NYC dream folk band Brazos recently played a residency at Cameo Gallery, chillin out every Tuesday night for a whole month. They’re gearing up to release a brand new album, Saltwater, on May 28, and they recently released a video for “How the Ranks Was Won,” so the band has a good momentum of new material going for them. I caught their first night of the residency with Snowblink, when they played to a pretty low-key, but strong crowd of admirers.
Brazos are one of those bands that can take your usual indie rock sound leanings and make them become interesting again. The magic is mostly in the details, with subtle embellishes, brisk percussion, and cool harmonies. Watching frontman Martin Crane play guitar, I often had moments like ‘oh, that little line was cool’ or ‘oh, I see what he did there.’ It’s all so low key and coolly done that it almost feels too strident to be super excited about it, but there’s definitely something crisp and interesting going on with this band. Martin also has a voice that could be in Fleet Foxes, in that there is a melodic, gently flowing, soothing quality to it. It always feels just right, never too rushed or too dragging. Not too far into their set they had some sound issues with the amp his acoustic guitar was plugged into, and so while the rest of the guys set up a new one, Martin played a solo acoustic number that sounded so good I want to suspect that they planned it all like that. No one said a word the whole time this was happening.
When everything was all good to go again with the sound, Brazos played a bunch of their new jams, like lead single “How the Ranks Was One” and my current preferred jam, “Charm.” Towards the end it felt like they were starting to get into some Graceland-era Paul Simon stuff with a more modern articulation. The whole set, tech difficulties and all, felt like one continuous, linear entity to get lost in. Their new album Saltwater comes out May 28 on Dead Oceans. Keep track of more upcoming show announcements by liking them on Facebook and following them on Twitter.