January 27, 2007

I want to listen to The Broken West all weekend long, maybe until my eardrums crystallize into sugar

Here’s my new auditory love this weekend: The Broken West. Their solid new album I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On came out last week on Merge, and the sound is a completely irresistible blend of ’60s harmonies, luminous melodies, fuzzy layers of electric guitars, and those handclaps. You’ll hear everything from Big Star to The Kinks to Superdrag and more, but there’s a uniqueness and a fresh appeal that may make this the best album I’ve heard so far in this virginal year.

They used to be called The Brokedown but had to surrender the name in a nasty battle of the indie rockers – who had it first? As frontman Ross Flournoy said, “We’re a real band, with a real record coming out, so we don’t have a lot of time for frivolous lawsuits with wayward Nazi-youth punk bands. So we changed it.” They became The Broken West and are still astoundingly good. Definitely, definitely get this album.

So It Goes – The Broken West
The most Teenage Fanclub-like song I’ve heard in a while, a shimmery and jangly power pop delight.

Down In The Valley – The Broken West
And this is the one I have listened to as if it were aural meth, the one I can’t stop singing (even though I haven’t figured out what they’re saying yet, so it’s an interesting effort). I exult in its cohesive and delicious harmonies when it breaks at around 50 seconds in. And handclaps! Love it. A welcome reprise from their 2005 EP Dutchman’s Gold.

You can stream their whole album here, or buy it here. Listen to live renditions of two other songs from a recent performance on NPR, or tune in to KEXP.org Friday Feb. 9th at 4pm for their appearance at their studios.

01.29.2007 Los Angeles CA – Spaceland
02.05.2007 San Francisco CA – Cafe Du Nord
02.07.2007 Eugene OR – Sam Bond’s Garage (w/ Hello Stranger)
02.08.2007 Portland OR – Doug Fir (w/ Quasi & All Smiles)
02.09.2007 Seattle WA – Sunset Tavern
02.10.2007 Government Camp OR – The Ratskeller
02.12.2007 Salt Lake City UT – Kilby Court
02.13.2007 Denver CO – Hi Dive
02.15.2007 Phoenix AZ – Modified (w/ The Autumn Defense)
02.24.2007 Tucson AZ – Plush
02.27.2007 Austin TX – Emo’s
02.28.2007 Dallas TX – The Cavern
03.01.2007 Memphis TN – Hi Tone
03.02.2007 Columbia MO – Mojo’s
03.03.2007 Iowa City IA – The Picador
03.05.2007 Cleveland Heights OH – Grog Shop
03.07.2007 Cambridge MA – TT the Bear’s
03.08.2007 New York NY – Bowery Ballroom

All following dates with The Walkmen and Ferraby Lionheart
03.09.2007 Baltimore MD – Ottobar
03.10.2007 Columbus OH – Little Brothers
03.11.2007 Chicago IL – Schuba’s Tavern
03.12.2007 Newport KY – Southgate House
03.13.2007 Louisville KY – Headliners Music Hall
03.18.2007 New Orleans LA – The Parish at House of Blues
03.19.2007 Tallahassee FL – Beta Bar
03.20.2007 Athens GA – 40 Watt Club
03.21.2007 Asheville NC – Grey Eagle
03.22.2007 Chapel Hill NC – Local 506
03.23.2007 Washington DC – Rock and Roll Hotel

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  • Thanks for sharing “Down in the Valley” with your Irish readers. We really really like the track.

    Bernie — January 28, 2007 @ 12:24 am

  • oh yeah, and that would be at http://www.littleradio.com

    Satisfied '75 — January 28, 2007 @ 7:03 pm

  • hey kids, if you like these tunes, the broken west is doing an acoustic set on my show this wednesday 2-4 pm PST. dig.

    Satisfied '75 — January 28, 2007 @ 7:03 pm

  • I’m blown away. I’m a tough sell, too. This is the kind of band that makes you want to coin a new music review cliche, or redefine an old one:

    “Once in a while, a new band comes along that reminds you why you love music in the first place.”

    kingseyeland — January 29, 2007 @ 1:46 am

  • Any band that draws a reference to Superdrag deserves a chance in my book. I’m really digging “Down in The Valley” a lot.

    Lauren — January 29, 2007 @ 11:03 am

  • Still prefer the simpler. more power-poppy version of ‘Down in the Valley’ from the Lost Trailers, but this cd’s growing on me. Wotta blog!

    Anonymous — February 6, 2007 @ 10:40 am

  • Heather, I bought the album last week from iTunes after reading your post and previewing the tracks. It’s very good. Saw Broken West at Cafe du Nord last night (was in town for business). They put on a good show. They did play a cover in addition to their material. I recommend them and may see the band again in Denver next week. Thanks for the tip.


    RideTrek — February 6, 2007 @ 6:37 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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