Sep 11, 2008

Brad Sucks - Out of It

There aren't many things I like better than finding an artist or band I've never heard of whose music I totally dig. In the past two years or so I've been having that pleasure more and more often, thanks to the combination of iTunes sampling, Amazon's MP3 store, and the growing network of artists whose main sources of distribution are their own websites.

Jonathan Coulton is the model web phenomenon, of course, but I've also picked up on several other acts that appeal to my sensibilities, such as MC Frontalot and Brad Turcotte, AKA "Brad Sucks," a self-proclaimed "One-Man Band with No Fans," who is probably exaggerating on the latter part of that title. Or, at least, he should be, because his music is definitely worthy of fan attention.

I picked up his first album, "I Don't Know What I'm Doing," late last year, after hearing him in a collaboration with MC Frontalot called "Living at the Corner of Dude and Catastrophe" and following a link over to his site, where he has all of his music available for download and for self-priced purchase.

IDKWID is a fun album, with extremely consistent, high song quality, catchy beats, and a wry, self-deprecating humor that I found pretty appealing. Many of the songs, like "Overreacting" and "Fixing My Brain" manage to mix melancholy and black humor very adeptly. Brad has a voice that, along with his generally quirky style and penchant for throwing retro-sounding synthesizer tracks into his tunes, brings about an inevitable positive comparison to Beck. His Wikipedia entry lists his genre as "expermental pop," and I can't think of a label that's more apt.

This week, he released a new album, "Out of It," which I hardly managed to sample a few tracks from before buying for the suggested price of $10. It's an amazingly consistent and strong album, from the uber-catchy "Dropping out of School," to the glum but irresistable "Bad Sign" and "Total Breakdown." For an independent, self-distributed artist, both this album and its predecessor have great production values and an extremely consistent sound and quality. That consistency applies doubly to the quality of the songs themselves. I've listened to "Out of It" at least four times through and I'm still enjoying every song.

I strongly encourage anybody to take a minute or two and head over to Turcotte's site and, at the very least, listen to a few of the tracks. Download the free versions of the albums if you like them well enough, or, better, buy the higher-quality versions for whatever you think they're worth. To me, they were probably worth more than the suggested price that I did pay, and I'll be looking forward to his next release.

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