2012 is the next in a series of theoretical breakout years for New Orleans-via-Lafayette indie rockers Brass Bed. That big pop hasn’t happened yet, despite two excellent LPs and a masterful live show. Melt White, the band’s most recent and best-realized full length, displays a maturity that only years of writing and playing engenders. Standouts such as “People Want to be Happy” and “Miniature Day Parade” are slices of American psych-pop leaning more heavily on the pop part of that formula, replete with the requisite Brian Wilson-isms, overclocked fuzz-boxes, and trunks crammed with anachronistic noise devices.
The name of the game has been ear candy, according to drummer Peter DeHart, but all that is set to change on the forthcoming The Secret Will Keep You, optimistically slated for release this year. Bassist/guitarist/songwriter Jonny Campos adds, “A lot of our friends who we’ve shown it to so far are taken aback.”
It represents a new emphasis on analog, live recording techniques. “We’ve had a lot of people over the years tell us that they’ve listened to the records and they’ve listened to us live, and it doesn’t add up,” Campos says. “They want us to be more crazy and full of energy on the record like we are live. This record is just four dudes in a room, straight to tape. That room was Public Hi-Fi, the backyard studio operated by Spoon’s Jim Eno. The Secret Will Keep You was tracked in a “bum’s rush”—10 tracks in 10 days.
Brass Bed’s live set has become a refined, enthralling machine. Their shows are winding and propulsive and, above all, crowd-pleasing. As a performing entity, Brass Bed utilizes the varied weapons in its arsenal—dramatic shifts in dynamics keep each performance from falling into the irritatingly familiar loud-loud-loud paradigm that many festival acts fall into. Considering the year that fellow Lafayette-bred band GIVERS have had, perhaps Brass Bed’s time has come.
Brass Bed plays Jazz Fest on Friday, May 4 at 5:45 p.m. on the Lagniappe Stage.