Cool news -- I'd worried for a while now that H-town-bred Pavement-gone-Wilco guys Bright Men of Learning had gone the way of Bring Back the Guns or the Guilloteens, fading out without so much as a final "seeya" message to their fans. Thankfully, that's apparently not the case, and the band are back in action.
They're playing tonight (Fri., September 18th), in fact, up at Rudyard's; it's a CD release party for their brand-new Champion Sound EP, recorded straight to 8-track by local recording ace and eschewer of all things polished and lame John Sears. $3 gets you into the show, and another $2 gets you a copy of the EP -- can't beat that with a stick, yo.
To make things even cooler, the show's openers are cool, muscle-y/math-y rockers The Jonx, plus Side Arms, the new band of Sharks and Sailors Al Hendrix, and Skyline Network honcho ADR on the turntables.
The BMOL guys were kind enough to send over the Champion Sound tracks, btw, and they're pretty great. If anything, the downtime appears to have both honed the band's guitar playing and loosened up frontman Marshall Preddy's trademark slurring snarl. "Texecution" is warm, bright, and just dirty enough, with some great droney, shimmery guitars towards the end. It's crazy to think this was all live to the 8-track; it sure doesn't sound like that. Not sleek and shiny, no, but it still sounds damn good -- my one gripe would be that Marshall's voice is mixed too low, but hell, with guitars that badass, I can definitely live with it.
"Champion Sound," the second track, is urgent and Uncle Tupelo-sounding, with overdriven guitars that evoke Where You Been-era Dinosaur Jr. at points, and the third, "Good Driver Bad Actor," is rawer and more "rock," with an interesting, almost AC/DC feel to it. I'd say it sounds like it could get airplay on some B-side-prospecting classic-rock station, but, well, some might take that as a jab (and no, I don't mean it as one).
The songs get in, do their thing, and get out, never overstaying their welcome, which has occasionally been kind of an issue in the past for me with some BMOL songs. Maybe it's because they had no-frills engineer/producer Sears on board to keep the boys honest? Whatever did it, it worked. "Champion Sound" sounds about right.
And hey, if that whets your whistle, keep an eye out -- the Learned Men of Brightness have reportedly been hard at work on a new full-length with a dozen or so totally, completely different tracks, most likely due out at the start of 2010. Good to hear...
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