Sounds Good: Green Felt Vinyl LPBCR112LPC2
Pre-Order Item. Release Date Subject to Change.
Label: Big Crown Records
Release Date: 19th April
Sweet soul, funk and breaks, little synth quirks, a falsetto voice matched with harmonies that recall a golden era of vocal soul groups - Brainstory are ticking all the boxes for a perfect modern soul record. Oh and it's produced by El Michel's Affair so it sounds elite.
Big Crown Records is proud to present Brainstory’s sophomore full-length album Sounds Good.
Based in L.A. but hailing from the Inland Empire's own Rialto, California, two-thirds of Brainstory, Kevin and Tony Martin are brothers by blood, while Eric Hagstrom is a brother through their music and long term friendship. Since they started the band they have constantly faced situations that forced them to rise to the occasion. They got signed to Big Crown Records, they stepped up their game. COVID happened, they learned to record themselves. They started touring a ton sharing the stage with the likes of Lady Wray and they got their live show super tight. All of this time spent grinding and growing has certainly paid off. The path to take their art to the next level is clearer than ever, and once again, they are here for it. If there is one thing that is abundantly clear on Sounds Good, it’s that Brainstory has leveled up.
Part of this evolution is undoubtedly attributed to having access to and working constantly in their own studio in Long Beach. Another major factor is that their brotherhood has expanded. "I've been playing music with my brother all my life and now with Eric for a long time," Tony tells us. "Leon, though, is like another brother I've just met."
Leon Michels, Big Crown's co-owner, produced this record and applied his unmistakable golden touch in crucial ways. The other member of the extended Brainstory brotherhood whose contributions were essential to the album, is studio engineer legend Jens Jungkurth who controls the tones and textures of the music. "That's what you're hearing, our connection, the fun moments, the little details," Kevin describes. "This record isn't half what it is without them—and it made us want to match that effort," and match that effort they did. Album opener "Nobody But You" is an uplifting, dance oor burner, that shows off a new side of Brainstory's range. Drummer Eric Hagstrom’s crushing back beat lays the foundation for an inspirational feel good banger that manages to take the uncomfortable truth that “nobody will save you but you” and turn it into pure blissful motivation. "Peach Optimo" is a laid back half time tune that blends the bounce of Down South Hip-Hop with California G funk and Jazz. They once again show off their B said ballad talents with "Gift Of Life" but this time taking the genre to a new place with lyrics about existentialism and a track that is drop dead gorgeous, haunting, and profound all at once. "NyNy" is an homage to Kev and Tony's recently deceased grandfather while "Too Yung" is a show stopping, deeply personal, stripped down number about being introduced to
alcohol at a young age. They put another hit on the boards with "Hanging On," a Latin / Psychedelic Soul inspired banger featuring Claire Cottrill on background vocals while "XFaded” addresses the all too common vicious cycle of smoking and drinking too much over a trippy shufe.
"It's been four years since our last full length record, and with everything that's happened since, it's like we've been catching up to ourselves." That's one way to describe change: catching up to oneself. Each member of Brainstory has gone through shifts, both personally and musically, and all of that threads through Sounds Good. It's easy to say that the music industry can be short on lasting, genuine relationships. However, for Brainstory, from day one it's been about standing by each other, for each other. Their friendship started the group.