazam with a case of the funkys or the aforementioned Allmans after way too much coffee and booze, as if too much of either would be a bad thing.

Friday night, the band opens for the Heartless Bastards on Warehouse Live's studio stage, They are still largely touring behind last year's self-titled debut, which we spent a torrid weekend with in our car stereo. It's fun, surprising stuff that settles into a groove over a few minutes and sucks you in.

"We tracked the drums and bass to two-inch tape at Cacophony Recorders in Austin, then recorded most of the guitars, keys and vocals at our producer Danny Reisch's home studio, Good Danny's. We recorded out of a few other Austin studios in order to get Hammond B3 organ and grand piano. It was a good time, which I think comes through," the band says.

?Summer is easily the band's favorite season, what with the time spent time by the water and the partially-clothed women. BLSH doesn't plan on totally vegging out this summer and taking in the physical sights though.
"We plan to spend most of the summer writing in Austin, then [get] back on the road during the later part of the year. We hope to get back in the studio as soon as we can after that," they say.

We asked these gentlemen, who are very moustache-friendly, what some of their favorite songs are to get ready for the long, hot Texas summer ahead of us. From Red Hot Chili Peppers to the Rolling Stones, the Bright Light boys know what's up.

Alan Braxe, "In Love With You":
"One of our favorite summertime road songs."

Rick James, "Mary Jane":

Washed Out, "Eyes Be Closed":
"Beach. Tank tops. Ocean. Babes."

?Neon Indian, "Deadbeat Summer":
"Double duh!!"

Martha & The Vandellas, "Dancing in the Street":
"Sounds like a bunch of kids playing in a broken fire hydrant."

Toro Y Moi, "Minors":
"Our drummer Jo used to DJ this song a ton in his sets last summer. Reminds of good-time summer nights."

War, "Cisco Kid"
"Great for driving around in an old neighborhood in a sweaty car, which we've done a lot of to this song."

The Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Walkabout":
"Great for walking around barefoot in the city and soakin' in the sun."

ZZ Top "Hot, Blue And Righteous":
"Summer evening on a porch, sippin' on some iced tea."

The Rolling Stones, "Can't You Hear Me Knocking":
"This is our jam for driving to Barton Springs, the natural Austin springs where we spend our summer days, babe-watching and songwriting." - Houston Press

"Tropical Heatwave 2011: Five must-see bands"

Austin, Texas, is a pretty awesome music town. So if you sweep the 2011 Austin Music Awards, including Band of the Year, Album of the Year and Song of the Year, you must be doing something right. The Bright Light Social Hour is one of Texas’ hottest next big things, with a sound that blends organic funk, Southern soul, indie psychedelia and plain ol’ sweaty pop. Their live shows are quickly becoming the stuff of legend: “They are a blast to watch,” wrote Paste magazine’s Tim Basham, “and I can’t get their songs out of my head.” - Tampa Bay Times Soundcheck

"ACL Fest: Day One"

The Dell Sound & the Jury competition that began months earlier with hundreds of bands competing online came to a head a couple days ago when The Bright Light Social Hour was chosen as top band. Their reward: To be one of the bands to kick off ACL Fest. Their Dell Stage performance didn't disappoint. They are a blast to watch, and I can't get their songs out of my head. - Paste Magazine

"Local music exchange vets The Bright Light Social Hour's Minneapolis Show"

Austin, TX band The Bright Light Social Hour were one of the bands we spotlighted with our Local Music Exchange back in March, with the infectiously bluesy dance-rock number "Back and Forth." Now, the quartet has embarked on their first-ever national headlining tour in support of their self-titled debut album and live EP, and they'll be in Minneapolis tomorrow night for a show at the Fine Line Cafe! If you enjoyed their Local Music Exchange track, or are interested in checking out one of the most exciting bands coming out of Austin, be sure to head downtown for this show! Go to the Fine Line's site for tickets, and check out The Bright Light Social Hour's site for more information on the band, their album and EP, and the ongoing saga of bassist Jack O'Brien's mustache. - The Current

"Social Hour likes mingling with offbeat-rock crowd"

Anyone who’s spent time in Austin, Texas, the past few years has probably seen the T-shirt and bumper sticker popular down there: “Keep Austin Weird.” The Bright Light Social Hour, an Austin quartet that played at the Middle East on Tuesday, has taken the advice to heart. - Boston Herald

"SXSW 2011: The Bright Light Social Hour, Live In Concert"

The Bright Light Social Hour sort of took on the role as hometown heroes during last week's SXSW festivities. After all, the quartet does boast the honor as Austin's Best Indie band of 2009-2010 according to The Austin Chronicle's Austin Music Awards. The glitzy, psych-blues band members come central Texas-grown. After a handful of EPs, they dropped their self-titled full-length debut in September.

Matt Reilly from University of Texas' KUT introduced the madmen at the station's official showcase at Momo's. Synth rained down on easy beats and surf guitars when The BLSH took the floor. They hollered in party camaraderie during fist-pumpers like "Back And Forth" and "Bare Hands Bare Feet," and on "Detroit" — "the one about love-making" — mellowed out with a mild falsetto.

Check The BLSH's website for April live dates all over Texas. - NPR


New Year's Live EP - 2011
The Bright Light Social Hour - 2010



The Bright Light Social Hour is an American rock band from Austin, Texas. Born out of a university art-rock collective, The Bright Light Social Hour has evolved into an unabashedly wide-screen rock group, melding fists-up rock and roll with muscular funk, soul, and psychedelia. The band recently swept the 29th Annual Austin Music Awards during SXSW 2011 with an unprecedented 6 wins, including Band of the Year, Album of the Year and Song of the Year ("Detroit").

The Central Texas-raised young men of The Bright Light Social Hour have built their growing reputation through exhilarating widely-acclaimed live shows, including the 2009 Austin City Limits Festival. In culmination of their studied development, the band released their debut full-length album in late 2010, simply titled "The Bright Light Social Hour". Recorded in five studios around Austin during summer 2010, the album is founded on sun-drenched optimism, raucous youth, and an innovative brew of American music of varying types - hard rock and roll, indie, rhythm and blues, dance and soul. Producer Danny Reisch of Good Danny's utilized the best elements of vintage and modern recording to achieve a sound both forward-looking and evocative of 1970s hi-fi.

The first track, "Shanty," pairs southern rock with hard disco, featuring the searing slide licks of guitarist Curtis Roush. Following the lean, exuberant stomp of "Bare Hands Bare Feet," the band settles into the dark psychedelic-funk of "La Piedra De La Iguana," led by keyboardist A.J. Vincent's dusky vocal and Farfisa organ work. Throughout the middle of the record, the solemn rhythm and blues of "Detroit" is juxtaposed with "Back And Forth," a four-on-the-floor disco-funk romp. On "Garden Of The Gods," the album's penultimate 10-minute epic, the band evolves from stately ballroom Americana to an expansive, ensemble anthem, conjuring up their limber and unrelenting live sets. The fiery "Rhubarb Jam" closes out the record, featuring the agile, booming funk of bassist Jack O'Brien and drummer Joseph Mirasole.

The Bright Light Social Hour have also just released "New Year's Live," a 4-track live EP recorded during their sold-out set at The Parish Austin on New Year's 2011. Re-teaming with producer/engineer Danny Reisch, "New Year's Live" marks the first audio recording to capture the band's raw live energy, consummated with masterfully directed live video by Hussain Pirani.

The Bright Light Social Hour will be touring nationwide in support of their debut album and live EP throughout 2011. Replete with their vital sound, deep brotherhood, and ever-growing facial hair, the band is steadfast in their singular aim - enduring rock and roll.