Bryan Thomas
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Bryan Thomas

Albany, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1999 | SELF

Albany, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 1999
Solo Rock Singer/Songwriter

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


Bryan Thomas' second disc avoids the dreaded sophomore slump like gangbusters, building on the strengths so clearly exhibited on 1999's "Radio Plastic Jennifer" and in countless live performances hereabouts, standing strong as one of the most thoughtful, heart-tugging and hip-shaking records of the year. "Ones and Zeros" is a true solo work, with Thomas handling all the singing and instrumentation admirably well, creating lush sweeps of dark pop decadence, and topping them all off with vocals so rich in emotion that you can't help but be drawn into the songs on first listen-although it'll then take a few listens more before you appreciate the wealth of insightful observation and rumination that define this collection's best songs. Not to mention the exquisite ways in which Thomas documents those ruminations and observations, as "Ones and Zeros" is filled with some of the smartest and most satisfying word gymnastics and lyrical flights of fancy that you're likely to hear--or read--in this or any other year. You may not know what he's singing about on each and every song, but you'll love the way he sings about it anyway, as oblique spiritual imagery crashes against bawdy earthy realism, sparks, blood and honey flying with each concussion.

Imagine a cross between your favorite Joni Mitchell and Todd Rundgren albums, and you'll get a general sense of "Ones and Zeros," a near perfect depiction of that ethereal place where "pop" and "smart" aren't antonyms, and where the mind, soul and body can groove together without stepping on each others' toes, happy in the glow of fine, fine artistry and deep, deep passion--both of which Bryan Thomas displays like nobody's business. - J. Eric Smith


"Radio Plastic Jennifer" is a dazzling whirlwind of folk-funk, as Thomas tackles love and betrayal, sin and salvation, lollipops and lingerie. The songs are smart, erotically charged and full of heart -- an all-too rare combination. 'Six' for example, is a dizzying stream-of-consciouness slab of rock-rap with Thomas riffing on everything from 'The Wizard of Oz' to 'The 12 Days of Christmas,' from mood rings to junk bonds, from Loretta Lynn to Guns 'N Roses to Danny Partridge. 'Cycle' cuts even deeper, a tale of young African-Americans struggling against all odds to survive in a hostile world. An epic emotional rollercoaster of a song, Thomas descends from heartbreaking sorrow to bone-chilling terror before finally grabbing hold of a sliver of hope and redemption in the power of love. By the end of the song, he's chanting 'Everything's gonna be all right,' as though he can make it so solely through repetition and his sheer passion. Buy the CD or get out of the house and see what he can do in person. You won't be disappointed." - Greg Haymes


Bryan Thomas' second disc avoids the dreaded sophomore slump like gangbusters, building on the strengths so clearly exhibited on 1999's "Radio Plastic Jennifer" and in countless live performances hereabouts, standing strong as one of the most thoughtful, heart-tugging and hip-shaking records of the year. "Ones and Zeros" is a true solo work, with Thomas handling all the singing and instrumentation admirably well, creating lush sweeps of dark pop decadence, and topping them all off with vocals so rich in emotion that you can't help but be drawn into the songs on first listen-although it'll then take a few listens more before you appreciate the wealth of insightful observation and rumination that define this collection's best songs. Not to mention the exquisite ways in which Thomas documents those ruminations and observations, as "Ones and Zeros" is filled with some of the smartest and most satisfying word gymnastics and lyrical flights of fancy that you're likely to hear--or read--in this or any other year. You may not know what he's singing about on each and every song, but you'll love the way he sings about it anyway, as oblique spiritual imagery crashes against bawdy earthy realism, sparks, blood and honey flying with each concussion.

Imagine a cross between your favorite Joni Mitchell and Todd Rundgren albums, and you'll get a general sense of "Ones and Zeros," a near perfect depiction of that ethereal place where "pop" and "smart" aren't antonyms, and where the mind, soul and body can groove together without stepping on each others' toes, happy in the glow of fine, fine artistry and deep, deep passion--both of which Bryan Thomas displays like nobody's business. - J. Eric Smith


Discography

"Basement Live." 2013. (Video project.)

"Smash to Pieces." 2011.

"1369 Lights." 2008.

"Spy Love Box." 2005.

"Babylon." 2004.

"Ones and Zeros." 2002. Metroland Album of the Year, 2002.

"Radio Plastic Jennifer." 1999. Times Union's Top Ten Albums of the Year. Best Male Singer Songwriter.

"Wafers and Wine." EP. 1998. Soundtrack to the Carl Liss film "Apartment D."

Basement Live (2013)

The video EP.

Smash to Pieces (2011)

Recorded in a warm hole full of light somewhere in Delmar, NY. Choo-choo train, choo-choo train.

1369 Lights (2008)

The title takes inspiration from the novel Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. Featuring the new band the Buggy Jive and recorded in a basement.

Spy Love Box (2005)

This is the sequel to Babylon: demos and bootlegs featuring Bryan on vocals and acoustic guitar and Jennifer on electric guitars.

Babylon (2004)

In the spirit of Prince’s “The Truth” and Nirvana’s “MTV Unplugged,” Thomas strips down for seven songs inspired by bombs over Baghdad and the birth of a baby girl.

Ones and Zeros (2002)

Metroland’s J. Eric Smith says: “ONES AND ZEROS stands strong as one of the most thoughtful, heart-tugging and hip-shaking records of the year

Radio Plastic Jennifer (1999)

The Times Union’s Greg Haymes says: “[RADIO PLASTIC JENNIFER] is a dazzling whirlwind of folk-funk, as Thomas tackles love and betrayal, sin and salvation, lollipops and lingerie.

Wafers and Wine (1997)

Songs inspired by the Carl Liss film Apartment D. That cassette four-track bedroom studio jam.

Photos

Bio

Albany soul rocker Bryan Thomas' latest projects include "Smash to Pieces," a five-song EP produced with his band the Buggy Jive; "Basement Live," a series of music videos recorded live in his home studio with a band that includes multiple versions of himself... and, oh yes, an app.

Says Nippertown's Greg Haymes: "With Prince as his primary musical touchstone, Thomas' uncompromising songs are specifically local, yet gloriously global. He writes smart, and he writes from the heart, balancing intellect, passion and politics."

The Albany Times Union named Thomas "Best Male Singer-Songwriter" shortly after he released his acoustic hip-hop debut Radio Plastic Jennifer in 1999. The follow-up soul rock epic Ones and Zeros was Metroland Magazine's "Album of the Year" in 2002.

Since then, he's been in the studio with punk legend Tommy Ramone, making a special guest appearance on a track produced by Ramone for New York City's genre-smashing neo-punksters Collider. Bryan's music can be heard on the opening track of the Black Rock Coalition's Bronze Buckaroo Rides Again which also includes a track by BRC founder/ Living Colour guitar wizard Vernon Reid. He has three songs on the double-live Pazfest: A New Orleans Tribute to Joni Mitchell recorded on a steamy Louisiana night at the Howlin' Wolf in the summer of 2000.

Samples of Bryan's music, video and poetry can be found online at his award-winning web site bryanthomas.com, and at TheHiddenCity.com, a webzine for underground arts in Albany, New York. Thomas is a founding member of the Hidden City collective.

Band Members